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1953 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Thomas J. Watson*

Chairman of the Board
International Business Machines

"I attribute my success to the opportunities my country afforded me."

Thomas Watson was born in Campbell, New York, in 1874. He had many jobs in his early adult years, including teacher, accountant, and salesman. As a young adult, he became a successful salesman for the National Cash Register Company. He worked there for 18 years, rising to general sales manager. In the spring of 1914, he was chosen to head the Computing-Tabulating Recording Company, which evolved into the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM). When he became president of the company, it had fewer than 400 employees. Under his inspired leadership, IBM owned or leased more than 90 percent of the tabulating machines in the United States. Watson oversaw IBM's growth into an international force from the 1920s to the 1950s. He later served as president of the International Chamber of Commerce.

* Deceased