Alfred Lawson


Alfred Lawson : biography

March 24, 1869 – November 29, 1954

He later propounded his own philosophy—Lawsonomy—and the Lawsonian religion. He also developed, during the Great Depression, the populist economic theory of “Direct Credits”, according to which banks are the cause of all economic woe, the oppressors of both capital and labour. Lawson believed that the government should replace banks as the provider of loans to business and workers. His rallies and lectures attracted thousands of listeners in the early 30s, mainly in the upper Midwest, but by the late 30s, the crowds had dwindled.

In 1943, he founded the University of Lawsonomy in Des Moines to spread his teachings and offer the degree of “Knowledgian,” but after various IRS and other investigations, it was closed and finally sold in 1954, the year of Lawson’s death. Lawson’s financial arrangements remain mysterious to this day, and in later years he seems to have owned little property, moving from city to city as a guest of his farflung acolytes. In 1952, he was brought before a United States Senate investigative committee on allegations that his organization had bought war surplus machines and then sold them for a profit, despite claiming non-profit status. His attempt to explain Lawsonomy to the Senators ended in mutual frustration and bafflement,.Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, p. 77

Martin Gardner devoted an entire chapter of Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science to Lawsonomy.

A farm near Racine, Wisconsin, is the only remaining university facility, although a tiny handful of churches may yet survive in places such as Wichita, Kansas. The large sign, formerly reading “University of Lawsonomy”, was a familiar landmark for motorists in the region for many years and was visible from I-94 about 13 miles north of the Illinois state line, on the east side of the highway. Although the sign still exists, the “of” has now been replaced by the URL of their website. As of a storm in spring 2009, the sign is no longer there although the supporting posts are still visible. Driving north on I-94 a sign on the roof of the building nearest the freeway says “Study Natural Law.”

Baseball career (1888-1907)

He made one start for the Boston Beaneaters and two for the Pittsburgh Alleghenys during the 1890 season. His minor league playing career lasted through 1895. He later managed in the minors from 1905-1907.

Union Professional League

In 1908 he started a new professional baseball league known as the Union Professional League. The league took the field in April but folded one month later due to financial difficulties.



Lawson’s brother, George H. Lawson, founded the United States League in 1910. The new professional baseball league had the intent to racially integrate. The league lasted less than a season, but it was revived for one season by George Lawson’s associates in 1912.