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Innovation and Inspiration: The Campaign for Kansas University
University Archives & Manuscripts - Exhibits
First Ladies of K-State: Ann Anderson

Ann "Nannie" Taylor (Foote) Anderson


Ann Taylor Foote was born July 18, 1837, the daughter of Edwin and Eleanor Lee (Alexander) Foote. Following her mother's death in 1841, she went to live with the family of her maternal aunt, Cecelia (Alexander) Anderson.

Ann grew up in the boarding school founded by the Anderson's (Cecelia, her husband John Byars Anderson, and his sister Nancy). John B. Anderson's nephew, John Alexander Anderson, visited the family frequently, even staying with them during some of his studies.

Ann married her childhood friend, John Alexander Anderson, on January 29, 1864. The newlyweds moved to New York where John was in charge of health services for Civil War veterans. Nannie helped feed and nurse the soldiers. Son, John Byers, was born during this time.

In February 1868, John became the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Junction City, Kansas, where son, William Caldwell, was born.

On September 1, 1873, John A. Anderson was appointed president of Kansas State Agricultural College. Mrs. Anderson's tact and graciousness aided reorganization efforts at the college.

Ann began the tradition of the first lady's involvment with the Domestic Science Club, one of the three oldest women's clubs in Kansas. Due to the lack of cooking laboratories on campus, local women would open their kitchens for the students to practice. Students from the Domestic Science department set the table, planned the menu, cooked, and served the guests whenever the President entertained.

In 1878, John was elected to the U.S. Congress, serving 6 terms. Ann served as a Congressional spouse, living in Washington D.C., where their third son, Cecil Gerard, was born.

Ann's health never adapted to the weather in Washington, D.C. and she died on November 22, 1885. She was buried in Junction City, Kansas. John Anderson joined her there following his death on May 18, 1892.

Ann Anderson

Biographical information on the First Ladies was provided by:
Dr. Michaeline Chance-Reay, Assistant Professor, Women's Studies and COE, author of Land Grant Ladies: Kansas State University Presidential Wives