Thomas Dudley Cabot

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Thomas Dudley Cabot

Death: Died
Immediate Family:

Son of Godfrey Lowell Cabot and Maria Cabot
Husband of Virginia Cabot
Father of Linda Cabot Black
Brother of John Moors Cabot, U.S. Ambassador

Managed by: Private User
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About Thomas Dudley Cabot

Thomas Dudley Cabot (May 1, 1897- June 8, 1995) was an American businessman and philanthropist. He also became U.S. Department of State's Director of Office of International Security Affairs.

Early life

Cabot was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His father was Godfrey Lowell Cabot, founder of Cabot Corporation and a philanthropist. His mother was Maria Moors Cabot. Cabot was named after Thomas Dudley, governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony who signed the charter creating Harvard College. He had two siblings: John Moors Cabot (b. 1901), U.S. Ambassador to Sweden, Colombia, Brazil, and Poland during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administration, and Eleanor Cabot of the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate.

Cabot graduated from Buckingham Browne & Nichols in 1913. He took some courses at Boston Tech (now known as Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Curtiss Flying School, becoming a World War I flight instructor at Kelly Field in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, before graduating cum laude from Harvard University with a S.B. in Engineering, in 1919.


Upon graduation, Cabot started working for Cabot Corporation, founded by his father. He served as CEO of Cabot Corporation from 1922 to 1960, when he relinquished active control of the company, and went to his Boston office as Director Emeritus on a regular basis until his death.

Cabot was also a long time director of United Fruit Company, and became its president in 1948 in hopes of reformation, but resigned in 1949. His brother John Moors Cabot was a major shareholder of United Fruit, as was another family member, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., who also served as a director of United Fruit.

In 1951, Cabot served as U.S. Department of State's Director of Office of International Security Affairs during the Truman administration, where he spoke for the State Department on NATO affairs, was in charge of a U.S. program arming allies throughout the world, and supervised the disbursement of $6 billion in foreign economic and military aid. In 1953, he also served as consultant on a special development mission in Egypt.

In 1960, a Central Intelligence Agency cover called Gibraltar Steamship Company (which didn't own any steamships and whose president was Cabot) owned and established Radio Swan on Swan Island, a covert black operation to win supporters for U.S. policies and discredit Fidel Castro.

Cabot, his brother John Moors Cabot, another family member Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., and Cabot's son, Louis Wellington Cabot, were all Council on Foreign Relations members inducted in 1992.

Philanthropic work

Cabot also served on the Harvard Board of Overseers, was a Director of the Harvard Alumni Association and significant benefactor of the university, and recipient of a Harvard Medal and honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1970. In 1985, Harvard's Cabot House was named in honor of Cabot and his wife. The Cabot Science Complex is also named in their honor.


Quick-Water and Smooth: A Canoeist's Guide to New England Rivers, 1935
Beggar on Horseback: The Autobiography of Thomas D. Cabot, 1979
Avelinda: The Legacy of a Yankee Yachtsman, 1991

Personal life

Cabot was married to Virginia Wellington Cabot for 75 years, from 1920 to his death in 1995. They resided in Weston, Massachusetts for seventy-five years, and had five children: Louis Wellington Cabot, businessman, philanthropist, former Chairman of Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Thomas Dudley Cabot Jr., Robert Moors Cabot, Dr. Edmund Billings Cabot, Andover star and retired surgeon, and Linda Cabot Black, cofounder of Opera Company of Boston and Opera New England.

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