WILLIAM E. RUSSELL, the thirty-ninth governor of Massachusetts, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on January 6, 1857. His education was attained at Harvard University, where he graduated in 1877, and then at Boston University, where he earned a law degree in 1879. After establishing his legal career in his father’s Cambridge practice, Russell entered into politics. He first served as a member of the Cambridge Board of Aldermen from 1883 to 1884, and later was elected mayor of Cambridge, serving from 1884 to 1887. Russell made two unsuccessful attempts for the governorship before finally winning election on November 4, 1890. He was reelected to a second term in 1891, and to a third term in 1892. During his tenure, a poll tax was abolished; an anti-sweatshop bill was sanctioned, as well as a collateral-inheritance tax law. Also, a trustee of public reservations was instituted; and several pro-labor bills were enacted. After refusing to run for reelection, Russell left office on January 4, 1894. He continued to stay politically active, serving as a delegate to the 1896 Democratic National Convention. Governor William E. Russell passed away on July 14, 1896, and was buried at the Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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.