Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Root, Waverly L., 1903-82
Waverly Root (1903-82), A1941, a member of the class of 1924, was a noted journalist and food essayist.
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, on April 15, 1903, Root spent his formative years in Fall River, Massachusetts. He graduated from Durfee High School and entered Tufts College with an interest in English and journalism. First published in a local newspaper at the tender age of thirteen, Root was prepared for a lifetime of writing. Though he left Tufts with only three credit hours remaining, Root turned to what he termed "unskilled labor" and began a long and storied career in journalism. His first post, with the Chicago Tribune, brought him to Paris where he spent the majority of his adult life. At the Tribune his co-workers included such luminaries as Henry Miller and James Thurber. His correspondence abroad, including the last American radio broadcast from France to the U.S. before World War II, earned him the respectful title 'dean' of American international journalists."The Truth About Wagner," published in 1928 and "The Secret History of the War" in 1945 and 1946, his first books, reveal his wide variety of interests.
In 1941 Tufts granted Root his degree extra ordinem in recognition of his achievements. Furthermore, he received citations for work in the fields of music and international journalism. Yet his next book, in a different field altogether, would be his most popular."The Food of France," his foray into gastronomy, ended his thirty year career in international journalism."The Food" was published in 1958, has yet to go out of print, and cast Waverly Root as a cooking connoisseur. It was a title he bore successfully, publishing several other books in the field and writing numerous newspaper columns. Regrettably, his attempt to enter the field of fiction with the unsuccessful novel "X-Ray Eyes" forever convinced Root to restrict his professional endeavors.
While a student at Tufts, Root competed with the track and tennis teams, was a member of the band and the mandolin club, played the piano and edited the Tufts Weekly. In his professional life he was president of the Anglo-American Press Association of Paris, vice-president of the Overseas Press Club, and an officer in the Legion of Honor. His first marriage to Jeanne Rose Albinelli in July 1937 produced his only daughter, Diane Lane Root, and his second marriage to Colette Debenais in 1959 lasted until his death. Waverly Root had followed his father, Francis Solomon Root E1900, his mother Florence May Lewis W1899, and his aunt Martha Wonson W1898, to Tufts College. His younger sister Winifred Florence Root J1926 entered Tufts shortly after her brother.
Waverly Root published his final book "Food" in 1981, and died of a pulmonary ailment in Paris on October 31 of the following year. He was seventy-nine years old.
Sources: WR #1; VF