Roger W. Babson was born July 6, 1875, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the son of a leading dry goods merchant of the city. Born before the appearance of such modern conveniences as electricity, indoor plumbing, or automobiles, and growing up in a respectable, devout middle-class family, Roger early learned the traditional New England virtues of hardiness, self-reliance, Christian faith and hard work. He attended public schools in Gloucester and was an adequate if not outstanding student; he was a leader among his boyhood friends; he became a born-again Christian at the age of 15; and he learned important lessons about work, business, and success from his father and from boyhood chores and summer jobs. By the time he graduated from high school he had tried his hand at raising and selling vegetables, selling and installing doorbells, bookkeeping, and bill-collecting. He attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning a degree in civil engineering in 1898, training he put to work on summer jobs in highway construction. In consultation with his father, Roger Babson decided upon a career in investment banking, working in that field for several years after his graduation. But in the fall of 1901 at the age of 26, little more than a year after marrying his boyhood acquaintance, Grace Knight, Roger contracted a serious illness which tested him severely and marked a major transition in his life.