Russell, Howard H. (Howard Hyde), 1855-1946

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Congregational minister and founder of the American Anti-Saloon League.

From the description of Howard Hyde Russell papers, 1840-1946. (University of Michigan). WorldCat record id: 154302192

Howard Hyde Russell was the leading spirit in inaugurating the Anti-Saloon League movement. As a founder and the first superintendent of the Ohio Anti-Saloon League, Russell played an influential role in establishing the Anti-Saloon League of America and became the national League's first general superintendent. He later founded the Lincoln-Lee Legion and served as superintendent of the New York Anti-Saloon League.

Russell was born October 21, 1855, at Stillwater Minnesota, where his parents, Joseph and Sarah (Parker) Russell served as missionaries to the Indians. Following two years of study at Griswold College in Iowa (1870-1872) and brief jobs in school teaching and journalism, he decided on a career in law and moved to Corning, Iowa, where he studied with the law firm of Davis and Wells. In 1878 Russell was admitted to the Iowa bar. Two years later he married Lillian Davis, daughter of his law mentor. He practiced law until a revival conversion in 1883 led him to enroll at Oberlin Theological Seminary. During his theological studies at Oberlin, Russell served as pastor in North Amherst and Berea, Ohio . He graduated in 1888 as a Congregational minister and undertook ministerial duties in Kansas City (1888-1891) and at the Armour Mission in Chicago (1891-1893).

Though Russell had been a social drinker, at Oberlin he became interested in the prohibition movement and joined the Oberlin Temperance Alliance . He later explained that the memory of near and dear relatives brought to a premature death through strong drink had prompted his interest in the temperance cause. In 1888 the Oberlin Alliance hired Russell to lead a state-wide campaign for local option. The success of this temporary movement, which resulted in the Beatty local option law, indicated the need for a more permanent state organization. After moving to Kansas City, Russell led in forming the Missouri Anti-Saloon League in 1890. Elected president, he spent two months organizing local chapters throughout the state, but the movement gradually dissolved after he moved to Chicago the following year. Meanwhile Oberlin Alliance leaders were beginning to organize a state-wide non-partisan prohibition league, and in 1893 they invited Russell to direct the formation of the Ohio Anti-Saloon League. During the summer of 1893 Russell began his duties as the full-time salaried superintendent of the Ohio A.S.L., visiting several towns to form local organizations.

For the rest of his life, Howard Hyde Russell's work centered in the Anti-Saloon League. As the League's principal founder, he exerted great influence in the movement, and to a large degree the organization reflected his ideas. Russell believed that the political ineffectiveness of other temperance organizations resulted from their support of such minor parties as the Populist and Prohibition Parties. The A.S.L. therefore took a "nonpartisan" position, supporting whomever of the Republican and Democratic candidates for each office was more favorable toward prohibition . This policy attracted support from temperance advocates who remained dedicated Republicans' far more temperance men were Republicans than Democrats at this time - but it also created conflict with Prohibition Party supporters. The Anti-Saloon League's second major policy was local option, which was to be used as a stepping stone for state and eventually national prohibition legislation. This, too, conflicted with Prohibition Party demands for immediate national prohibition.

Two years after organizing the Ohio A.S.L., Russell joined leaders of the District of Columbia A.S.L. in founding the National Anti-Saloon League (later renamed Anti-Saloon League of America ) in December 1895. Hiram Price of the District of Columbia was elected president, and Russell became the national organization's first general superintendent. He served in this position as chief executive officer of the League until 1903, when he resigned to devote more energy to the duties he had assumed in 1901 as superintendent of the New York A.S.L. In 1903 Russell also led in forming the Lincoln Legion, founded as a moral suasion arm of the League. Members signed a temperance pledge for which Abraham Lincoln had once secured signatures. The Lincoln Legion Patriots, composed of boys and girls under 21 years of age, was organized in 1912 as a part of the Lincoln Legion. In 1913, the name was changed to Lincoln-Lee Legion, to honor the two Northern and Southern heroes claimed as model abstainers by temperance leaders.

Russell served as New York A.S.L. superintendent from 1901 to 1909 and as chairman of the national executive committee from 1903 to 1909. In 1909 he became chairman of the financial management committee and general secretary of the Anti-Saloon League of America. To dramatize the need for prohibition, he led the 1915 "water wagon tour" along with the Lincoln Highway from New York to San Francisco. With the " Rail-Splitter Quartet " to provide music, Russell delivered rousing prohibition speeches at numerous stops along the route. In 1919 he helped to organize the World League Against Alcoholism and served as one of its first four joint presidents. One year later, he served as a delegate to this organization's World Congress Against Alcoholism .

Howard Hyde Russell continued to work actively in the fight for prohibition until his death in 1946. From the beginning he had sacrificed personal comfort and financial security in taking low-paying positions in order to advance the temperance cause. Discouraged by the slow progress of reform, despite an outward show of optimism, he revealed in letters to his wife alternating moods of hope and despair, with depression often dominant. Russell frequently longed for the quiet and comfort of the regular ministry. Yet he never wavered from the cause. His long personal friendship with John D. Rockefeller resulted in generous contributions for the League, and after the first discouraging years Russell enjoyed acclaim and recognition as the founder of a powerful organization. He saw the Anti-Saloon League lead the victorious campaign for national prohibition, and even after repeal, he continued to work for the cause to which he had devoted his life.

From the guide to the Howard H. Russell Papers, 1840-1946, (Bentley Historical Library University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Conover, Milton, b. 1890. Milton Conover papers, 1898-1936 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf American Council on Alcohol Problems. American Council on Alcohol Problems records, 1916-1969. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Milton Conover papers, 1898-1936 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Huston, Charles Lukens, 1856-1951. Papers, 1806-1951 (bulk 1870-1951). Hagley Museum & Library
creatorOf Blouin, Francis X. Temperance and prohibition papers, 1830-1933. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Cherrington, Ernest Hurst, 1877-1950. Papers. Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
referencedIn Root, Azariah Smith, 1862-1927. Papers, 1881-1930. Oberlin College Library
referencedIn Oscar Gottlieb Christgau Papers, 1908-1971 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf Russell, Howard H. (Howard Hyde), 1855-1946. Howard Hyde Russell papers, 1840-1946. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn American Council on Alcohol Problems Records, 1883-1969, 1920s-1930s Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
creatorOf Christgau, Oscar Gottlieb. Oscar Gottlieb Christgau papers, 1908-1971. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
creatorOf Howard H. Russell Papers, 1840-1946 Bentley Historica Library University of Michigan
referencedIn Douglas Tilden Papers, 1860-1970 Bancroft Library
creatorOf Russell, Howard. Gar How. Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee County Federated Library System
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Council on Alcohol Problems. corporateBody
associatedWith Angell, James Burrill, 1829-1916. person
associatedWith Anthony, Susan B. (Susan Brownell), 1820-1906. person
associatedWith Anti-saloon League of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Babson, Roger Ward, 1875-1967. person
associatedWith Baker, Purley Albert, 1858-1924. person
associatedWith Barrows, John Henry, 1847-1902. person
associatedWith Bashford, J. W. (James Whitford), 1849-1919. person
associatedWith Booth, Evangeline, 1865-1950. person
associatedWith Brooks, Phillips, 1835-1893. person
associatedWith Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925. person
associatedWith Cadman, S. Parkes (Samuel Parkes), 1864-1936. person
associatedWith Capper, Arthur, 1865-1951. person
associatedWith Christgau, Oscar Gottlieb. person
associatedWith Christgau, Oscar Gottlieb. person
associatedWith Conover, Milton, 1890-1972 person
associatedWith Conover, Milton, b. 1890. person
associatedWith Coolidge, Calvin, 1872-1933. person
associatedWith Cullom, Shelby M. (Shelby Moore), 1829-1914. person
associatedWith Daniels, Josephus, 1862-1948. person
associatedWith Daugherty, H. M. (Harry Micajah), 1860-1941. person
associatedWith Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870 person
associatedWith Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870. person
associatedWith Dow, Neal, 1804-1897. person
associatedWith Edison, Thomas A. (Thomas Alva), 1847-1931. person
associatedWith Fess, Simeon D. (Simeon Davidson), 1861-1936. person
associatedWith Fosdick, Harry Emerson, 1878-1969. person
associatedWith Foster, J. Ellen (Judith Ellen), 1840- person
associatedWith Garrison, William Lloyd, 1805-1879. person
associatedWith Hill, Lister, 1894- person
associatedWith Hill, Lister, 1894-1984. person
associatedWith Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964. person
associatedWith Huston, Charles Lukens, 1856-1951. person
associatedWith Ireland, John, 1838-1918. person
associatedWith Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845. person
associatedWith Johnson, William E. (William Eugene), 1862-1945. person
associatedWith Kellogg, John Harvey, 1852-1943. person
associatedWith King, Henry Churchill, 1858-1934. person
associatedWith Lawrence, David, 1888-1973. person
associatedWith McAdoo, W. G. (William Gibbs), 1863-1941. person
associatedWith Phillips, Wendell, 1811-1884. person
associatedWith Pinchot, Gifford, 1865-1946. person
associatedWith Rockefeller, John D. (John Davison), 1839-1937. person
associatedWith Rockefeller, John D. (John Davison), 1874-1960. person
associatedWith Root, Azariah Smith, 1862-1927. person
associatedWith Russell, Charles Edward, 1860-1941. person
associatedWith Russell, Joseph A. person
associatedWith Russell, Joseph A. person
associatedWith Sarony, Napoleon, 1821-1896 person
associatedWith Sheldon, Charles Monroe, 1857-1946. person
associatedWith Sheppard, Morris, 1875-1941. person
associatedWith Strong, Josiah, 1847-1916. person
correspondedWith Tilden, Douglas, 1860-1935 person
associatedWith Tope, Homer W., 1859-1936. person
associatedWith Wheeler, Wayne Bidwell, 1869-1927. person
associatedWith White, William Allen, 1868-1944. person
associatedWith Woman's Christian Temperance Union corporateBody
associatedWith Woolley, John G. (John Granville), 1850-1922. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Lincoln Highway.
United States
Monuments and memorials
Music ensembles
Political parades and rallies
Social reformers
Social reformers
Congregational churches


Birth 1855-10-21

Death 1946-06-30



Ark ID: w61n832v

SNAC ID: 57213704