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Lee Maurice Russell

Gov. Lee Maurice Russell

  • January 20, 1920 - January 18, 1924
  • Democratic
  • November 16, 1875
  • May 16, 1943
  • Mississippi
  • Toccopala College, University of Mississippi
  • Married Ethel May Day; one child


LEE M. RUSSELL, the fortieth governor of Mississippi, was born in Lafayette County, Mississippi on November 16, 1875. His education was attained at Toccopala College, where he graduated in 1897, and at the University of Mississippi, where he earned a Ph.B. in 1901 degree and a LL.B. degree in 1903. After establishing his legal career in Oxford, Mississippi, Russell entered into a politics. He served as a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1908 to 1912, was a member of the Mississippi State Senate from 1912 to 1916 and served as the lieutenant governor of Mississippi from 1916 to 1920. Russell next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor by a popular vote on November 4, 1919. He was sworn into office on January 20, 1920. During his tenure, a junior college system was initiated; a reforestation policy was endorsed; the Mississippi school and colony for the mentally disabled was founded; funding for the upkeep and construction of public buildings was secured; a state financial plan was supported; and a state bond commission was established. Also, breach of promise and seduction charges were brought against Governor Russell in 1922; however, he was acquitted of all charges. After completing his term, Russell left office on January 18, 1924 and retired from political life. Governor Lee M. Russell passed away on May 16, 1943 and was buried in the Lakewood Memorial Park in Jackson, Mississippi.


Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.

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