Peyton Anderson, Jr.
Mr. Anderson was a man of action, not ego. It was only after his death that poignant stories of his respectful humility and anonymous gifts came to light (New Georgia Encyclopedia). Today, newspaper publisher Peyton T. Anderson, Jr., is highly regarded as one of the region’s most generous benefactors. Our Macon, Georgia place-based Foundation was established to distribute funds from Mr. Anderson’s estate with these basic instructions:
“Reward good-doers, instead of do-gooders.”
Born in Macon in 1907, Mr. Anderson worked as a teenager at the family-owned newspapers The Macon Telegraph and The Macon News.
He left the family businesses to attend the United States Naval Academy and later served in the Navy during World War II as the Public Relations Officer for the Seventh Fleet in the Southwest Pacific, earning the rank of Commander. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.
Upon his return to the U.S., he re-entered the newspaper business. In 1951, after his family’s newspapers had been sold, Mr. Anderson bought them back and owned them both for the bulk of his career.
The New Georgia Encyclopedia refers to him as a “newspaperman’s newspaperman” and stated, “he was dedicated to publishing the truth without any consideration for friendship or advertising dollars, he hired the best editors he could find and let them do their jobs without interference.” According to Macon Telegraph historians, Mr. Anderson had a reputation for giving his editors great freedom to report the facts.
In 1969, Mr. Anderson sold the Macon Telegraph and News to Knight Newspapers and retired to oversee his investments.
Peyton Anderson’s longtime, dedicated involvement in the Central Georgia region led to his desire to respond to the needs of his hometown. He was a pillar of the community who often quietly helped people he came across, whether it was trouble with a medical bill or the opportunity to pursue higher education.
Mr. Anderson’s larger-than-life persona was an inspiration to many. His desire to give back to the community and its people, whose stories made up the pages of his publishing career, continues to be honored through the legacy of the Peyton Anderson Foundation.
Peyton Anderson Trivia
- While serving in WWII as the Public Relations Officer for the Seventh Fleet in the Southwest Pacific, he kept his father P.T. Anderson’s watch with him, always set on Macon time.
- He was a gadget enthusiast. Although he made his fortune in the newspaper business, he was one of the first in Macon to own a television.
- He hosted an annual “Pea Party” that served hog jowls and black-eyed peas every New Year’s Day.
- He owned Georgia’s first Corvette and turned it into a company vehicle, with Macon Telegraph emblazoned on its sides.
- He loved giving generous Christmas gifts and kept an enormous list.
- He and his wife Kat owned a home on Lake Sinclair called “Peyton’s Place.” After retirement, he bought two yachts, both called “Peyton’s Place II.” He later donated the first yacht to the International Oceanographic Foundation and sailed the other to Key Largo.
- He never met a stranger and had a rollicking sense of humor.
- He discovered Hoi Toi, also known as the “Laughing Buddha,” in a tiny shop in Hong Kong. He began collecting the figures and putting the image on everything – from stationery to serving trays. If you look carefully, you’ll see he’s holding one in his portrait.