GREAT CITIZENS - MONROE DUNAWAY ANDERSON
Many great Houstonians, Monroe Dunaway Anderson and his partner William Lockhart Clayton, chief among them, derived their wealth from cotton. Banker, cotton merchant and prominent Houston philanthropist, M.D. Anderson was born in Jackson, Tennessee in June 1873.
In 1904, Anderson joined with his brother, F.E. Anderson, and Will Clayton to organize a cotton merchandising firm in Oklahoma City with a capital investment of $9,000. The following year, Clayton's brother Ben joined the firm. Anderson, Clayton and Company, as the enterprise became known, opened a branch office in Houston in 1907, and Anderson moved to the city to manage its headquarters. The firm relocated to the Houston Cotton Exchange building to utilize the Port of Houston's newly expanded facilities. Worth two million dollars at the time of the move, Anderson, Clayton and Company continued to grow until it became the largest firm of its kind in the world.
Anderson was one of Houston's greatest philanthropists. In 1936, he created the M.D. Anderson Foundation for "charitable, scientific or educational proposes in Texas... the benefit of mankind and... the advancement of human welfare." Anderson willed the bulk of his estate to the construction of the renowned Texas Medical Center.
The main goal of M.D. Anderson's gifts was for the establishment, support and maintenance of hospitals and institutions of medical and scientific research. A bachelor, Anderson died of a stroke at his Houston home on August 6, 1929 at the age of 66. The M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute of the University of Texas Cancer Center, established nearly thirty years after his death, ranks among the most outstanding of his legacies. The M.D. Anderson Memorial Library at the University of Houston is another.