Waldo David Frank (1889-1967), American novelist, travel writer and essayist, a pupil of F. M. Alexander, and who was first married to Margaret Naumburg and later Alma Frank.
Waldo Frank grew up in New York City, attended a college preparatory boarding school in Switzerland, earned a bachelor’s degree at Yale University, and then a Masters degree in 1911. He worked briefly for the New York Times, and spent a year in Paris 1913-14. In 1916 he became associate editor of The Seven Arts, an influential journal although it only ran for twelve issues. His first novel was in 1917 (The Unwelcome Man), followed by several other novels in the period 1920-24, all influenced by Freud, Marx, Eastern mysticism and transcendentalism; fundamentally he believed in salvation through a wholeness with the universe. However, he was disappointed with the lack of critical attention, and turned to writing cultural studies and to left-wing politics. His books Virgin Spain (1926) and The Rediscovery of America (1929) were successful, especially in South America. His lecture tour in South America in 1942 was followed by South American Journey (1943) and a book on Simon Bolivar (Birth of a World, 1951). He published more than 25 books. However, by his death in 1967 he was largely a forgotten writer, except for South America where his books were still read. 
He was married (1916-1924) to Margaret Naumburg and Alma Magoon (1927-?). Margaret Naumburg was a pupil of F. M. Alexander who introduced Alexander to John Dewey and who ran a progressive child-centred school (the ‘Children’s School’ later renamed the Walden School) where Irene Takser worked for one year. Alma Frank trained as a teacher with F. M. Alexander 1937-40. One of Alma’s daughters, Deborah Caplan, became a teacher of the Technique.
Waldo Frank mentions Alexander in The Rediscovery of Man (1958):
F. Matthias Alexander has shown that there is a norm of correct posture, of correct use of the body, and that the man who has formed habits of poor posture cannot stand straight simply by giving himself orders to stand straight. His body has long associated ‘straightness’ with a concatenation of muscle and nerve tensions which makes it stand crooked; the more desperately it strives for straightness, the worse becomes its posture, which only when wrong feels itself right. This fact may be analogically transposed to the ‘posture’ of the self and of groups of selves.
Waldo Frank’s Memoirs (1973) does not mention F. M. Alexander, and there are only very scant references to his wives, Margaret Naumburg and Alma Frank. He did, however, financially support Alma Frank in going to London to train with Alexander, and existing private letters discuss some of the financial difficulties in paying the teachers training course fees.
The Introduction by Lewis Mumford (also a pupil of F. M. Alexander) to Memoirs of Waldo Frank observes of Waldo Frank:
But despite Frank’s critique of empiral rationalism, he pinned too much of his hopes for personal improvement on new techniques for achieving ‘wholeness,’ especially that based more or less on the therapeutic exercises of Matthias Alexander which had attracted John Dewey. Though the book in which he elaborates this prescription, The Rediscovery of Man, has like the ealier Rediscovery of America many pregnant passages in it, this mode of ‘salvation by posture’ proved on his own pathetic confession an imposture, for it had not operated successfully in his own life.
Fig. 1. Waldo Frank (Photo source: Wikimedia Commons.)
Waldo David Frank *25 August 1889 – †9 January 1967.