Ralph E. Root
18-Jul-1879, MO


RALPH EUGENE ROOT, born 18-Jul-1879 in Trenton, Grundy County, MO;
son of Lewis F. ROOT born 1852 & Sarah E. POLLOCK born 1854;
died 23-Sep-1961 in Franklin, NH, near his summer home in Sanbornton, NH;
buried 28-Sep-1961 in Glen Haven Cemetery, Glen Burnie, MD.

RedArrow  Biographical & Historical Notes
RedArrow  Obituary Notice

Married 28-Dec-1904 in Bunker Hill, IA, to Mary Keziah BATCHELLER;
born 10-Jan-1880 in Finchford, IA, near Cedar Falls;
daughter of Alexander F. BATCHELLER born 1847 & Mary C. BALLOU born 1847;
died 10-Oct-1966 in Lexington, MA;
buried with her husband in Glen Haven Cemetery, Glen Burnie, MD.

Children of Ralph & Mary:

  1. Olive Myrle Root, born 7-Feb-1906 in Forest City, IA; married 16-Jun-1928 in Annapolis, MD, to Ralph Gibson MEADER, 1 child; died 5-Mar-1997 at Calef Farm in Sanbornton, NH.
  2. Lloyd Eugene Root, born 19-Jan-1909 in Iowa City, IA; married (1) 12-Jun-1936 to Dorothy Wilda KILBOURN, 4 children; married (2) 8-Feb-1981 to Elta Roberts DUGDALE; died 23-Jan-2005 in Portland, OR.
  3. Charlotte Marian Root, born 29-Nov-1912 in Columbia, MO; married 15-Sep-1945 in New York, NY, to John Bauman TUTTLE, 3 children; died 19-Jun-1999 in Reading, MA.
  4. Ellis Pollock Root, born 16-Aug-1914 in Annapolis, MD; married 28-Nov-1942 to Lucille GRIFFIN, 2 children; died 18-Mar-1981 in Honolulu, HI.


Ralph Eugene Root
Ralph E. Root & Family
1914, Annapolis, MD

Dr. Ralph Eugene Root &
Mary Keziah Batcheller Root

Passport photograph, 23-May-1939

Dr. Ralph E. Root
7 Franklin St., Annapolis, MD

Biographical Notes:

Moved in 1883 to Plymouth County, IA, with his parents.  Lived on the prairie farm until about 1900.  Author of "A Prairie Pebble", an unpublished historical novel about pioneer life on the American prairie.  Moved in 1913 to 7 Franklin Street, Annapolis MD; an elder of the Calvary Methodist Church in State Circle, Annapolis MD, and active in civic affairs.  Purchased seven acres of land and a 1763 farm house in Sanbornton, NH, in 1946, adjacent to the Calef Hill Farm purchased in 1938 by his son-in-law, Dr. Ralph G. Meader.  From 1946 through 1961, Dr. and Mrs. Root wintered in Annapolis for October to March and lived in New Hampshire April through September.

Sc.B., 1905, Morningside College, Sioux City, IA;
M.Sc., 1909, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA;
Ph.D. Mathematics, Summa cum Lauda, 1911, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL;
Honorary Sc.D., 1942, Morningside College, Sioux City, IA.

Studied under E. H. Moore at the University of Chicago, well known for a long list of accomplished mathematicians – George Birkhoff, Leonard Dickson, Oswald Veblen, Theophil Hildebrandt and R. L. Moore.

Author of "Mathematics of Engineering" and "The Dynamics of Engine and Shaft", well-known text books. 

  • Biography published in "American Men of Science", 3rd Edition, 1921 and later.
  • Mathematics instructor, 1906-1910, University of Iowa
  • Mathematics instructor, 1911-1913, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO.
  • Professor of Mathematics and Mechanics, 1913-1914, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD.
  • First civilian professor of the U.S. Naval Academy Postgraduate School, started at Annapolis in 1914.
  • Senior Professor in the Postgraduate School and Head of the Department of Mathematics and Mechanics, 1920s-1946.
  • Retired from teaching in 1946, after the end of World War II; named Professor Emeritus, the first teacher in any of the service schools so named.
  • The Engineering and Mathematics building at the current U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, is named Root Hall, a unique honor for a living person and for a civilian.  Dr. and Mrs. Root attended the formal dedication in 1958.

RedArrow  A Century of Mathematics at the Naval Postgraduate School – Prof. Carlos Borges

"History of Plymouth County", 1917, Iowa:

"Dr. Ralph Eugene Root, professor of mathematics in the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, instructor of that exacting branch in the post-graduate department of the academy, received excellent training for the important post he now occupies.  He was born in Grundy county, Missouri, July 18, 1879, and was not yet four years of age when his parents came to Plymouth county and settled on a homestead farm in Portland township.  He assisted in the labors of the farm as a lad and completed the grades in the common schools of that township, supplementing the same by a term in the high school at Akron, after which he entered Morningside Academy at Sioux City, from which he was graduated in 1901.  He then entered Morningside College and was graduated from the scientific course in that institution in 1905.  During the winter of 1905-06 he taught mathematics and science in the high school at Forest City, and in the fall of 1906 entered the University of Iowa as an instructor and post-graduate student in mathematics and physics, remaining there four years, at the end of which time, in 1909, the University conferred upon him the degree of Master of Science.  He then entered the University of Chicago as a fellow in mathematics, taking both mathematics and astronomy, and in 1911 received from that institution the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.  Thus equipped, Doctor Root accepted a call to the University of Missouri and after serving for two years as a member of the faculty of that institution accepted the call to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, as instructor of the post-graduate class in mathematics, the highest course in mathematics taught in that institution, the position which he still occupies.  Doctor Root is a member of Sigma Xi, the honorary scientific fraternity of the University of Iowa, and takes a warm interest in the affairs of the same."

"It was on December 28, 1904, at Storm Lake, this state, that Dr. Ralph Eugene Root was united in marriage to Mary K. Batcheller, who was born in Portland township, this county, daughter of Alexander F.. and Mary C. (Ballou) Batcheller, prominent residents of that community, whose last days were spent at Council Bluffs.  [. . .] Mary K. Batcheller received her schooling in the high school at Hawarden, in the high school at Larabee and at the Iowa State Normal at Cedar Falls, after which for six years she taught school in and around Akron and was thus engaged at the time of her marriage to Doctor Root.  To that union four children have been born, Olive, Lloyd, Charlotte and Ellis.  Doctor and Mrs. Root are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and take a proper interest in the affairs of the same."


  • Personal knowledge and direct experience; this is my grandfather.
  • Family history information collected from living relatives by Mrs. Olive Root Meader;
  • Root family notes compiled by Captain Lloyd E. Root, CEC USN (Ret.), of Bellevue, WA, for the Root/Meader/Tuttle reunion, Sanbornton, NH, 1990;
  • Root family GEDCOM information retrieved from the Internet, 1998;
  • "Descendants of Thomas Roote", MS-Word report received Jan-2000 from Richard G. Nelson of California;
  • "History of Plymouth County", 1917, Plymouth County, Iowa, pp449-452.
  • "American Men of Science", ed. by J. McKeen Cattell & Dean R. Brimhall; The Science Press, 3rd Edition, 1921.
  • "Bulletin of the American Mathematics Society", vol. 53 no. 1; January 1947.

[This page last updated 27-Apr-2011]