Robert Goddard in Space Suit

Goddard was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, to Nahum Danford Goddard (1859–1928) and Fannie Louise Hoyt (1864–1920). Robert was their only child to survive; a younger son, Richard Henry, was born with a spinal deformity and died before his first birthday. Nahum was employed by manufacturers, and he invented several useful tools. Goddard’s family had roots in New England dating to the late 1600s. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to Boston. With a curiosity about nature, he studied the heavens using a telescope from his father and observed the birds flying. Essentially a country boy, he loved the outdoors and hiking with his father on trips to Worcester and became an excellent marksman with a rifle. :63,64 In 1898, his mother contracted tuberculosis and they moved back to Worcester for the clear air. On Sundays, the family attended the Episcopal church, and Robert sang in the choir. :16