Hattie Mabel Anderson, college professor, writer and cofounder of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, one of six children of Swedish immigrant parents, was born on a farm near Norborne, Missouri, on February 9, 1887. Her father served for several years as a justice of the peace. She began teaching at the age of sixteen in a one-room country school. For the next few years she taught in the winters and attended school during the summers. She attended Central Missouri State Teachers' College, where she received a bachelor of pedagogy degree, and then transferred to the University of Missouri. There she worked as a teaching assistant and earned her B.A., A.M., and Ph.D degrees in history. For a time she taught at Synodical College in Fulton, Missouri, and at Missouri Wesleyan College.
In 1920, after pursuing studies for a year at the University of Chicago, Anderson accepted a position with the history faculty at West Texas State Teachers' College (now West Texas A&M University). Her interest in the Panhandle's pioneer heritage was quickly fueled by her realization that the region had only recently emerged from its frontier phase and that many pioneers were living. Recognizing a unique opportunity for professional historians to know and work with the pioneer generation, Anderson sought ways to turn this opportunity to account. With the backing of the college president, Joseph A. Hill, she organized the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society in February 1921. She chaired the committee that drew up the constitution and bylaws and cosigned the state charter. She was also instrumental in allying the society with the Panhandle Old Settlers Association and was a leader in the establishment of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in 1932.
As a college professor Hattie Anderson took charge of the history department's teaching methods and supervised the training of history teachers after the student teaching program was developed at WTSC. She helped organize the Pi chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society in Amarillo and founded Amarillo and Canyon branches of the American Association of University Women. She served as president of both organizations and was a state board member of AAUW. In addition she joined the Business and Professional Women's organization in Canyon and for several years taught Sunday school classes at the First Baptist Church in Canyon. She published numerous articles in historical journals, and in 1943 she and Hill collaborated on the American history text My Country and Yours (1944), which was adopted by schools in five states and subsequently came out in two revisions.
Anderson retired in 1957 but continued writing and volunteered her services at the Panhandle-Plains Museum, often as a guide for groups. She died on March 25, 1965, and was buried in Dreamland Cemetery at Canyon. Her papers are housed in the Museum Research Center.