HomeBrowseAdvanced SearchAboutHelpContact

K. Brooke Anderson papers

Biographical note

K. Brooke Anderson (1892-1975), executive secretary of the Brown Christian Association, was born in Cardwell, Virginia, on August 31, 1892. During his southern childhood he had what he called a “hang-up” about “Yankees,” but a shared camping trip with a northern boy when he was 11 convinced him, in the words of his daughter, “that all Yankees didn’t have horns,” and he went on to a life of serving all people. After graduation from the University of Richmond in 1916 and graduate work at Cornell, he worked with the French Army Ambulance Service for two years, and was awarded the Silver Star. After the war he joined the YMCA and worked with prisoners in France. He helped rescue homeless Armenians driven into the desert by the Turks and to find them new homes in the United States. In 1921 he entered Yale Divinity School. When he graduated in 1924, he chose not to be ordained in any particular faith, as he wanted to work with all young people. From 1924 to 1928 he was executive secretary of the first college YMCA in the country at the University of Virginia. In 1928 he came to Brown as executive secretary of the Brown Christian Association and remained until his retirement in 1957. During those years he was constantly engaged in counseling students and gave his special attention to foreign students. He took two leaves of absence, in 1947 to raise money for YMCA work in Europe and Asia, and in 1949 to work with Palestine refugees. He retired from Brown in 1957, but remained active, and took part in a Vietnam war demonstration in Newport in 1971. He died on October 18, 1975 in Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts.

The Brown Christian Association was organized as the Young Men’s Christian Association of Brown University on November 16, 1881. Its stated purpose was “To promote growth in grace and Christian fellowship among its members, and aggressive Christian work especially by and for students.” In 1958 the University Christian Association was formed by the merger of the Brown Christian Association, the Pembroke Christian Association, and various student groups of the neighboring churches. In 1989 the group became Brown Christian Fellowship. The Interfellowship Council was formed to promote unity among the Christian organizations at Brown, with representatives of the Brown Christian Fellowship, the Campus Crusade for Christ, the Catholic Community at Manning Chapel, University Church Morning and Evening Service, Voices of Inspiration, and With One Voice.