Donald W. Anderson was a Wisconsin newspaper publisher who organized the purchase of seven Montana newspapers by Lee Enterprises in 1959. They purchased the newspapers from the Anaconda Co., which, at that time, was owner of the state's largest mining industry and its biggest newspaper publisher. The papers, Montana Standard in Butte, the Butte Daily Post, the Missoulian, the Billings Gazette , the Helena Independent Record, the Anaconda Standard, and the Livingston Enterprise, were purchased for $5.2 million. This purchase freed the major newspapers of Montana from the control of the Anaconda Company, which had profoundly influenced the content and editorial opinions of the papers. Anderson, a Gallatin county native, became president of Lee Newspapers of Montana when the papers were purchased and ran the company from the Madison, Wisconsin headquarters. Anderson was also publisher of Lee's Wisconsin State Journal in Madison.
Anderson began his reporting career in Madison in 1923 as a humor columnist. He became city editor in 1925, Sunday editor in 1926, managing editor a few months later, and business manager and assistant publisher in 1933. He became publisher in 1942 and remained chief executive for 26 years. He was vice president of Lee Enterprises and a member of the decision-making executive committee at the time of his retirement. In addition to his newspaper work, Anderson was an avid traveler and wrote a book recounting a trip around the world in 1954. He received many awards, including one from Sigma Chi for his contributions to journalism and literature in 1963. Anderson died on April 26, 1978, in Madison of Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 77.
From the guide to the Donald W. Anderson Papers, 1941-1971, (Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library Archives and Special Collections)