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RUSSELL, HENRY:

English composer and singer; born at Sheerness Dec. 24, 1812; died in London Dec. 7; 1900. He appeared in infancy in Christmas pantomimes, and later learned singing from Bellini in Italy in 1825, and counterpoint from Donizetti. He settled in Rochester, N. Y., in 1843 as teacher of the pianoforte, having appeared as Elvino in "La Sonnambula" in Philadelphia in 1839. For years he traveled in America, giving monologue entertainments of his own compositions. He was also engaged for the concerts of oratorio and philharmonic societies.

On his return to Europe Russellappeared in entertainments in many cities in Great Britain and Ireland and repeated his American success. Finally he retired from the concert-room and settled in London as an opulent money-lender and bill-broker. Eight hundred songs have come from his prolific pen, of which no less than 760 have been published. Although the 800 together brought to the author only £400, Russell made a fortune by singing his songs. In three seasons in America he realized from this source $50,000, which was, however, entirely lost through the failure of a New York bank.

His songs include: "Ivy Green," "Cheer, Boys, Cheer," "A Life on the Ocean Wave," "I'm Afloat," "Some Love to Roam," and "To the West, to the West, to the Land of the Free" (said to have largely influenced emigration to the United States).

Russell was twice married. His first wife, who was not of the Jewish faith, was a daughter of Lloyd, the banker; his second was Miss DeLara, of a Jewish family. He was buried according to the rites of the Christian Church.

Bibliography:
  • Jew. Chron. Oct. 9, 1891, and Dec. 14, 1900;
  • People of the Period;
  • London newspapers of Dec. 8, 1900;
  • Jew. Year Book, 5659, p. 205.
J. G. L.
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