Walter Vrooman was born at Macon, Missouri, January 8,
1869, one of the six sons of Judge H. P. Vrooman. When Walter
was five years of age the family moved to Topeka, Kas., where he
attended the public schools. At thirteen he ran away from home
and traveled extensively over the Western States, keeping up his
studies, however, so that he entered Harvard University in 1888.
In 1895 he married Mary L. Grafflin, of
Baltimore, Md., and came to settle in Missouri.
In 1898 he went to England, remaining there
two year, and founding Ruskin Hall in Oxford.
He returned to Missouri, selected Trenton as
the point to establish Ruskin College, the American counterpart of the
English institution; and in Trenton organized the first stores of the
Western Cooperative Association.
1902 saw the headquarters of the movement in
Kansas City, whence the branches were organized in the various
States. In 1902, also, he presented and expounded his Purposive
Philosophy, an application of the thought-power of the past to the
conditions of the present, and the evolution of the race. In a
series of free lectures in Athenaeum Hall he explained the social
standpoint, a new system of ethics, whereby the determination of right
and wrong is dependent on the promotion or hindrance of the attainment
of the Hierarchy of Life for this planet.