Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Robert B. Anderson (1957–1961): Secretary of the Treasury

Robert B. Anderson was the secretary of the treasury under President Eisenhower from July 29, 1957, to January 20, 1961. He graduated from Weatherford College of Southwestern University in 1927 and was a high school teacher before being admitted to the University of Texas Law School in 1929. Anderson was admitted to the bar after graduating in 1932 and was also elected to the Texas State House of Representatives.

In 1933, he was appointed assistant attorney general of Texas and became the state's tax commissioner in 1934. Anderson became chairman and executive director of the Texas Unemployment Commission in 1936 and then moved into the private sector as the general manager of an oil and ranching estate in 1941, serving as president of the Texas Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association from 1947 to 1951.

In 1952, he was selected as an aide to the secretary of the Army under President Truman before becoming secretary of the Navy (1953-1954) and deputy secretary of defense (1954-1955) under President Eisenhower. As secretary of the Navy, Anderson was responsible for desegregating the naval bases of Norfolk, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina.

He left government to become president of Ventures Ltd., but Eisenhower brought him back to be treasury secretary. Anderson had Eisenhower's confidence and was one of his closest advisers; he was as dedicated as his predecessor to keeping inflation down through reduced public spending.

After 1961, Anderson returned to private life as a partner in the law firm of Carl M. Loeb, Rhoades and Company. He also served as the director of several companies until he was disbarred in 1987 following a guilty plea on charges of tax evasion.