Thomas Dudley Cabot

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Thomas Dudley Cabot
Born May 1, 1897
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.[1]
Died June 8, 1995 (age 98)
Weston, Massachusetts, U.S.[2]
Education Buckingham Browne & Nichols (1913)
Harvard University (S.B. Engineering, 1919)
Occupation Businessman, philanthropist
Spouse(s) Virginia Wellington Cabot (m. 1920-his death in 1995)
Children Louis Wellington Cabot[1]
Thomas Dudley Cabot Jr.
Robert Moors Cabot
Edmund Billings Cabot
Linda Cabot Black[3]
Parent(s) Godfrey Lowell Cabot
Maria Moors Cabot

Thomas Dudley Cabot (May 1, 1897[1] – June 8, 1995[4]) was an American businessman and philanthropist. He also became U.S. Department of State's Director of Office of International Security Affairs.[5]

Early life[edit]

Cabot was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His father was Godfrey Lowell Cabot,[1] founder of Cabot Corporation[6] and a philanthropist. His mother was Maria Moors Cabot.[1] Cabot was named after Thomas Dudley, governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony who signed the charter creating Harvard College.[7] Two of his siblings were John Moors Cabot[2] (b. 1901), U.S. Ambassador to Sweden, Colombia, Brazil, and Poland during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administration,[8] and Eleanor Cabot of the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate.[9]

Cabot graduated from Buckingham Browne & Nichols in 1913.[10] He took some courses at Boston Tech (now known as Massachusetts Institute of Technology)[1] and Curtiss Flying School,[11] becoming a World War I flight instructor at Kelly Field in the U.S. Army Signal Corps,[4] before graduating cum laude from Harvard University with a S.B. in Engineering, in 1919.[1]


Upon graduation, Cabot started working for Cabot Corporation,[1] founded by his father. He served as CEO of Cabot Corporation from 1922 to 1960, when he relinquished active control of the company,[2] and went to his Boston office as Director Emeritus on a regular basis until his death.[1]

Cabot was also a longtime director of United Fruit Company, and became its president in 1948 in hopes of reformation, but resigned in 1949.[2] His brother John Moors Cabot was a major shareholder of United Fruit,[12] as was another family member, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.,[13] who also served as a director of United Fruit.[14]

In 1951, Cabot served as U.S. Department of State's Director of Office of International Security Affairs during the Truman administration,[1] where he spoke for the State Department on NATO affairs, was in charge of a U.S. program arming allies throughout the world,[5] and supervised the disbursement of $6 billion in foreign economic and military aid.[2] In 1953, he also served as consultant on a special development mission in Egypt.[5]

In 1960, a Central Intelligence Agency cover[15] called Gibraltar Steamship Company (which didn't own any steamships and whose president was Cabot)[16][17] owned and established Radio Swan on Swan Island, a covert black operation[16] to win supporters for U.S. policies and discredit Fidel Castro.

Cabot,[18] his brother John Moors Cabot,[citation needed] another family member Henry Cabot Lodge Jr.,[19] and Cabot's son, Louis Wellington Cabot,[18] were all Council on Foreign Relations members inducted in 1992.

Philanthropic work[edit]

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.[4] In 1985, Harvard's Cabot House was named in honor of Cabot and his wife.[20] The Cabot Science Complex is also named in their honor.[4]


  • 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[edit]

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,[2] and had five children: Louis Wellington Cabot, businessman, philanthropist, former Chairman of Federal Reserve Bank of Boston,[21] Thomas Dudley Cabot Jr.,[1] Robert Moors Cabot,[1] Dr. Edmund Billings Cabot,[1] Andover star and retired surgeon,[22][23] and Linda Cabot Black, cofounder of Opera Company of Boston and Opera New England.[3] in his 80's he lost the sight of an eye in a cross-country skiing accident, but he retained his enthusiasm for the active life. He and his wife, who celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary were tramping the mountains of Colorado. They also had 29 grandchildren, and 23 great-grandchildren. Virginia Cabot died in 1997 at Phillips House in Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She was 97.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Senior trustee, Thomas D. Cabot, dies at 98". MIT News. June 21, 1995. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Thomas Cabot, 98, Capitalist And Philanthropist, Is Dead". New York Times. June 10, 1995. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Linda Black Is Married". New York Times. January 29, 1989. Retrieved July 30, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Former Overseer, HAA Head Cabot Dies at 98". Harvard Crimson. June 24, 1995. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c McKinzie, Richard D. (June 6, 1975). "Oral History Interview with Thomas D. Cabot: Director, Office of International Security Affairs, Department of State, 1951; consultant, Special Mission to Egypt, 1953.". Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved September 19, 2011. 
  6. ^ "The History of Cabot Corporation". Cabot Corporation. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Dudley House History". Harvard College, Dudley House Undergraduate Office. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  8. ^ "The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum Finding Aids: C". Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. Retrieved July 28, 2011. 
  9. ^ Town & Country, Volumes 75-76. Town & Country. February 20, 1919. Retrieved July 28, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Giving Programs: Endowment & Spendable Funds". Buckingham Browne & Nichols. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  11. ^ Losos, Carol (April 25, 1985). "Cabot '19 Recalls Free Flying Days". Harvard Crimson. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  12. ^ Goldsmith, John. "Course on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Chapter 3: Intelligence Community to 1963, Vietnam" (PDF). University of Chicago. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Silencio de Neto, El (1994)" (PDF). South Puget Sound Community College. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
  14. ^ Mitchell, Brian. "No. 879: G8 AND LIVE8 - GLOBAL POWER AND POLITICAL NAIVETY". University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
  15. ^ "HONDURAS: Swans, Spooks and Boobies". TIME Magazine. December 6, 1961. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Kneitel, Tom (November 1985). "Inside the CIA's Secret Radio Paradise: Part I" (PDF). Popular Communications. Retrieved September 18, 2011. 
  17. ^ Schoultz, Lars (2009). That Infernal Little Cuban Republic: The United States and The Cuban Revolution. University of North Carolina Press. Retrieved September 18, 2011.  Pg. 608
  18. ^ a b "Council on Foreign Relations Membership List (A-E)". Retrieved October 8, 2011. 
  19. ^ "Council on Foreign Relations Membership List (L-R)". Retrieved October 8, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Cabot House History". Cabot House. Retrieved July 26, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Mabel Brandon and Louis Cabot". New York Times. June 1, 1997. Retrieved July 30, 2011. 
  22. ^ "Andover Class of 1961 Edmund Billings Cabot's Formal Portrait". NOBLE Digital Heritage. Retrieved July 30, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Board of Directors: EDMUND B. CABOT, MD, FACS". Sailors for the Sea. Retrieved July 30, 2011.