Ethel Andrus (1884 - 1967)


In 1916, Dr. Ethel Andrus became the first woman to serve as a high school principal in California. After retiring from education, she founded the National Retired Teacher Association in 1947. As a retired teacher, she understood that retired teachers needed health insurance. She also wanted to promote her idea of 'productive aging' for retired people. After hearing from many retirees who were interested in her programs but were not teachers, she decided to expand her organization. In 1958, Andrus founded the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). AARP turned into a 33 million-member national organization that has made a significant difference in the lives of older Americans. Andrus also founded and edited the AARP's signature publication, Modern Maturity. She died in 1967.


Works Cited:

  • This article is excerpted from the NWHM Fall 2003 Newsletter
  • Image from the Cal Fund