Prof. Harold Freeman of economics dies at 88


Harold A. Freeman, professor emeritus of statistics in the Department of Economics, died at home in Andover at the age of 88. He was a graduate of MIT (SB '31) and spent most of his academic career at the Institute.

Born in Wilkes-Barre, PA, Professor Freeman majored in mathematics at MIT and was an instructor in economics before studying at Har-vard University from 1936-38. He returned to MIT as an assistant professor in 1939, winning promotion to associate professor in 1944 and full professor in 1950. He retired from that post in 1976 but continued as a senior lecturer for 14 years.

Professor Freeman was a member of the Statistical Research Group assembled at Columbia University during World War II to devise methods of sampling inspection and quality control for use in wartime industry. He was co-author of several important books to emerge from that work, notably Sequential Analysis of Statistical Data: Applications (1945) and Sampling Inspection (1948). He produced two other statistical books during his MIT career; after retiring, he wrote books of social criticism, including Towards Socialism in America (1982).

Professor Freeman served as a consultant to the US Army and governmental agencies including the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as the Royal Statistical Society, the American Statistical Association (of which he also served as vice president) and the American Society for Quality Control.

He leaves his long-time companion Kathleen Adams; two sons, Arthur of London and Edward of California; and his former wife, Margaret of Belmont. A memorial service will be held at MIT at a date to be announced.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 26, 1997.


Topics: Obituaries

Back to the top