Minnesota Author Biographies.

Elmer L. Andersen

Elmer L. Andersen

From I Trust to be Believed (2004) by Elmer L. Andersen

People need quality services from government, and the way to provide them is through industrial development. Industrial development is built around education and investment in people, not tax cuts. Anyone who knows business knows that taxes are really not the issue that decides where firms locate. The crucial issue, after consideration of the market, is the adequacy of the available workforce. An industry surrounding new development goes where people are trained and skilled in that development. The firms that choose low-tax states are those that can tolerate poor education because they rely on low-wage, unskilled labor. Desirable industries, those that pay high wages and seek to maximize the per-capita production of each employee, need the things that a high-tax state provides. They need a fine workforce of well-educated, healthy people who are attracted to a place because of its culture and amenities, not its cheapness.

Biographical Notes

Birth: June 17, 1909, Chicago, Illinois
Death: November 15, 2004, St. Paul, Minnesota

Republican Minnesota governor (1961-1963), corporation executive, and newspaper publisher, Elmer Lee Andersen graduated from Muskegon (Michigan) Junior College in 1928 and earned a B.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1931. Andersen worked in Minnesota as a school furniture salesman from 1923-1934. In 1934 he accepted an advertising and sales promotion position with the H. B. Fuller Company of St. Paul. Andersen advanced rapidly in the company and he was a sales manager from 1937-1941, president from 1941-61, president and chairman of the board from 1963-71, chairman of the board and chief executive officer from 1971-74, and chairman of the board from 1974-94. In 1976 Andersen purchased two Princeton, Minnesota newspapers and formed the Princeton Union-Eagle. Andersen was a Minnesota State Senator (IR) from 1949-59 and governor of Minnesota from 1961-63. His legislative achievements included fair employment practices, metropolitan planning, workmen's compensation, taconite development, education, and child welfare.

Andersen was active in numerous organizations and served as a board director for several banks and corporations. He was on the Board of Regents for the University of Minnesota, president for the Child Welfare League of America, a member of the National Parks Centennial Commission, president of the Voyageurs National Park Association, board member for the Bush Foundation from 1968-82, board member for the Charles Lindbergh Foundation from 1977-87, and board member for the Council on Foundations from 1971-77. He won an Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota in 1959, an award of merit from the Izaak Walton League, a Silver Beaver award and a Silver Antelope award from the Boy Scouts of America, a conservation award from the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, a Taconite award from the Minnesota chapter of American Institute of Mining Engineers in 1976, a National Phi Kappa Phi award from the University of Minnesota in 1977, named to the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame in 1977, Greatest Living St. Paulite award from the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce in 1980, the David Preus Leadership award in 1993 and 2000, and the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Al McIntosh Distinguished Service to Journalism Award in 2000.

Selected Works

The titles below link to the catalog record in MnPALS, the Minnesota Historical Society’s library catalog. Please click on your browser's back button to return.

Eight Decades
Promises and Proposals of Elmer L. Andersen, 1960 Campaign
Public Service and Private Enterprise
Views from the Publisher's Desk: Editorials
Voyageur National Park: 20th Anniversary Celebration Talk by Elmer L. Andersen

Additional Resources

Minnesota Historical Society Links

• Search MNHS Library and Archives Catalog for author - Searches for works by this author in the Minnesota Historical Society’s library
Minnesota Historical Society Collections Online
Governors of Minnesota
History Topics - Andersen and Rolvaag 1962 Gubernatorial Recount
MN150 - Minnesota Historical Society MN150 exhibit wiki
Oral history Interview with Elmer L. Andersen, 1978 Feb. 9

Web Links

Elmer L. Andersen Dead at 95 - Minnesota Public Radio news story

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