May 11, 2020 – Stuart Johnson, ABA President, Tel. no. 301-336-8222
The Aaron Burr Association lost one of its most dedicated members, Commodore Henry “Harry” Hill Anderson, Jr., around 3:30 a.m. today. Anderson, 98, died from natural causes related to his advanced age. Commodore Anderson was a distant cousin of Vice President Aaron Burr. His seventh great-grandfather, Jehue Burr, Jr., was Vice President Burr’s great-grandfather.
Commodore Anderson was dedicated to improving the image and reputation of Vice President Burr. Toward that end, he funded many projects, including the exhibition, “Aaron Burr returns to New York: An Exhibit of Burr and his Contemporaries,” at the Grolier Club in Manhattan in 2012. Eve M Kahn, of the New York Times, covered the exhibition in her Antiques column.
In August 2019, Commodore Anderson funded the headstone to adorn the Pennsylvania gravesite of John Pierre Burr, the Vice President’s son with Mary Eugenie Emmons. Anderson contacted Sherri Burr, a descendant of John Pierre Burr, after hearing that she had written an application to the Pennsylvania Abolitionist Society seeking funding for a headstone and a reception. Anderson contributed the entire $6500 to have the headstone fabricated in and shipped from New Mexico for installation in Pennsylvania. Upon hearing of the death of Anderson, Sherri Burr wrote, “I will always be grateful to Harry Anderson for his generous funding the headstone. In the midst of the process, he told me, ‘Don’t skimp!’”
Commodore Anderson was also a legend in the sailing world, and his life was ably captured by author Roger Vaughan in the book The Strenuous Life of Harry Anderson.
This morning, Aaron Burr Association President Stuart Johnson, wrote to ABA Members, “Our lion, Harry Anderson, passed away ... while under very brief hospice-type care for several days. Harry just wore out, with too many systems shutting down. ...To say that Harry had a remarkable life is, of course, an understatement. And he did so much for ABA, which association he loved, along with its members. …
Harry had quite a run. He was the oldest living former Commodore of the New York Yacht Club.”
Henry Anderson was predeceased by his middle brother Jim and both of his parents, Henry Hill Anderson, Sr. and Helen Jennings James, whose grandfather, Oliver Burr Jennings of Fairfield, CT, was one of the original stockholders of Standard Oil. Surviving him is his youngest brother, David Anderson, and a host of nieces and nephews. Harry Anderson was a graduate of Yale and Columbia University, and a generous supporter of both institutions.
Photographs by Dan Nerney, Sherri Burr, and Roger Vaughan