William F. Anderson (bishop)

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William F. Anderson (bishop)
Acting President of Boston University
Term 1925 – 1926
Predecessor Lemuel Herbert Murlin
Successor Daniel L. Marsh
Born April 22, 1860
Morgantown, West Virginia
Died July 22, 1944 (aged 84)
Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts
Alma mater Ohio Wesleyan University
Drew Theological Seminary
New York University
Profession Pastor
Religion Methodist
Spouse Jennie Lulah Ketcham

William Franklin Anderson (1860-1944) was an American Methodist pastor, writer, and educator who served as Bishop of Chattanooga, Cincinnati, and Boston and was Acting President of Boston University from January 1, 1925 to May 15, 1926.

Early life[edit]

Anderson was born on April 22, 1860 in Morgantown, West Virginia. As a child he had a passion for law and politics, but his religious upbringing led him to enter the church. He attended West Virginia University for three years before transferring to Ohio Wesleyan University. He then went on to Drew Theological Seminary, where he earned a bachelor's degree in divinity in 1887. In 1887 Anderson was ordained a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church. That same year he married Jennie Lulah Ketcham, the daughter of a Cincinnati minister and a classmate of his from Ohio Wesleyan. They would go on to have seven children.[1]

Methodist Ministry[edit]

Anderson's first pastorate was the Mott Avenue Church in New York City. He then served at St. James' Church in Kingston, New York, the Washington Square Church in New York City, and at a church in Ossining, New York.[1]

In 1898 his interest in teaching landed him the job of recording secretary to the board of education of the Methodist Church. That same year he graduated from New York University with a master's degree in philosophy. In 1904 he was promoted to corresponding secretary.[1]

In 1908 he was made a bishop. His first assignment was at Chattanooga, Tennessee where he served until 1912. He then transferred to Cincinnati, Ohio. During World War I, he made five trips to Europe. He made frequent visits to the battlefronts with the French and Italian armies. From 1915 to 1918, he was the church's official supervisor of its missions in Italy, France, Finland, Norway, North Africa, and Russia. In 1922 he was made a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.[1]

In 1921 he accompanied Henry Ford, Harvey Samuel Firestone, and Thomas Edison on their camping trip. He also had a friendship with Warren G. Harding, who joined them on their camping trip following year.[1]

Academic career[edit]

In 1924 Anderson was assigned to the Boston area. Soon thereafter, he was elected to the Boston University Board of Trustees.[1] On January 1, 1925 he was named acting president of the university after Lemuel Herbert Murlin resigned to accept the same position at De Pauw University.[2] He remained acting president until May 15, 1926 when Daniel L. Case was inaugurated.[3] While serving as president, Anderson was elected president of the Methodist Episcopal Church's board of education. He also held trusteeships at Drew Theological Seminary, Ohio Wesleyan University, Goucher College, Ohio Northern University, Baldwin–Wallace College, and Meharry Medical College.[1]

In 1932, church regulations forced Anderson into retirement and he became chair of religion and college chaplain at Carleton College, where he remained until 1935. During the 1937 spring semester he taught religion at Tennessee Wesleyan College. From 1937 to 1941 he was an associate professor of religion at Florida Southern College.[1]


Anderson died on July 22, 1944 at his summer home in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Bishop Anderson Funeral Services Set for Tuesday". The Boston Daily Globe. July 23, 1944. 
  2. ^ "Dr. D. L. Marsh B. U. President". The Boston Daily Globe. December 31, 1925. 
  3. ^ "B. U. Head To Be Inaugurated May 15". The Boston Daily Globe. February 26, 1926.