Roger W. Babson

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Roger Ward Babson

Also Known As: "The Seer of Wellesley Hills"
Birthdate: (91)
Birthplace: Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
Death: March 5, 1967 (91)
Lake Wales, Polk, Florida, United States (Natural causes)
Place of Burial: Wellesley, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Nathaniel Babson and Ellen F. Stearns
Husband of Grace Margaret Babson and Nona Margaret Babson
Father of Edith Low Mustard
Brother of Edith Low Babson and Alice Stearns Babson

Occupation: Educator, Entrepreneur, Economist, Writer, Philanthropist
Managed by: Erica Howton
Last Updated:

About Roger W. Babson

Roger Ward Babson

  • Born: 6-Jul-1875, Gloucester, MA
  • Parents: Nathaniel Babson, Ellen Stearns
  • Married: Grace Margaret Knight, Nona Margaret Dougherty
  • Daughter: Edith Low Babson (b. 6-Dec-1903)
  • Died: 5-Mar-1967, Mountain Lake, FL

Best known as Roger W. Babson

Roger Ward Babson (July 6, 1875 – March 5, 1967), economist, was an entrepreneur and business theorist in the first half of the 20th century. In 1929 Babson correctly predicted the stock market crash. He was the 1940 candidate for US presidency for the Prohibition Party. Author of over 40 books on business and religion, newspaper columnist, magazine writer, popular lecturer, and philanthropist, he's remembered today largely for founding Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts in 1919.

"Babson said once that two principles guided his work. One was that every business, no matter how local, depends upon conditions throughout the world. The other, based on Newton's Law that for every action there is an equal reaction, held that every business boom must be followed by a balancing period of reaction, or depression." (2)

Biographical extracts

Roger graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1898 and received LL.D.'s from the University of Florida in 1927, Elon College in 1937, Hendrix College in 1938, American Theological Seminary in 1939, LebanonValley College in 1940, and Stetson University in 1940. He was a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society of London.

An internationally known statistician, Roger was the founder of Babson's Statistical Organization, Babson Park, Massachusetts in 1904; Babson Reports, Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts in 1904; Babson Institute, which became known as Babson College on 25 April 1969, located at Babson Park, Wellesley in 1919. In 1927 he founded with his wife Grace Webber College, located at Babson Park, Florida. He also founded Utopia College, now Midwest Institute, at Eureka, Kansas in 1946; The Open Church Foundation at Gloucester in 1947; Gravity Research Foundation, New Boston, New Hampshire, 1948.

His autobiography, Actions and Reactions, reveals that he was a deeply sensitive man. He described in a tender manner the last time he saw his younger sister, Edith Low, before her death [from accidental drowning at age 13]. She had given him all her savings ($2.00) as he was leaving for the World's Fair in Chicago and had said she loved him. He wrote,

"I shall never forget that morning. It is things like this ... which really influence our lives ... I have learned that the world is not ruled by figures, but by feelings ... The greatest force is love and the greatest asset is friendship."

The Babson Ancestry

Representing the tenth generation of Babsons to live in Gloucester, Massachusetts, Roger Babson valued his heritage. He researched his ancestors, investigating their personalities, professions, and lifestyles. Beginning with Isabel Babson, who came to Massachusetts from England in 1637, Roger Babson discovered a lineage of farmers, merchants, midwives, religious preachers, and sea captains. Believing that personality traits were hereditary, he continually looked for opportunities to foster and benefit from his ancestors' individual attributes.


Babson was interested in the history of an abandoned settlement in Gloucester known as Dogtown. To provide charitable assistance to unemployed stonecutters in Gloucester during the Great Depression, Babson commissioned them to carve inspirational inscriptions on approximately two dozen boulders in the area surrounding Dogtown Common. The Babson Boulder Trail exists today as a well-known hiking and mountain-biking trail. The inscriptions are clearly visible. The boulders are scattered, not all are on the trail, and not all of the inscriptions face it, making finding them something of a challenge. Samples of some of the two dozen inscriptions include: "HELP MOTHER", "SPIRITUAL POWER", "GET A JOB", "KEEP OUT OF DEBT", and "LOYALTY".


  1. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 (doc attached)
  2. The Bridgeport Post, March 3, 1967. "Roger W. Babson Dies in Florida" (doc attached)
  3. Descendants of Thomas and Isabel Babson for Ten Generations
  4. Find A Grave Memorial# 97662536
  5. The Babson Genealogy, 1606-1997, by Ann Theopold Chaplin, CG, published 1997
  6. Babson College, "Ancestry Outline" (1980). About Roger W. Babson. Paper 1. Ancestry includes - father's side: John "the martyr" Rogers; John Rogers, president of Harvard; John Howland, Mayflower passenger (via Gorham); Gorham P. Low, sea captain; Isabel Babson, first immigrant to America (midwife & nurse).  Mother's side: Israel Putnam, American Rev War; Rev. John Wise, Colonial Statesman 


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Roger W. Babson's Timeline

July 6, 1875
Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts, United States
December 6, 1903
Age 28
Hadley Falls, Hampshire, MA, USA
March 5, 1967
Age 91
Lake Wales, Polk, Florida, United States
Age 91
Wellesley, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States