JOHN ANDERSON JR., the thirty-sixth governor of Kansas, was born near Olathe, Kansas on May 8, 1917. His education was attained at Olathe High School, Kansas State University, and at the University of Kansas, where he earned a B.A. degree in 1943 and a law degree in 1944. Due to medical reasons, Anderson was not eligible for military service during World War II. Instead, he worked on the staff of Federal Judge Walter A. Huxman for two years. Anderson entered politics in 1947, winning election as Johnson County attorney, a position he held for six years. He also served as a member of the Kansas State Senate from 1953 to 1956, and was appointed attorney general of Kansas, serving from 1956 to 1961. Anderson won the 1960 Republican gubernatorial nomination and was sworn into the governorship on January 9, 1961. He was reelected to a second term in 1962. During his tenure, he endorsed revising the state’s pardon and parole system, a combined medical and psychiatric hospital was created, the public school system was restructured into unified districts, the per-pupil expenditure allowance was raised, a state school library consultant was authorized, and the University of Wichita was added to the state board of regents system. Also, a public welfare system was improved, highway construction was advanced, vocational-technical schools were endorsed, fair employment practices were sanctioned, an advanced public employee retirement system was approved, and state agencies were reorganized with the restructuring of commissions and boards. Anderson also was the first governor to occupy the new executive mansion, Cedar Crest. After leaving office on January 11, 1965, he served as the attorney for both the Kansas Turnpike Authority and the State Board of Healing Arts. He also served as the executive director of the Citizens Conference on State Legislatures, a position he held from 1965 to 1972. After running unsuccessfully for the governor’s office in 1972, Anderson retired to his Olathe ranch.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.