Lives of the fellows

Hugh Kerr (Sir) Anderson

b.6 July 1865 d.2 November 1928
MB BCh Cantab(1891) MA MD FRS FRCP(1923)

Hugh Anderson was born at Hampstead, the third son of James Anderson, shipowner, and his wife Eliza, daughter of Surgeon-General John Murray. From Harrow he went up to Caius College, Cambridge, as a classical scholar, but, turning to medicine, obtained first classes in both parts of the natural sciences tripos and completed his studies at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, graduating as M.B, B.Ch, in 1891. He now returned to Cambridge in the capacity of assistant demonstrator of physiology, was elected to a fellowship at his College in 1897, and became University lecturer on physiology in 1903. He soon made his name by publishing a number of papers, the majority in conjunction with J. N. Langley, that added much to the knowledge of the sympathetic nervous system, especially in its relation to the pupil, intestines and bladder. About the year 1905 his aptitude for administration became apparent, and henceforward his scientific activities declined as he busied himself to an increasing extent with University and College affairs. He became a member of the press syndicate in 1906, the financial board in 1908 and the council of the senate in 1910, and chairman of the press syndicate in 1918.

In 1912 Anderson’s teaching responsibilities ceased entirely on his election as master of Caius, although he resumed lecturing on medicine temporarily during the 1914-1918 War. In 1919 he was appointed to the Royal Commission on the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and in 1922 to the statutory commission for Cambridge; in the work of both he took a major part. In his last two years he was entrusted with the negotiations leading to the Rockefeller Foundation’s gift of £700,000 towards the cost of a new university library and facilities for biological research. He was made a member of the Medical Research Council in 1927.

Anderson, who was knighted in 1922, made his mark in three different spheres—in research, in teaching, and in administration. To this last he brought a remarkable talent for detailed work that did nothing to obscure his perception of underlying principles. His modesty and his consideration made him a loved as well as a respected figure in the University. He married in 1894 Jessie, daughter of Surgeon-General Francis William Innes, C.B, and had a son and a daughter. He died in London.

G H Brown

[Lancet, 1928; B.M.J., 1928; D.N.B., 1922-30, 19; Al.Cantab., i, 53]

(Volume IV, page 584)

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