A 2016 inductee to the Haverhill Citizens Hall of Fame
Cole was born Nov. 21, 1889 in Haverhill. He attended Governor Dummer Academy and graduated from Bowdoin College with a bachelor’s degree. He received his master’s and PhD in economics from Harvard University. He tutored and taught economics at Harvard after completing his dissertation and eventually rose to associate professor.
Cole worked in the U.S. War Department and the U.S. Tariff Commission from 1917 o 1920. In 1933, he became professor of Business Economics at Harvard Business School. At Baker Library, Cole’s pioneering efforts in collecting and preserving historically significant business records led to the accumulation o one of the fines collections on the subject in the world. He remained an integral part of the scholarly community as managing editor of the Review of Economic Statistics, chairman of Inter-University Research Commission on Economic History, associate editor of the Journal of Economic History, and executive director, Research Center in Entrepreneurial History. He retired to emeritus status from Harvard Business School in 1956.
Cole married the former Anne Steckel of Pennsylvania on August 5, 1913 and they had two children: Barbara and Jonathan. He died Nov. 10, 1974.