Biography of William J. LaVarre, Jr., 1898-1991

Families Across Time

William J. LaVarre

W.J. LaVarre was the oldest son of Wm. John (Johanne) LaVarre (22 Nov 1876-28 Dec 1945)and Leilia Goddin Haynes (18 Sep 1875-Apr 1956) Born 14 Aug 1898 in Virginia, W.J. lived in Washington D.C. and New York City, depending on where his father's work took the family. In 1910, they were living at 3777 Oliver Street in Washington.

William was educated at Townsend Harris Hall in New York, and then attended Columbia University and Harvard College. William became a traveler, explorer and author. In the 1920s, he traveled to the British Guiana bush country and was employed as a collector of specimens for American Scientific Institutions.

A Who's Who notation mentions a 1923 marriage to Sylvia Doutney of Burlington, Vermont. This wasn't known to our family but it has now been verified. They had one daughter.

On 27 Jul 1927, William married Alice Lucille Elliott, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Elliott of Brooklyn, New York. On January 24, 1930, they had a daughter Yvette who, according to the New York Times, was named for her paternal great-great-grandmother.

At age 31, he became the owner and editor of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal in South Carolina. He served as President of the Piedmont Press Association.

He authored Up the Mazaruni. 1918,The Amazing Adventures of Johnny-Round-the-World. 1935, Gold, Diamonds, and Orchids. 1939, Southward, Ho! 1941, The 114 Markets of South America. 1941-1943
In the 1940s, he served as Chief of the American Republics Units in the U.S. State Department. 1944 and as Director of the Foreign Service Council. In the late 1950s, he was a consultant to the Economic Cooperation Administration.

Who's Who in America: A biographical dictionary of notable living men and women of the United States, Vol. 13 1924-1925, (Albert Nelson Marquis, ed.); Chicago: A.N. Marquis & Company.

LA VARRE, William J(ohanne), Jr., author, explorer; b. Richmond, VA., Aug. 4, 1898; s. William J. and Lelia (Haynes) LaV; spl. student, Harvard; m. Sylvia Doutney, of Burlington, Vt., May 8, 1923. Leader several expedns. into S. America on economic research; discovered and promoted development of diamond fields of British Guiana; an authority on Brazilian rubber and British Guiana diamonds. Episcopalian. Club: Explorers' (New York). Author: Up the Mazaruni for Diamonds, 1918. Contbr. to mags. on travel and adventure. Lecturer. Home: Riverside, Connecticut.