Skip to main content

Clinton P. Anderson Papers

Identifier: MSS-20-BC

Scope and Content

The collection is divided into 16 overlapping series, and also includes an oversized folder. There is some duplication of series, reflecting multiple processing efforts over time. The series breakdown is as follows:

I. Historical documents of New Mexico and the West: diaries, manuscripts, correspondence, transcriptions, printed matter, business records and other papers, mostly relating to NM territorial history. Material from New Mexico Secretary of the Territory (MSS 25 SC) regarding school surveys, 1873, originally collected by Clinton P. Anderson, was returned to this series, 11/98.

II. Presidential correspondence and memorabilia: a commemorative collection of Anderson's letters and memorabilia from U.S. Presidents.

III. Public career: materials relating to Anderson's public offices. Included are papers of the New Mexico Public Health Association, 1919-20; New Mexico Emergency Relief Administration, 1935-36; the Coronado Cuarto Centennial Commission, 1937-40; and the Secretary of Agriculture, 1945-48. There is also collected information on Alaska, 1964, and Cuba, 1959-1960; original cartoon drawings by George M. Lichty, 1955-1965; a complete set of Anderson's newsletter to constituents, 1959-1972; testimonials and commendations to Anderson from numerous American and foreign statesmen; and university honorary degrees.

IV. Film and Audio Recordings: includes campaign and elections footage and interviews, 1948-1966, and the Clinton P. Anderson Day Dedication and Banquet, 1965.

V. Scrapbooks: newspaper clippings, dating between 1941-1975.

VI. Business career: correspondence, newspaper clippings, financial records, board minutes and legal documents from the New Mexico Insurance Agents Association, 1922-1926; Rotary International, 1929-1946; and the Consumer's Tobacco Company, 1925-1934.

VII. Miscellaneous correspondence, pamphlets, stamps, biographical information: correspondence regarding book collecting, Rooseveltania, the Michael Steck and Jedediah Smith papers, and the Lincoln County Commission. There is also a biography of Anderson by Tony Hillerman, memorial booklet from Anderson's funeral service, and various stamp sheets.

VIII. Awards, certificates, honors: received by Anderson from various organizations, institutions, clubs, and other groups.

IX. Newspapers: selected historical newspapers, primarily from New Mexico, from as early as 1853.

X. Autographs and official correspondence

XI. Miscellaneous personal and political papers: notes and correspondence regarding Senate bills, taxation legislation, the Gila Wilderness, New Mexico history, conservation, Bureau of Indian Affairs health program, and Middle Eastern politics. There are also articles written by Anderson on various political subjects.

XII. Democratic National Convention: guidebooks and programs, 1928-1964

XIII. Clinton P. Anderson book collection: index

XIV. Scrapbooks, Clippings, Yearbooks, Memorabilia: scrapbooks of Rotary International events, and personal and political travels. There are also newspaper clippings, yearbooks, and social registers. Memorabilia includes trophies, paperweights, campaign inking plates, medallions, models of space craft, Coronado Cuarto Centennial banners and flags.

XV: Record Albums: news broadcasts, reports, and speeches of Anderson and others.

XVI: Guide to Library of Congress material on microfilm.


  • 1848-1975


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Original W. W. H. Davis "Private Journal at a Treaty with the Navajo Indians, New Mexico" is housed in high security area. Researchers should use the photocopy in Box 1, Folder 2.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is reaponsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

Clinton Presba Anderson, statesman, businessman and rare book collector , was born October 23, 1895 in Centerville, South Dakota. He attended Dakota Wesleyan University and the University of Michigan. A broken back put his father out of work in 1916 and Anderson quit school to help support his family. He worked as a newspaper reporter in Mitchell, South Dakota until he became seriously ill with tuberculosis. Given six months to live, Anderson headed for the favorable climate of New Mexico and arrived in Albuquerque in October 1917. He convalesced at the Methodist Sanitarium where he occasionally wrote for the Herald of the Well Country. When he was well enough to leave the sanitarium, he went to work as a reporter for the Albuquerque Herald. In 1919 he was sent to Santa Fe to cover the legislature. Unimpressed with how the Republican party was running the state, he befriended some Democrats and gave them his ideas on bills before the legislature. Some of those ideas eventually became state law and Anderson began a life long association with the Democratic Party. He became State Chairman in 1928.

His long career of public service began as Executive Secretary of the New Mexico Public Health Association in 1919. There he raised money to fight tuberculosis, established county health programs and was instrumental in founding the state public health department.

In the early 1920s Anderson pursued private business affairs. Newspaper work seemed to offer a poor future, so in 1922 he started in the insurance business of the New Mexico Loan and Mortgage Company. He was soon able to buy the business and change the name to the Clinton P. Anderson Agency, a successful and enduring enterprise. Actively involved in the Rotary Club of Albuquerque since 1919, he was elected to the International Board in 1930 and became president of Rotary International in 1932, a position that introduced him to many business and political contacts.

Anderson returned to public life with an appointment to the State Treasurer's office in 1933. That was followed by appointments as director of the Bureau of Revenue, Relief Administrator for the State of New Mexico, Western States Field Coordinator for the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, State Director of the National Youth Administration, Chairman of the New Mexico Unemployment Security Division, and Managing Director of the Coronado Cuarto Centennial Commission, among others. It was Anderson's style to take on a newly created position or an emergency situation, organize it, and then leave when he felt that all was running smoothly.

A conflict among members of the state Democratic Party convinced Anderson to run for the House of Representatives in 1940. Utilizing his many business and political contacts throughout the state Anderson won the election. For the next three decades he would divide his time between Albuquerque and Washington, D.C.

Anderson became known for his thorough investigative work and during his three terms in the House, was assigned to several special committees, including the chairmanship of the Special Committee to Investigate Food Shortages in 1945. The committee argued for a streamlined food distribution system and emphasized long-range planning for increasing food production. It was his success in that assignment, along with their personal friendship, that led to his appointment by Harry Truman as Secretary of Agriculture in June 1945.

As Secretary of Agriculture he faced his biggest challenge. The United States faced serious food shortages and much of the rest of the world was starving. Utilizing his organizational skills, Anderson incorporated all existing food and agricultural activities under his office and, in a controversial move, brought in Herbert Hoover to head the Famine Emergency Committee.

U.S. food production and world wide distribution was stabilized by 1948. Anderson considered leaving the Cabinet and retiring from public life altogether. However, state and national representatives of the Democratic Party convinced him to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Carl Hatch. Anderson won the election and went on to serve four full terms as U.S. Senator from New Mexico. He served on the Agriculture Committee, the Interior Committee, the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, the Finance Committee and the Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee. The causes that he worked for, often with far reaching results, included water resources and distribution, land conservation and a wilderness preservation system, the peaceful use of nuclear energy and Medicare.

Anderson retired to his home in Albuquerque in 1972 where he pursued his interest in collecting rare books and historic research materials. He died at home on November 11, 1975.


58 boxes (50 cu. ft.) + 1 oversize folder

Related Material

Presentation by Marianne Tyndall Clinton P. Anderson and his library legacy

Center for Regional Studies and the Center for Southwest Research Fellows presentation, Marianne Tyndall

Clinton P. Anderson Congressional Papers. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (A microfilm edition is available for use at the Center for Southwest Research.

Separated Material

Photographs have been transferred to Clinton P. Anderson Photographs

Anderson's presidential book collection is located in CSWR book collection. A set of Anderson's public addresses from his tenure as Secretary of Agriculture and Senator are in the Anderson Reading Room.

US Government publications have been incorporated into the collection of the Government Information Department, Zimmerman Library

Master motion picture films, DVDs, DVCPro tapes and vinyl records are stored in B3.

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • Guide to Research Collections of Former United States Senators, 1789-1982. Kathryn Allamong Jacob, editor-in-chief. Washington, D.C.: Historical Office, United States Senate, 1983.

Processing Information

Six volumes of Tributes to Clinton P. Anderson (Los Alamos, NM, April 8, 1972) were transferred from the Anderson Reading Room into the collection, August 2009.
Finding Aid of the Clinton P. Anderson Papers, 1848-1975
Processed by CSWR Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 20 BC::Clinton P. Anderson Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss20bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131