Glenn M. Anderson was born on February 21, 1913 in Hawthorne, California, a city that Anderson would serve as mayor, Assemblyman, and Congressman. His parents had moved to California from Chicago in 1906, and were the first settlers in newly-established town of Hawthorne, located in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County. Except for a brief period when the family lived in the San Bernardino County town of Cima, Anderson would maintain a home in the South Bay area for the rest of his life. Following the death of Anderson's father in 1925 and his brother's disappearance in 1928, Anderson began his working life at age 18. While still attending high school, he began work as Postal Telegram Messenger, delivering telegrams first by bicycle, then later by motorcycle. Even while attending college at UCLA, Anderson's enjoyment of motorcycle riding led to a brief career in the emerging sport of short track racing and occasional stunt work in Hollywood films. With the money he earned from races and motion pictures, Anderson opened a small garage in Hawthorne, one which soon grew to be one of the few thriving businesses in the Depression-hit town. As a successful local businessman, Anderson was urged to run for City Council. Upon winning a seat, his fellow Councilmen elected him to the mayor's position. In 1940, Anderson at age 27 was the youngest mayor in the United States. At the same time he was beginning his career in municipal politics, Anderson was also working in the California Democratic Party, then eager to make gains in traditionally-Republican California. In 1936 he had helped organize a local Young Democrats chapter, soon became treasurer and then president, and in 1938 was elected a member of the Los Angeles County Central Committee (LACCC). In 1942, Anderson became a member of the Democratic State Central Committee of California (DSCCC), serving on the executive board, and was eventually elected Chairman of the DSCCC in 1950, by unanimous vote. As mayor, Anderson bypassed parochial business-as-usual corruption and graft that defined local politics, and began to place Hawthorne on a larger stage, convincing the Roosevelt Administration to build a long-delayed water filtration plant in the city as part of the Works Progress Administration. He was also instrumental in helping build the Hawthorne Municipal Airport as a draw to emerging aircraft companies, including future aviation giant Northrop. With the outbreak of World War II, Hawthorne and its surrounding area become vital in constructing airplanes for the war effort, with the air industry employing thousands. In 1943, Anderson left the Hawthorne mayor's office after winning election to the State Legislature, representing the 46th District. After occupying the office briefly, Anderson waived the deferment granted to legislators, and enlisted in the Army, serving for the duration of the war. Upon discharge, Anderson returned to the State Legislature, winning re-election in 1945, 1947, and 1949. During his years in the California State Legislature, Anderson focused on education, aid to veterans, and improving California's infrastructure. He authored the bill establishing El Camino College in his district, and pushed for the construction of bridges and highways that would link the South bay harbors in San Pedro and Long Beach to the rest of the state, and help make the harbors among the busiest in the world. Anderson also authored a bill outlawing segregation in California schools; it was signed into law in 1947, years before Brown vs. Board of Education outlawed segregation nationally. Following an unsuccessful run for the California State Senate in 1950, Anderson left elected office for eight years. While focusing on his successful property investment and development business, Anderson continued with efforts to build up the state's Democratic Party. In 1952, Anderson, along with other Democratic leaders, including future-Senator Alan Cranston, formed the California Democratic Council (CDC), with Cranston chairman in Northern California, and Anderson Chairman in Southern California. The CDC spearheaded the movement to establish hundreds of Democratic Clubs around the state, bringing thousands of people into the party on a local level, allowing them to discuss issues important to them and helping determine common goals. This grass-roots movement helped fuel the explosive growth of the Democratic Party in the state in the 1950s, helping it become competitive with the then-dominant Republican Party. Anderson believed the time was right to re-enter elective politics, and in 1957 he began to campaign for the Lieutenant Governor's position. In 1958, he won his party's nomination, then was elected to the office in the general election, serving with his fellow Democrat Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, who had been elected Governor. They were both re-elected in 1962. Anderson was Lieutenant Governor during some of California's most momentous years. As ex-officio Regent and Trustee, he helped preside over the 1960 creation of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, which made the University of California, the California State Colleges (later becoming the California State University system), and Community Colleges partners in an initiative that made higher education available to virtually any California resident. Anderson also chaired the Interstate Cooperation Commission, which helped California and Nevada control development in the Lake Tahoe area. Anderson worked on the California presidential campaigns of both Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy. In August, 1965, while Governor Brown was out of the country, Anderson was Acting Governor when the Watts Riots broke out in Los Angeles. Anderson received some public criticism for his handling of the crisis, and it became an issue in the 1966 gubernatorial race, in which Republicans Ronald Reagan and Robert Finch defeated Governor Brown and Lieutenant Governor Anderson, respectively. In 1968, Anderson ran successfully for the U.S. Congress, representing the South Bay area, including his hometown of Hawthorne. He served twelve terms, spanning the years 1969-1993. During his years in office, Anderson focused largely on environmental protection and improving the nation's infrastructure and harbors. He served most significantly on the Committee on Public Works and Transportation, which he briefly chaired, and the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. While involving himself with national issues, Anderson remained committed to matters affecting California. He took particular interest in fisheries and the fishing industry, mass transportation systems for Los Angeles, San Pedro and Long Beach ports and harbors, and construction of major southern California highways, including the 105 Freeway and the Alameda Corridor. For his efforts on behalf of the 105 Freeway, it was renamed the Glenn M. Anderson Freeway in 1994. Anderson also remained closely connected to his constituents throughout his career. Anderson welcomed visits to both his South Bay and Washington offices, and he and his staff often helped constituents deal with other government agencies, including the Social Security Administration, the Armed Forces, Veteran's Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service. In recognition of his service, there are parks, bridges, roads, and shipping channels throughout the South Bay that bear his name. Anderson left the House of Representatives in 1993. He died on December 13, 1994. He was survived by three children and his wife, Lee (Dutton) Anderson. She had been active in the California Democratic Party when she met Anderson in 1949. They were married in 1957, the second marriage for both. A full political partner, Lee Anderson worked on Anderson's campaigns, the Presidential campaign of Adlai Stevenson, and she was deeply involved in supporting the United Nations.
From the description of The Glenn M. Anderson Papers, 1870s-2000, 1940-1994 (California State University, Dominguez Hills). WorldCat record id: 680289325