Vanguard Founder John C. Bogle, Verona Native

By on January 17, 2019

John C. Bogle, who changed the way most Americans invest in the stock market, passed away yesterday in Pennsylvania. The published obituaries for the founder of the Vanguard Group of Investment Companies put his place of birth as Montclair. That is where the hospitals were in 1929, but thanks to some sleuthing by Richard Wertz, a Verona resident who followed a career on Wall Street with a career teaching computer science at Verona High School, we can tell you that Bogle actually grew up in Verona.

Wertz sent us a screenshot of the opening page of Bogle’s 1996 authorized biography, John Bogle and the Vanguard Experiment: One Man’s Quest to Transform the Mutual Fund Industry, Bogle’s family “lived a well-to-do existence in a spacious home in Verona, New Jersey”. He also sent an image from the 1940 Census, which has the address of that abode as 12 Sunset Avenue, a Verona address that no longer exists. Judging by the addresses on Sunset, it was at the corner of that street and Bloomfield Avenue, across from Spectrum 360, the school that was previously called the Children’s Institute. Bogle, his parents, older brother and twin brother are all listed in the Census.

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Bogle’s grandfather was a successful businessman who had founded American Can Company, a business that was one of the largest in America during Bogle’s childhood. But the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed wiped out Bogle’s father’s inheritance. Bogle’s biography says he and his brothers did what they could to make ends meet, even though they were children, but eventually the family was forced to sell their Verona home and move to Manasquan.

“Like many Americans who drew lessons from the Depression,” the biography states, “Bogle had plenty of reasons to avoid recklessness with money, to resist get-rich-quick offers, and to protect whatever money he had saved.”

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You can read the full New York Times obituary for Bogle here.

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