Anderson was born in Aberdeen in 1877 and attended Aberdeen University. In 1899 he was admitted at Trinity College Cambridge, where he was elected a scholar. He won the Browne Medal for Greek Epigram in 1902 and graduated BA with a First Class in the Classical Tripos in 1903. He spent the next three years as a Lecturer in Classics at Manchester University, before taking up the post of Professor of Latin at Queens' University, Kingston, Canada (1906-13). He returned to Manchester in 1913 and served as Professor of Imperial Latin (1913-29) and then Hulme Professor of Latin (1929-36). Upon the death of A.E. Housman in 1936, Anderson was appointed Kennedy Professor of Latin at Cambridge, and was elected to a Fellowship at St John's College. He held the Professorship until his retirement in 1942. Anderson published editions of Livy Book IX and the poems and letters of Sidonius Apollinaris, and wrote many articles and reviews concerned with the Latin poets, notably Virgil, Lucan, and Statius. He collected materials for editions of Lucan and of the second book of Statius' 'Thebaid', but these remained unpublished. Anderson died a bachelor in 1959.
Notes, translations, and lecture notes on classical literature and authors, letters.
These papers were acquired by the College Library after Anderson's death, in 1960.