Monroe Dunaway Anderson

M.D. Anderson (Find a Grave photo)

M.D. Anderson (Find a Grave photo)

Monroe Dunaway Anderson, called the “father” of the Texas Medical Center and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, was born the sixth of eight children to James Wisdom and Ellen (Dunaway) Anderson. He was born on June 29, 1873, in Jackson, Tennessee. Anderson attended Jackson City Schools and Union University.

Anderson worked as a banker in Jackson, and in 1904, with his brother Frank Ervin Anderson and Frank’s brother-in-law, William Lockhart Clayton, established Anderson, Clayton and Company. The partnership eventually grew to become the largest cotton-trading firm in the world. In 1907, to take advantage of the banking resources and its closeness to the port of Galveston, Anderson moved to Houston. In 1916, Houston became the company’s headquarters.

Anderson lived a quiet life. He never married and lived in a series of downtown Houston hotels. He established the M.D. Anderson Foundation to help the elderly, sick, and needy. After a year-long illness, M.D. Anderson died in Houston on August 6, 1939. The majority of his $19 million estate helped to fund the Texas Medical Center, auditoriums, college buildings, and libraries. It also funded a planetarium on the Lambuth University campus in Jackson, Tennessee.

Anderson was buried in Jackson, Tennessee, in Riverside Cemetery.

Anderson’s legacy lives on in the largest medical center in the world. According to the Texas Medical Center’s website, the Texas Medical Center has:

  • 8 million patient visits per year
  • 180,000+ annual surgeries – TMC begins one surgery every 3 minutes
  • 750,000 ER visits per year
  • World’s largest children’s hospital and world’s largest cancer hospital
  • 8th largest business district in the U.S.
  • 9,200 patient beds
  • 50 million developed square feet
  • Over 25,000 babies delivered per year
  • 13,600+ total heart surgeries
  • $3 billion in construction projects underway
  • 106,000 total employees

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