Chapter 02: Memories of Monroe Dunaway Anderson

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Chapter 02: Memories of Monroe Dunaway Anderson

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The interview begins with Thomas Dunaway Anderson’s recollections of his uncle, Monroe Dunaway Anderson, the founder of the M.D. Anderson foundation and namesake of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The interview continues with a description of the establishment and purpose of the M.D. Anderson Foundation and the growth and development of several recipients of M.D. Anderson’s philanthropy, including the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Texas Medical Center. Thomas Anderson’s memories and interactions regarding Dr. Randolph Lee Clark, the first full-time president of what is known today as the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, are recounted as well. A discussion concerning Thomas Anderson’s family contributions associated with the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the Texas Medical Center ends the interview.

Identifier

AndersonT_01_20000504_C02

Publication Date

5-4-2000

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center - Key MD Anderson Figures; Personal Background; Portraits; MD Anderson History; MD Anderson Snapshot

Transcript

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

We first became acquainted with him - I did - when the Frank Anderson family lived in Oklahoma City. And M. D. Anderson, in the meantime, had transferred to Houston mainly because his cotton company, Anderson Clayton and Company, needed the larger banking facilities that Houston offered, and he was a banker.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

What year was that approximately? About 1907. I was born in 1912, and I guess one of my very early recollections is for him to come out and have a meal at our house and play with me and the other younger children in the family before catching his train to come on to Houston again. Train service between Oklahoma City and Houston was frequent and very good for that period. These people were all Scotch-Irish in origin. I've got a book on the Scotch-Irish movement, which I won't recite here, but they came from Northern Ireland as a part of the great migration from that area which is still having its problems, as we know, and settled along the eastern seaboard. And then, as lands opened up for public settlement, many of them migrated to the west. That is certainly what my ancestors did and what the Dunaway ancestors did also. What else on that?

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

Do you have any specific memories of him beyond what you said? Is there something that stands out in your mind?

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

Well, while we were in Oklahoma City, his visits were just drop-in visits between trains, so to speak. After my family moved to Houston, which was in 1928, my mother invited him to come and have dinner with us every night. And he was pretty nimble with the knife and fork. And, of course, he had been eating in boarding houses and hotels, so he was very happy about having a home-cooked meal. So, there was always a place for him at my mother's dinner table, from the time she moved here in 1928 until the time he died in 1939. I guess he was with us hundreds and hundreds of times. A few anecdotal things which you will find in this envelope here, and I will hand it to you now so you will have it nearby, so that we won't walk off without it . . . my father had died in 1924 and left modest inheritances in trusts for his younger children until they should become 25. I was instructed that I had to come here and go to Rice Institute, it was called, in my sophomore year, and I didn't have a car. He took pity on me and said, "I think you need a car." And I said, "I sure do agree with you on that." And he said, "Well, let's see what we can do about it." So, he had me sign a note for $500 to my trust. And the trust advanced the money for me to go out and buy the prettiest little Ford Roadster you nearly ever saw! Then, he would remind me, if he was there in the evening and if I was home studying or not doing very much, he'd say, "You'd better get in that car and drive because the interest on that $500 is running day and night, whether you are getting any enjoyment out of the subject of the interest or not." That was one of my recollections. Another one was that my mother was twitting him one time in this way: My younger brother, Ben, was a little late in going out and exercising a young man's prerogative of chasing girls. And so, my mother, in speaking to him, said, "You need to call some girls and go and have some dates. You don't want to be an old bachelor. There is a streak of it in the family." Well, Grandpa said, "Just a minute. Don't call me a streak." You will read in here also the stories about his first car. Do you think we have time for that? I will just go on and tell it.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

Well, I don't want to repeat what is already known.

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

That is in there - the story of his first car and his second car. And there are some other anecdotes, personal anecdotes, in the written material that I am giving to you. I happened to be in the same restaurant where he was at lunch on a day in 1938 called the Majestic Grill. It was part of the Majestic Theater building downtown on Rusk and Travis. And of Uncle Mun's friends, a man named Fisher whom I knew casually, came over with a funny look on his face and he said, "Your uncle has something wrong with him. You'd better come and see about him." So, I went over to where he was. He had been sitting at the counter, I think, in this cafe that doesn't deserve the name restaurant, and he was holding his right arm down. He said, "My arm has gone to sleep and I was trying to get it to wake up again." Well, I knew what had happened, of course. We got into a taxi and I said, "I am going to take you to the hospital." "No," he said, "I won't go to the hospital. I want to go back home" which, in that case, was a room in the Texas State Hotel. So, over my protests, he outranked me . . . I got him over to the hotel, and some strong porters over there got him up to his room and we called his doctor, a Dr. Gray was his name. He wasn't the prominent Dr. Gray. He was the brother of Marvin Gray who was outstanding.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

What was his first name?

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

I can't remember. He was the younger brother of Dr. Marvin Gray. It may be in these papers. He came to see him and gave him something to reduce his blood pressure and in a little while, recommended that he be hospitalized. He was a little slow about that, I think but, in any case, he was taken over to Memorial Baptist Hospital and received treatment there. Some of his treatment was given by a Dr. James Greenwood, Jr., who made a talk about him. That is also in the papers that I have handed to you. And, as far as I can tell, it is entirely accurate.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

These are unpublished papers?

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

Well, it is a published paper but it is 60 years old, or 50 years old, so it may be that it is not in any archives yet. I had several copies so I made one. I am giving you one. I am down to about two now.

Louis Marchiafava, PhD :

Well, I appreciate it.

Thomas Dunaway Anderson :

Pay some attention to it. There are a bunch of clippings in there also about him, some of which are based on that and some of which are based on interviews that reporters gave to me. I have talked freely about him, so some of that, you will see some quotations in there that are attributable to me. He disliked Franklin Roosevelt, and that is an understatement. He detested the fellow and all that he stood for. He also was very concerned in his later years that Anderson Clayton and Company, of which he was, of course, a full partner, would suffer greatly on his death because the surviving partner, who would have been Will Clayton, was obliged under the partnership agreement to buy him out, so there just might not be enough money for that. So, they did two things - he and Will Clayton and some other business associates - they incorporated Anderson Clayton and Company, and Uncle Mun received an awful lot of shares in the company. But his lawyers, Colonel Bates primarily, Colonel W.B. Bates, a well-known lawyer in a firm then called Fulbright, Cooker, Freeman and Bates, prepared his will and also prepared a charter for the M. D. Anderson Foundation. In 1936, that is, Colonel Bates prepared and Uncle Mun signed, an instrument establishing the M. D. Anderson Foundation. And he put a few dollars into it. But his main purpose was to build a receptacle to receive the bulk of his estate at the time of his death. So, that is what is done. His will was quite generous to his nephews and his one niece, and to his three surviving sisters-in-law, but the bulk of it, 90% of it, I suppose, went into the M. D. Anderson Foundation and is that in the reinvestment and the product of it as the source of the many benefactions that this community has received in the name of M. D. Anderson for the last 50 years, almost 60 now since he died, although they didn't do too much during the war.

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Chapter 02: Memories of Monroe Dunaway Anderson

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