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Anna Matilda (Ericksen) Andross, second wife of E. E. Andross.

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Andross, Anna Matilda (Erickson) (1880–1957)

By Sabrina Riley

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Sabrina Riley was born in Auburn, New York and raised in Dowagiac, Michigan. She received a B.A. in history from Andrews University and an M.A. in information and libraries studies from the University of Michigan. Riley was a member of Andrews University’s library staff from 1998 to 2003, library director and college archivist at Union College from 2003 to 2016, and is presently a freelance researcher, author, and information professional.

 

First Published: March 7, 2024 | Last Updated: March 7, 2024

Anna Matilda Erickson Andross was an Adventist author and the first assistant secretary of the General Conference Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department as organized in 1907 (the predecessor of the present Adventist Youth Ministries Department). She was also the founding editor of the Inter-American Division Messenger.

Early Life

Anna Matilda Erickson, known as Matilda, was born to Peter Christian Ericksen (1838-1908) and Inger Marie Jensen (1835-1915)1 on February 10, 1880, in Aalborg, Denmark. Inger joined the Adventist church in Denmark through the influence of Adventist evangelist and missionary John G. Matteson2 before Matilda’s birth. The Ericksons immigrated to the United States in 1880 and became naturalized citizens in 1908.3 They settled in Shelby County, Iowa, where Matilda attended public elementary school. Matilda’s siblings included Jensine (1862-1940), Christina Marie (1874-1974), and Carrie Marie (1876-1962). Christina and Carrie were both nurses. Carrie was among the earliest Adventist missionaries to China.4

Education

Between 1896 and 1908, Matilda Erickson attended Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, irregularly. She was baptized by Professor Boettcher around 1897. In 1907 Erickson graduated from the literary course with a Bachelor of Arts degree.5 She also enrolled in the two-year nurse’s training course at the Nebraska Sanitarium around 1901.6

When at college, Erickson was active in the College View Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Society.7 She also wrote for Union College’s student publication, The Educational Messenger. Her favorite topics of discussion were personal evangelism and soul-winning. In 1906, she was among the delegates from Union College who attended the Missionary Volunteer convention in Nashville, Tennessee.8

Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department (1907-1923)

In the spring of 1907, Matilda Erickson moved to Takoma Park, Maryland,9 where she became secretary of the newly organized General Conference Young People’s Missionary Volunteer (MV) Department, working under M. E. Kern, who was the chairman.10 Two years later, her job title was corresponding secretary.11 In 1913, she briefly held the position of North American Division MV secretary.12 By 1916, Kern’s title had changed from chairman to secretary, and Erickson then became assistant secretary of the department.13

Regardless of her job title, Matilda’s work included authoring many MV program guides which were published in the Youth’s Instructor, the magazine for Adventist youth.14 These guides were intended for local MV societies to use in their weekly meetings. She also wrote articles on temperance, self-improvement, church history, and missions, as well as devotional and motivational pieces encouraging young people to join MV societies. Her duties included reports of MV Council meetings. All of these articles made her a significant contributor to the Youth’s Instructor from 1907 to 1922.15

Erickson also wrote, edited, or compiled a number of books and pamphlets for young people. Temperance Torchlights16 was a compilation of stories, songs, poems, and other information on temperance topics. It attracted the biting sarcasm of noted journalist H. L. Mencken of the Baltimore, Maryland, Evening Sun, who found the material she selected to range from “wild absurdities” to “doggerel.” 17 In contrast, her devotional books, Alone with God18 and The Life that Wins,19 were commended as “very forceful, spiritual volumes” by the editors of the Signs of the Times.20 In 1922, she was asked to write a booklet on Adventist church history for use by youth working toward the MV “Standard of Attainment.” The resulting manuscript was Story of the Advent Movement, published in 1926.21 Other works included devotional books and manuals for MV leaders.

Although Matilda was primarily an author, she also spoke at youth congresses and provided training for regional and local MV leaders.22 In 1922 she was a delegate-at-large at the General Conference session.23 She was invited to the North American Division educational council meeting in Colorado Springs, June 5-19, 1923.24

Inter-American Division (1923-1936)

In 1920, Erickson married Elmer Ellsworth Andross, a widower with two grown children.25 Two years later, E. E. Andross was called to serve the Inter-American Division (IAD) as president. Matilda Erickson Andross was asked to lead the Missionary Volunteer and Sabbath School departments in the IAD.26 The Androsses made their home in Balboa, Canal Zone, near Panama City. From their arrival in late 1923 until they departed in 1936,27 they exerted great effort in their respective roles. Matilda promoted MV and Sabbath School programs across the division, frequently traveling to the other countries in the IAD.

One of the Androsses’ first initiatives upon assuming duties in the Inter-American Division was the establishment of the Inter-American Division Messenger in April 1924. Matilda served as editor until 1936. A Spanish edition titled, Mensajero, began publication in January 1927. Matilda also edited this edition.28

Between the risks of tropical disease and the heavy workload Matilda undertook, the General Conference was concerned for her health by 1929. The General Conference executive committee strongly urged “that Mrs. Andross accompany her husband as he comes to the Autumn Council.” Furthermore, they counseled her “to remain in the States until the time of the General Conference, carrying on her work here by correspondence, thus assuring health for another term of service.”29

By the time Matilda left the IAD in 1936, she was “known as a personal friend of the many thousands of young people in all [the] Inter-American countries.”30

Later Years

Upon the Androsses’ return to the United States in 1936, Matilda did not hold any new positions within the denomination, although she remained on the MV council for several years. She continued to be a speaker at local MV meetings where she shared mission stories from her own experiences as well as those of others.31

Meanwhile, E. E. Andross served as general field secretary, in which role he frequently traveled. He served as president of the Caribbean Union Conference from 1941 to 1943.32 Matilda accompanied her husband to Trinidad, but their term of service was short due to poor health. In 1943 they returned from Trinidad, with the request “that on account of their condition of health they be allowed to go to Arizona for the remainder of the winter, rather than to return to their home in Takoma Park during the cold weather.”33

During these years Matilda also wrote at least one book, Sunshine and Shadow in Southern Europe, which was part travelogue and part mission story, narrating the development of the Adventist Church in southern Europe.34 She was invited to participate in the fortieth anniversary celebration of the MV department at the youth congress held in 1947.35

After four years of failing health, Elmer E. Andross died on August 22, 1950, in Takoma Park, Maryland.36 Following his death, Matilda remained in Takoma Park. However, in early 1957, she was visiting her sisters in Glendale, California, when she was seriously injured in a freeway automobile accident. She died on February 9, 1957, in Los Angeles, California, and was buried on February 13, 1957, in the George Washington Cemetery in Takoma Park, Maryland.37

Legacy

For nearly forty years, Matilda Erickson Andross’s leadership and prolific writing for young people helped shape the Missionary Volunteer program. When she left the IAD in 1936, she was credited with having “very ably carried the young people's work in the division.”38 The same was true of her entire career.

Sources

Andross, Matilda Erickson. Alone with God. Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1917.

Andross, Matilda Erickson. Do You Read Your Bible?: God Gave the Bible to Aid Us in a Victorious Christian Life. Do You Appreciate It? Bible Truth Series No. 2. Mountain View California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, n. d.

Andross, Matilda Erickson. Life’s Greatest Things. Mountain View California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1931.

Andross, Matilda Erickson. The Life That Wins. Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1922.

Andross, Matilda Erickson. Prayer: The Key to Heaven’s Storehouse and the Secret of the Victorious Life. Warburton Victoria Australia: Signs Pub., n. d.

Andross, Matilda Erickson. Sunshine and Shadow in Southern Europe. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1939.

Andross, Matilda Erickson and Seventh-day Adventists General Conference Youth Department. From Which Fountain? Washington D.C: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists The Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department, n. d.

Andross, Matilda Erickson and General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department. Is Jesus Real to You? Washington D.C: Review and Herald Publishing Association, n. d.

Andross, Matilda Erickson. Is Jesus Your Friend? Bible Truth Series No. 6. Mountain View California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, n. d.

Andross, Matilda Erickson. Prayer: The Key to Heaven's Storehouse, and the Secret of the Victorious Life. Bible Truth Series No. 5. Mountain View California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, n. d.

Andross, Matilda Erickson and General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department. Missionary Volunteers and Their Work. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1919.

Andross, Matilda Erickson and General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department. Social Plans for Missionary Volunteers; or How to Make Social Gatherings “Social to Save.” Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1919.

Andross, Matilda Erickson and General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department. Story of the Advent Message: Prepared for the Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Dept. of the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1926.

Andross, Matilda Erickson and Seventh-day Adventists General Conference Youth Department. What the Missionary Volunteer Society Has Done for Me. Washington, D.C.: General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists the Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department, n. d.

Andross, Matilda Erickson and General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department. With the Book of Books. Washington D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, n. d.

“Anna Matilda Erickson Andross obituary.” ARH, March 28, 1957.

“At the College.” Columbia Union Visitor, January 8, 1913.

Erickson, Matilda. Temperance Torchlights: Studies, Stories, Songs, Poems, and Useful Information on Temperance Topics. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1910.

General Conference Committee. General Conference Archives. Accessed February 28, 2024. https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC.

“Inger Marie Ericksen obituary.” Audobon County (Iowa) Journal, September 16, 1915. Accessed February 15, 2024. Newspapers.com.

“Matilda Ericksen Andross obituary.” Los Angeles Times, February 12, 1957.

M. E. Andross Collection, Collection 130, Center for Adventist Research, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan.

Nickle, George C. “Good-bye, and God Bless You.” Inter-American Division Messenger, August 1936.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1908-1944.

Notes

  1. “Inger Marie Ericksen obituary,” Audobon County (Iowa) Journal, September 16, 1915, 1, accessed February 15, 2024, Newspapers.com. The Erickson and Ericksen spellings were used interchangeably by members of the family in the United States. Matilda appears to have favored Erickson while her father is usually listed as Ericksen.

  2. Yvonne Johansson Öster, “John Gottlieb Matteson,” Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventist, 2020, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=5CPX&highlight=matteson.

  3. The National Archives in Washington, D.C; Washington, D.C.; Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions For the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840-1950 (M1285); Microfilm Serial: M1285; Microfilm Roll: 52

  4. “No providence preventing…,” ARH, October 15, 1903, 24; Mrs. J. N. Anderson, “Early Experiences in China,” ARH, September 18, 1924, 23-24.

  5. Peggy Carlson, Union College alumni director, email to the author,

  6. Anna Matilda Erickson Andross, Biographical Information Blank, General Conference Archives.

  7. See for example, “News and Notes,” Educational Messenger, November 8, 1907, 4.

  8. “College View Happenings, Educational Messenger, February 15, 1906, 11.

  9. Montgomery County, Maryland, U. S. Federal Census, 1910.

  10. General Conference Committee, May 23, 1907, 317, accessed February 20, 2024, https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC1907.pdf; G. B. Thompson, “Sabbath-School and Young People's Convention,” Youth’s Instructor, July 2, 1907, 4; “Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1908), 14.

  11. “Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1910), 16.

  12. “Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1914), 10; “Missionary Volunteer Department, Youth’s Instructor, January 13, 1914, 12.

  13. “Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1916), 9.

  14. See for example, Matilda Erickson, “Missionary Volunteer Department: Australasia—No. 5,” Youth’s Instructor, November 26, 1907, 3-4.

  15. General Conference Committee, February 7, 1921, 985, General Conference Archives, access February 25, 2024, https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC1921.pdf.

  16. Matilda Erickson, Temperance Torchlights: Studies, Stories, Songs, Poems, and Useful Information on Temperance Topics (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1910).

  17. H. L. Mencken, “The Free Lance,” The Evening Sun, September 8, 1911, 6, and September 9, 1911, 6.

  18. Matilda Erickson Andross, Alone with God (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1917).

  19. Matilda Erickson Andross, The Life That Wins (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1922).

  20. See boxout on page two of Signs of the Times, July 13, 1926.

  21. General Conference Committee, July 27, 1922, 75-76, General Conference Archives, accessed February 21, 2024, https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC1922.pdf; Matilda Erickson Andross and General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Department, Story of the Advent Message: Prepared for the Young People’s Missionary Volunteer Dept. of the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1926).

  22. See for example, “At the College,” Columbia Union Visitor, January 8, 1913, 7.

  23. General Conference Committee, February 7, 1922, 1310, General Conference Archives, accessed February 21, 2024, https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC1922.pdf; General Conference Committee, May 7, 1922, 1352, General Conference Archives, accessed February 21, 2024, https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC1922.pdf..

  24. General Conference Committee, April 2, 1923, 263, General Conference Archives, accessed February 21, 2024, https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC1923.pdf.

  25. Kenneth Burt, “Elmer Ellsworth Andross,” Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists, September 20, 2021, accessed February 25, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7I3S&highlight=elmer|andross.

  26. General Conference Committee, April 6, 1923, 302, General Conference Archives, accessed February 21, 2024, https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC1923.pdf.

  27. “Inter-American Division,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1936), 140.

  28. “Local Periodicals,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1926), 270.

  29. General Conference Committee, September 2, 1929, 920, General Conference Archives, accessed February 21, 2024, https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC1929-09a.pdf.

  30. George C. Nickle, “Good-bye, and God Bless You,” Inter-American Division Messenger, August 1936, 1.

  31. See for example, “Burtonsville,” Montgomery County Sentinel, July 27, 1944, 4, accessed February 27, 2024, Newspapers.com.

  32. “Caribbean Union Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1942), 111.

  33. General Conference Committee, July 11, 1943, 783, General Conference Archives, accessed February 21, 2024, https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC1943-01.pdf.

  34. Matilda Erickson Andross, Sunshine and Shadow in Southern Europe (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1939).

  35. General Conference Committee, March 11, 1947, 429, General Conference Archives, accessed February 21, 2024, https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/GCC/GCC1947-03.pdf.

  36. “E. E. Andross obituary, Evening Star, August 23, 1950, 12.

  37. California, Certificate of Death no. 3078 (1957), Anna Matilda Andross, Government of California Department of Health, Los Angeles (district 7053). Accessed November 18, 2023, https://ancestry.com; “Matilda Ericksen Andross obituary,” Los Angeles Times, February 12, 1957, 62; “Anna Matilda Erickson Andross obituary,” ARH, March 28, 1957, 26.

  38. George C. Nickle, “Good-bye, and God Bless You,” Inter-American Division Messenger, August 1936, 1.

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Riley, Sabrina. "Andross, Anna Matilda (Erickson) (1880–1957) ." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. March 07, 2024. Accessed May 29, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=2IKX.

Riley, Sabrina. "Andross, Anna Matilda (Erickson) (1880–1957) ." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. March 07, 2024. Date of access May 29, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=2IKX.

Riley, Sabrina (2024, March 07). Andross, Anna Matilda (Erickson) (1880–1957) . Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 29, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=2IKX.