Colonel William A. Phillips

William Augustus Russell (April 22, 1831 – January 10, 1899) was an American businessman and political figure. He was the first president of the International Paper Company and served for six years as a United States Representative from Massachusetts.

Early life

Russell was born in Wells River, Vermont, the son of William Russell and Almira (Heath) Russell.[1] The family moved to Franklin, New Hampshire, where Russell was educated and graduated from Franklin Academy.[1] He later attended a private academy in Lawrence, Massachusetts.[1]



Russell worked at his father's papermaking business in Exeter, New Hampshire from 1848 to 1851.[1] He then created a papermaking partnership with his father, the Russell Paper Company, which they established in Lawrence in 1852.[1]

In addition to the Russell Paper Company, Russell was active in several other businesses throughout New England and as far west as Minnesota, which were subsidiaries of his own corporation.[1] These included president of: the Androscoggin Pulp Company (Brunswick, Maine); Sebago Wood Board Company (South Windham, Maine); Garvin Falls Power Company (Concord, New Hampshire); Mount Tom Sulphite Pulp Company (Mount Tom, Massachusetts); and Boston, New York, and Quebec Lumber Company.[1][2]

From 1890 to 1891 he was president of the American Paper and Pulp Association, a trade association that engaged in lobbying for favorable government regulation of the papermaking industry and marketing initiatives to publicize their product.[1] He also served on the board of directors of the Fitchburg Railroad, and was a member of Lawrence's Commercial Club.[1]


A Republican, in 1867 Russell was elected to a term on Lawrence Board of Aldermen.[1] He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1868.[1] Russell served as a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1869.[1] He was a delegate to the 1876 Republican National Convention.[1]

In 1878, Russell was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.[1] He was reelected twice and served in the Forty-sixth, Forty-seventh, and Forty-eighth Congresses (March 4, 1879 – March 3, 1885).[1] In the House, Russell served initially on the Commerce Committee, where he was appointed to a subcommittee that sought ways to revitalize American manufacturing following the Panic of 1873, and recommended changes to tax laws as an incentive to economic growth.[1] He later served on the Ways & Means Committee, where he used his knowledge of business and industry to advocate for protective tariffs favorable to American companies.[1]

Later life

After leaving Congress, Russell returned to his business interests and resided in Boston.[1] In November 1898 he was one of two founders of the International Paper Company and he served as its first president.[1]

Russell had been in poor health for the last year of his life.[1] He died at of a stroke at his home in Boston on January 10, 1899.[1] Russell was buried at Bellevue Cemetery in Lawrence.[3]


In February 1859, Russell married Elizabeth Haven Hall (1837-1866) in Bedford, Massachusetts.[1] They were the parents of three children - Mary, Frances, and Grace.[1]

In 1872 he married Frances Spofford Hall (1843-1925), the sister of his first wife.[1] They were the parents of three children - William, Elizabeth, and Richard.[1]


Russell donated his Prospect Hill estate in Lawrence to the creation of a hospital.[4] The site became the grounds of Lawrence General Hospital.[4]





External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Benjamin Butler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 7th congressional district

March 4, 1879 – March 3, 1883
Succeeded by
Eben F. Stone
Preceded by
John W. Candler
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts's 8th congressional district

March 4, 1883 – March 3, 1885
Succeeded by
Charles Herbert Allen