Media is loading


Andersen, Elmer L.

Document Type

Oral History

Date of Interview



Elmer L. Andersen was born on 17 June 1909 in Chicago, Illinois, one of four children. He grew up in Muskegon, Michigan, attending public schools and junior college, graduating in 1928. Andersen relocated to Minneapolis in 1928 and, after a year as a salesman, enrolled at the University of Minnesota; he graduated in 1931 with a degree in business administration. He was married in 1932 (wife Eleanor Johnson). In 1934 Andersen began working for H.B. Fuller Company in St. Paul, first in sales and by 1941 as president of the company. During the war years 1941-45 H.B. Fuller expanded its positions in the industrial adhesives industry, thanks in part to numerous government and military-related contracts; as president, Andersen was instrumental in the company’s growth and success. By 1945 the company was situated for a move into new markets, using contacts and profits from the war years. Andersen remained with H.B. Fuller as president and CEO until 1974, building it into a Fortune 500 company with a worldwide presence. Andersen was also involved in politics for many years, serving as a Minnesota state senator (1949-58) and as governor of Minnesota (1960-63). In addition, Andersen has donated time, energy, and financial resources to numerous causes, among them the Minnesota Historical Society and Voyageurs National Park. At the time of this interview (March 2003) Elmer Andersen lived in Arden Hills, Minnesota.


All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced without the written permission of Concordia University Library or Thomas Saylor, Department of History, Concordia University, St. Paul.

Elmer Andersen - Transcript.pdf (498 kB)
PDF Transcript of Interview with Elmer Andersen