Monroe Dunaway Anderson was born on June 29 1873, in Jackson, Tennessee. His father was the first president and one of the founders of the First National Bank of Jackson. In 1904, his older brother, Frank, and Frank´s brother in law, Will Clayton formed a partnership to trade in cotton, Thus Anderson, Clayton & Co. was founded, with its head office in Oklahoma City.
In 1907, Monroe moved to Houston so that the company would have access to the most important banks. Anderson, Clayton & Co. became the largest cotton trading company in the world.
In the mid-1930s, he and Will Clayton were the holders of more than half the company stock capital. That is why, in 1936, the charitable foundation, named after him, was set up with the sum of $300,000.
When Monroe died in 1939, the foundation inherited $19 million. The foundation´s charter did not state how that sum should be used, but the trustees inclined towards healthcare work. Soon after receiving the estate from the executors, the trustees learned that the state of Texas had, in 1941, authorized The University of Texas to set up hospital dedicated to the research and treatment of cancer. The exact location of the hospital had not been decided, but $500,000 had been destined for the project. The foundation agreed to contribute an equal sum provided the hospital was built in Houston and t named after its founder.
The hospital started in a temporary building on the property of James A. Baker, in downtown Houston during World War II. At the end of the 1940s various buildings were added until, in 1954, the hospital was moved to its current location in the Texas Medical Center.