Preserving the Past, Informing the Future
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Talcott Huntington Russell, for many years a distinctive figure at the New Haven bar, was born in New Haven, March 14th, 1847, and died still a resident of that city on October 18th, 1917. He was a son of the founder of the famous Russell School.
He was graduated from Yale College in 1869 and after a year at the Yale Law School and a further year at the Columbia Law School was graduated from the latter institution in 1871.
Throughout his professional life he was actively engaged in general practice and was counsel in many important cases in the trial courts and in the Supreme Court of Errors - among them a series of insurance litigations reported in the 68th and 70th Connecticut, the case of Lewisohn v. Stoddard, 78 Conn. 575, which had to do with the liability of stockholders in foreign corporations, State v. Glidden, 55 Conn. 46, one of the formative cases on the law of boycott, and Dawson v. Orange, 78 Conn. 96, which blazed the way in the law as to suits to quiet title.
For a number of years beginning with 1878 Mr. Russell was engaged as receiver in closing up the affairs of the American National Life and Trust Company and argued at least one of its cases in the United States Supreme Court. For eight years beginning with 1892 he was instructor in the law of municipal corporations in the Yale Law School.
He was one of the first members of the Conference on Uniform State Laws and served for many years as its treasurer and the chairman of its committee on commercial law.
He was one of the pioneers in workmen's compensation and on the passing of the Connecticut Compensation Act became the first chairman of the Board of Commissioners.
He was married on December 10th, 1889, to Geraldine Whittemore Low of New Haven, who survives, and left two sons, Phillip Gary Russell and William Low Russell. He was thus throughout a Connecticut man.
Mr. Russell was one who took his share in his place and time in the effort toward better conditions of human rights and a better realization of human duties. He was in the advance line helping actively and actually to smooth the progress and the process of society toward the ends in view.
He was sincere, earnest, high strung, impetuous and high-minded, with a store of literary treasure, a fund of poetry and a love of art.
Of a rugged exterior and abrupt in speech, he was intolerant of meanness, and unsparing of rebuke where he thought rebuke was called for but never forgetful of the proper limits of criticism or of the fact that no man is infallible in judging his fellows.
In rendering his service to the public there was a constant willingness to support good causes, were they popular or unpopular, with strong powers of persistent endeavor. He brought to the service of his clients, rugged honesty, untiring devotion to their interest and a great force of simple and direct expression. He brought to the service of friendship a warm heart, frank speech, and an absolute sincerity of word and thought.
It was a matter of keen regret to the governor who had appointed him and to the bar and public that he did not live to long direct the administration of the Workmen's Compensation Act in the establishment of which he had such a vital part. He will, however, long be remembered as one who gave the system its first impetus and direction as well as for a career at the bar conspicuous in many ways.