Thomas Watson, Jr.

Thomas Watson, Jr.

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Thomas Watson, Jr.

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Thomas John Watson, Jr. (January 14, 1914 December 31, 1993) was an American businessman, political figure, and philanthropist. He was the 2nd president of IBM (1952-1971), the 11th national president of the Boy Scouts of America (1964-1968), and the 16th United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union (1979-1981). He received many honors during his lifetime, including being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. Watson was called "the greatest capitalist in history" and one of "100 most influential people of the 20th century".

Early life

Thomas Watson, Jr. was born on January 14, 1914 just before his father was dismissed from his job at NCR. Then two sisters were born, Jane and Helen, before the youngest child, Arthur Kittredge Watson, was born.

Both sons were immersed in IBM from a very early age. He was taken on plant inspections — his first memory of such a visit (to the Dayton, Ohio factory) was at the age of five — business tours to Europe and he made appearances at IBM Hundred Per Cent Club meetings (annual gatherings for the company's elite sales representatives), even before he was old enough to attend school.

At home his father's discipline was erratic and often harsh. Around the time he was thirteen, Tom Jr. suffered for six years with what might now be called clinical depression.

Talking to a reporter in 1974, Watson, Jr....
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