Eleanor Anne Johnson Andersen

Eleanor AndersenFirst Lady
January 2, 1961 - March 20, 1963

Born: March 28, 1911
in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Died: January 12, 2011
in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Married September 1, 1932 to Elmer L. Andersen

Eleanor Anne Johnson was born in 1911 at St. Andrew's Hospital in Minneapolis to Gustav A. and Elizabeth Johnson, the first of four children. The Johnsons were a close-knit Swedish-American family; both of Eleanor's parents were Swedish immigrants, her first language was Swedish and the she visited Sweden several times as a child.

Eleanor attended Tuttle Grade School and Minnesota College in Minneapolis. In the fall of 1929 she entered the University of Minnesota. She met future governor Elmer L. Andersen, a member of the Junior class, at a welcoming party for new students. The Andersens were married in 1932. The couple had three children, Anthony, Emily and Julian. Eleanor graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1939, with a major in history and a minor in music.

Elmer Andersen was elected governor of Minnesota in 1960. As first lady, Eleanor took on a mostly private role, providing her husband with quiet but unfailing support. She was often at his side on the campaign trail and on official trips, including visits to every Indian reservation in the state. Eleanor also served on committees and boards with her husband, including the Children's Home Society. She retained a lifelong love of books and of music and was active in the Schubert Club.

Elmer L. Andersen passed away in 2004 at age 95. Eleanor Andersen passed away in 2011 at age 99.

Photographs of Eleanor Andersen