Anderson, Emily (1891–1962), academic, civil servant, and translator, was born 17 March 1891 at Taylor's Hill, Galway, second daughter of Alexander Anderson (qv), professor of natural philosophy and later president of QCG/UCG, and Emily Gertrude Anderson (née Binns), from Co. Limerick, daughter of a bank manager in Galway. The Andersons were presbyterian. Mrs Anderson was active in reform organisations and, with her daughters, attended local suffrage meetings; they were founder members of the Connaught Women's Franchise League in Galway in January 1913. Emily was educated privately before entering QCG in 1908; she won a literary scholarship after an exceptional performance in her first-year examinations, when she placed first in English, French, German and Latin; in 1909 and 1910 she held the college's Browne scholarship, and in 1911 graduated BA. She specialised in German, and undertook postgraduate work at the universities of Berlin and Marburg.
In 1915 she was appointed modern languages mistress at Queen's College, Barbados. After working there for two years, she returned to Galway in 1917. She was the first to hold a newly established separate chair of German in UCG, and radically modernised and extended the course to include more works of literature, phonetics, the history of the language and literature. She resigned in 1920, and moved to London to work in the British Foreign Office where she spent the rest of her career, apart from a period (1940–43) of secondment to the War Office, during which she worked on intercepted German communications at Middle East GHQ in Egypt. For this work she was awarded the OBE (1944). She retired from the Foreign Office in 1951.
Despite what must have been a demanding career in the civil service, she kept up her academic interests, and published a translation of Benedetto Croce's study of Goethe (1923). Her most important contributions to scholarship, internationally acknowledged, were in the history of music; she single-handedly assembled, edited, and translated into English hundreds of letters of the Mozart family written before the composer's death; she was the first to deal with Mozart's sometimes scatological and nonsensical letters, which previous scholars had censored or omitted. Though later scholars regret the somewhat limiting parameters of her edition, Anderson's presentation of the texts was regarded as a model for similar work, and her translations were lively and contemporary. Her three-volume edition of the chronologically arranged Letters of Mozart and his family was first published in 1938 and in revised editions in 1966 and 1985. It remained in 2008 one of the fundamental sources in Mozart scholarship.
In retirement from the Foreign Office, she undertook an edition of the letters of Beethoven, published in three volumes in 1961. Her paleographical skills in tackling Beethoven's almost-illegible handwriting were remarkable. Inaccurate readings of portions of many of his letters were corrected, and she established the texts of over 200 letters previously unpublished. For her work on the great composers, she was in 1951 awarded the German Order of Merit. Anderson also wrote historical articles for various music journals.
She died, unmarried, in Ellendale Road, London, 26 October 1962. In her will she left all her estate of almost £12,000 for philanthropic purposes. £1,685 went to the Royal UK Beneficent Association to help persons of reduced means in the Republic of Ireland; one-third of the residual estate went to the Musicians Benevolent Fund, and the remainder was willed to the Royal Philharmonic Association for the establishment of an international annual competition for violin playing in London. The Emily Anderson prize was established in 1967 and continues to be awarded, and UCG holds an annual concert in memory of one of their most distinguished alumni.