Open main menu

Woman of the Century/Elizabeth W. Russell Lord

LORD, Mrs. Elizabeth W. Russell, educator and philanthropist, born in Kirtland, Ohio, ELIZABETH W. RUSSELL LORD A woman of the century (page 483 crop).jpgELIZABETH W. RUSSELL LORD. 28th April, 1819. She is the oldest child of Alpheus C. and Elizabeth Conant Russell. Her parents, natives of Massachusetts, were among the early settlers of the Western Reserve. Both had been teachers in New England, and Mr. Russell continued for some years to teach school in the winters, carrying on his farm at the same time. After some terms in the district school, Elizabeth was for several years a pupil of Rev. Truman Coe, pastor of the Congregational Church in Kirtland. In the spring of 1838 Mr. Russell sent his daughter to Oberlin. About that time the Western Reserve Teachers' Seminary was established in Kirtland, with Mr. Russell as one of its board of trustees. During the succeeding years Miss Russell divided her time between that seminary and Oberlin College, until 21st July, 1842, when in Oberlin she became the wife of Asa D. Lord, M. D., and with him returned to Kirtland to share his work as teacher in the seminary. In 1847 Dr. Lord was induced to go to Columbus, Ohio, there to establish a system of graded schools, the first of the kind in the State. When the high school was opened, a little later. Mrs. Lord was its first principal. In the summer of 1856 Dr. Lord assumed charge of the Ohio Institution for the Education of the Blind, remaining there until 1868, when he went to Batavia, N. Y., to organize the new State Institution for the Blind. During the nineteen years Dr. Lord was superintendent of the institutions for the blind in Ohio and New York, Mrs. Lord was to her husband a helpmeet, serving also as a faithful and earnest teacher of the blind. She has probably taught more blind persons to read than any other one teacher in this country, and probably more than any other in the world. Her success in teaching adult blind persons to read was especially remarkable. In March, 1875, after a very brief illness. Dr. Lord died, and the board of trustees unanimously elected Mrs. Lord to succeed her husband as superintendent in the institution. Mrs. Lord performed the duties of that important office until the fall of 1877, when she no longer deemed it best to act as superintendent. Her resignation was reluctantly accepted, on condition that she remain in the institution. After a few months spent in the home of her only child, Mrs. Henry Fisk Tarbox, of Batavia, N. Y.. Mrs. Lord returned to the institution and spent five more years in labors for the blind. Mrs. Lord had been accustomed from early childhood to the active life begun in the home of a hardy pioneer. Still in full vigor of health, in full possession of every faculty, and desirous of filling all her days with usefulness, she was ready to respond to a call to serve as assistant principal of the woman's department of Oberlin College. She entered upon the duties of that office, which she now holds, in the summer of 1884. She has given liberally of her means to charitable and educational institutions. Her largest gift was that of ten-thousand dollars to Oberlin College in 1890, which, with additions from other sources, builds "Lord Cottage" for the accommodation of young women.