Born in Scotland, Anderson was an engraver, producing a number of plates for S.F.Bradford's Philadephia edition of the Edinburgh Encyclopedia. Anderson worked in Philadelphia from 1811 to 1834 and then in Ohio until 1853.
In Ohio Anderson became acquainted with Sylvester Genin, an historical painter. He engraved a number of Genin’s paintings. He also engraved a map of the ancient world, showing modern place boundaries and names. In addition, he engraved portraits and book illustrations.