Anne C. Wyman

Born: Wed., Nov. 6, 1929
Died: Sat., Jul. 26, 2014

Funeral Service

3:00 PM Sat., Oct. 04, 2014
Location: Story Chapel at Mount Auburn Cemetery

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Music by The Piano Brothers

Anne Cabot Wyman entered into rest on Saturday, July 26 at her residence in Cambridge, MA. She was the daughter of the late Jeffries Wyman and Anne Cabot. Loving sister of Jeffries Wyman, Jr., of West Barnstable, MA. Also survived by many cousins.

Friends and family are invited to join in a celebration of life on Saturday, October 4 at 3 p.m. in the Story Chapel at Mount Auburn Cemetery, 580 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge.  A reception will follow at the Bigelow Chapel lawn adjacent to Story Chapel.  Parking is available on the lanes near both Chapels.

Donations in her memory can be made to Dementia Research at McLean Hospital. Anne Cabot Wyman Fund for Dementia Research, McLean Hospital Development Office, c/o J.W. Steeves, 114 Mill Street, Mailstop 126, Belmont, MA 02478  

When Anne Wyman became the Globe’s first full-time travel writer in the mid-1960s, advertisements stuffed the section, and the little space left was taken up with rewritten press releases, freelance submissions, and wire service articles that often as not promoted cheery trips on cruise ships.

Possessed by a wanderlust she had inherited from her father, a globe-wandering scientist, Ms. Wyman recreated the travel section. Charting an adventurous itinerary, she went bird-watching in Iceland, fished in the chilly Atlantic off New Brunswick, took notes on pipe preparations in a Singapore opium den, and strolled through Soviet-era Leningrad in 1969 when “behind the hotel desk the cashier uses an abacus. You see them everywhere, even beside modern cash registers.”

She brought the same intensity to editorial writing when she joined the Globe’s editorial board in 1970 and five years later became the first woman appointed to be editor of the editorial pages. Editorials she wrote were part of the paper’s coverage of school desegregation in Boston that earned the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for public service in 1975. Her heart, though, may have always remained at a far remove from the safety of any office.

“If you get invited to go for a ride with the Navy’s Blue Angels, don’t wear spike heels, or at least don’t take them off in flight,” she wrote in 1964 to begin an article about traveling at 700-miles per hour, soaring high enough to achieve weightlessness. “This reporter did and had the shock of seeing her black calf pumps floating around in the cockpit 10,000 feet over Boston Harbor.”

Ms. Wyman, a licensed pilot who was as eager to fly planes as she was to hike in Wyoming’s wilderness, died Saturday of complications from dementia. She was 84 and had lived in Cambridge for many years.

“As a woman journalist she was a trailblazer and a role model for other women, and for men as well,” said Al Larkin, a former executive vice president of the Globe who was an editor on the city desk during school desegregation.

“As editor of the editorial page, she held the Globe on course during very difficult times in the face of blistering opposition, most notably during school desegregation,” Larkin said. “She was tough when she needed to be, but she was also a smart, charming, and talented journalist and friend.”

During her career, and afterward when she volunteered to help teach students in the Cambridge public schools, Ms. Wyman also “did many, many kind things for people without seeking acknowledgment,” said Gloria Negri, a retired Globe reporter who was a friend and colleague for many years. “She never spoke about these things and people just found out about them. Her generosity was boundless. She was an amazing lady.”

Ms. Wyman could be just as generous sharing her knowledge and experience when new colleagues joined the Globe staff.

“She was my first boss,” said Helen Donovan, a former executive editor of the Globe. Working with Ms. Wyman “was an absolute and utter immersion in what Boston was all about, what the Globe was all about, what the city’s politics were all about. What really stands out to me was how seriously she took the mission of the paper and considered it a high civic calling. It was so impressive to see someone with that commitment to journalism.”

Anne Cabot Wyman was born in Brookline on Nov. 6, 1929. Her mother, the former Anne M. Cabot, was from the “clan of the Cabots, Forbeses, and Paines,” Ms. Wyman wrote in her 2010 book “Kipling’s Cat: A Memoir of My Father.”

“We lived with the legacy of ancestors who had known each other in Boston’s small Brahmin world, a world of so-called ‘bluebloods,’ ” she wrote.

Her father, Jeffries Wyman, was a scientist and a Harvard professor.

She was 13 when her mother died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In the book about her father, which inevitably contained much autobiographical material, Ms. Wyman wrote: “I wish I could hear Mother’s voice and the sound of her laugh. . . . I wonder whether she would be proud or indifferent about my own life. I miss her and wonder if she misses me.”

After her mother’s death, her father traveled the world for research. Ms. Wyman, who had attended Beaver Country Day School in Brookline and the Winsor School in Boston, lived with an aunt and uncle before graduating from the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pa., in 1948. “Anne wanted more recognition from her father than she got,” said her younger brother, Jeffries, of Barnstable, and that longing is apparent in Ms. Wyman’s book, which chronicles her father’s travels and his later life in Rome and Paris.

Ms. Wyman attended McGill University in Montreal for a couple of years before finishing her bachelor’s degree at Radcliffe College in 1953. She began her career working for Houghton Mifflin in Boston and at publishing houses in London and New York City.

In 1959, while sharing an apartment with a friend in Harvard Square, she landed a job with the Globe, where she stayed for 31 years, buying a house in Cambridge in 1968.

At the Globe, she spent two years in the promotion department and four years as a general assignment and suburban reporter before becoming the first travel writer. Even as a young reporter she had a gift for an arresting lead, such as when she began a 1961 story about a junior high school baby-sitters’ class: “Is walloping a small-sized human monster okay?”

Beginning in 1965, during five years as the Globe’s travel writer, she visited 41 countries, 18 states, and numerous Caribbean islands. Few details escaped her gaze and she never left a good quote behind.

“My first trip for the Globe was to Guatemala, where I spent a Thanksgiving walking in the hills past Indians on their way to market and where I learned that the best guides are fearless small boys who speak the language, will go anywhere, and know the way home,” she recalled in “Kipling’s Cat.”

In August 1967, she wrote that in Fairbanks, Alaska, “the main drag is Second Avenue, where the bars are still struggling to outnumber the town’s 48 churches. ‘Fairbanks is the last territory for unspoiled heathens,’ explains one resident.” A couple of weeks later she was in more refined Newport, R.I., where participants in that year’s America’s Cup yacht race “pass fantasy mansions built in a turn-of-the-century Edwardian heyday when no excess was considered bad taste.”

Ms. Wyman “was a transformative figure” for the Globe’s travel section, said William A. Davis, who succeeded her in the job and has since retired from the paper.

“She really gave you some sense of what it would be like to be hiking the Rockies in December,” he said. “She was very well read and had a good prose style, very detailed and evocative of where she’d been.”

A service will be held at a later date for Ms. Wyman, whose brother is her only immediate survivor.

“I found that Anne was very impulsive and always good fun,” her brother said.

During her tenure as editor of the editorial pages, a series of editorials on energy policy was a Pulitzer finalist in 1980. But some of her most enduring writing was for the travel section, including from that first trip to Guatemala in 1965, when advertisers might have preferred she file dispatches from a cruise ship deck.

“You shiver under the tin shower, fed from a tank on the roof,” she wrote. “If a leaf or caterpillar has fallen into the pipe, the cold water will come through three drops at a time, but the wetness is welcome anyhow. And you sleep under blankets, dreaming of the chink of stone as Indians carve their hieroglyphs for posterity, and of priests climbing temples into the sky.”

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Mariann Appley
   Posted Fri September 19, 2014
Anne Wyman was a tremendous person. I knew her quite well, working with her when I served as Treasurer for the "Cambridge Plant and Garden Club". She will be well remembered and truly missed by me and by many.

Image: Tina Phillips /

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