Miller Center

American President

A Reference Resource

Clinton P. Anderson (1945–1948): Secretary of Agriculture

Clinton Presba Anderson was born in 1895 in Centerville, South Dakota. He attended Dakota Wesleyan University from 1913 to 1915 and then spent one year at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, but he never received a degree from either institution.

After being rejected from military service because of his health, Anderson moved to New Mexico and became first a reporter and then an editor for the Albuquerque Journal. During this time, he also became interested in the insurance business, working as a manager in a loan and mortgage company and then starting his own business in 1925.

Anderson next turned his attention to politics, becoming New Mexico's treasurer in 1933 and taking charge of the New Mexico Relief Administration in 1934. A Democrat, Anderson continued to be involved in New Deal programs, acting as the field representative of the Federal Emergency Administration in 1935 and then a year later as the chairman and executive director of the Unemployment Compensation Commission.

By 1940, Anderson had been elected to the United States House of Representatives and served from 1941 to 1945 when he became President Harry Truman's secretary of agriculture, a post he held until he resigned in 1948. That same year, he made a successful bid for the United States Senate and served in Congress until he resigned in 1973. Clinton Presba Anderson died in 1975.