Donald S. Russell

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Donald Stuart Russell
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
In office
April 23, 1971 – February 22, 1998
Appointed by Richard Nixon
Preceded by Simon Sobeloff
Succeeded by William Byrd Traxler, Jr.
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina
In office
November 3, 1966 – May 1, 1971
Appointed by Lyndon Johnson
Preceded by Charles Cecil Wyche
Succeeded by Solomon Blatt, Jr.
United States Senator
from South Carolina
In office
April 22, 1965 – November 8, 1966
Preceded by Olin D. Johnston
Succeeded by Ernest Hollings
107th Governor of South Carolina
In office
January 15, 1963 – April 22, 1965
Lieutenant Robert Evander McNair
Preceded by Ernest Hollings
Succeeded by Robert Evander McNair
Personal details
Born (1906-02-22)February 22, 1906
Lafayette County, Mississippi, US
Died February 22, 1998(1998-02-22) (aged 92)
Spartanburg, South Carolina, US
Resting place Greenlawn Memorial Gardens, Spartanburg
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Virginia Utsey
Children 4
Alma mater University of Michigan
University of South Carolina
Profession Lawyer

Donald Stuart Russell (February, 22, 1906 – February, 22, 1998) was a 20th-Century American from South Carolina who served as Assistant Secretary of State for Administration (1945–1947), president of the University of South Carolina (1952–1957)Governor (1963–1965), and U.S. Senator (1965– 1966).[1][2][3][4][5]


Donald Stuart Russell was born on February 22, 1906, in Lafayette Springs, Lafayette County, Mississippi. In 1906, his father died. In 1914, his mother Lula Russell Moore McGuinn moved the family to Chester, South Carolina. In 1925, he obtained a BA and in 1928 a LLB law degree from the University of South Carolina at Columbia. In 1928, he also passed the bar in South Carolina. In 1929, he studied law at the graduate level at the University of Michigan.[1][2][3][4][5]


In 1930, Russell began his career by practicing law, first in Union, South Carolina to 1930, and then in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he continued through 1942 in the firm of Nichols, Wyche and Byrnes.[1][2][3]

In 1942, he joined the U.S. Department of War. In 1942, he served for a year as assistant to the Director of Economic Stabilization. In 1944, he served as a major in the United States Army. In 1945, he became deputy director in the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion.[1][2][3][4][5]

In 1947, Russell began service as Assistant Secretary of State for Administration. He was a protégé of former Secretary of State James F. Byrnes. During that time, he became involved in the case of "Mr. Blank" and nine other State Department officials, dismissed for unspecified charges related to loyalty. The case became a sensation when journalist Bert Andrews obtained a secret transcript of Mr. Blank's case and published a series of articles in the New York Herald-Tribune starting on November 2, 1947.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

In 1947-1948, Russell returned to private law practice in Spartanburg through to 1951.[1][2][3]

In 1951-1952, Russell served as president of the University of South Carolina through to 1957.[1][3][4][5]

In 1957, he returned to private practice through 1963.[2][3]

In 1958, he ran unsuccessfully for governor of South Carolina.[1] He lost the Democratic primary to Ernest F."Fritz" Hollings.[3]

In 1963, Russell served as the 107th Governor of South Carolina until 1965.[2] [3][5] Major events during his governorship include:

  • January 28, 1963 – Clemson University enrolled first-ever African-American student, Harvey Gantt[5]
  • September 1963 – Former Governor Strom Thurmond announced move to the Republican Party
  • October 29,1964 – Greenville native Charles Townes won Nobel Prize in Physics
  • November 3, 1964 – Majority of South Carolina voters supported Barry Goldwater (first Republican presidential candidate to carry the state since Reconstruction)[4]

On April 22, 1965, Russell resigned as governor, after which new governor Robert E. McNair appointed him to fill the seat vacated by the death of Olin D. Johnston as Democratic Senator, through 1966. In the Democratic primary for the special election in 1966 to fill the remainder of Johnston's term, Russell again lost to Fritz Hollings. McNair, however, won a gubernatorial term of his own in 1966 by defeating the Republican Joseph O. Rogers, Jr., while Hollings won election to the rest of Johnston's Senate term by defeating Republican Marshall Parker.[1][2][3][5]

On October 11, 1966, after his short Senate tenure ended, Russell was appointed U.S. District Judge for the District of South Carolina by U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson to fill the vacancy created by the death of Russell's former law partner, Charles Cecil Wyche. On October 20, 1966, he received confirmation from the U.S. Senate. On November 3, 1971, he ended his service due to appointment as on May 1, 1971, by U.S. President Richard Nixon as judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, where he served until his death, on his 92nd birthday in 1998.[2][3][5]

Personal and death[edit]

Russell (1953)

Russell was a Methodist.[4][5]

Russell married Virginia Utsey; they had four children.[2][5]

Russell's most notable political/professional relationship was with Byrnes:

Russell's relationship with Byrnes became very important over the following years, particularly as Byrnes took on increasingly prominent positions in the Roosevelt administration. Russell went to Washington as Byrnes' assistant when Byrnes was appointed director of the Office of Economic Stabilization in October 1942. In May 1943, Russell followed Byrnes to the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, which Byrnes had been appointed to direct. In October 1944 Russell went on active duty serving at the Army's Supreme Allied Headquarters in Europe. Major Russell was discharged later that year. In early 1945, Russell served as Deputy Director of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion, then as Assistant Secretary of State for Administration, under Byrnes, from August 1945 to January 1947. Russell implemented plans for the reorganization of the Foreign Service and developed the first series of continual regional foreign policy statements, which was later to become standard practice. Russell's interest in the foreign service later led to his involvement on several federal committees. As the assistant to Byrnes, Russell was at Potsdam with President Harry Truman and Byrnes and took part in the decision to drop the first atomic bomb. Byrnes and Russell left the administration shortly after the war ended and joined Hogan & Hartson, a Washington, D.C., law firm.[3]

Russell died on his 92nd birthday, February 22, 1998.[1][2][3][4][5]


His Spartanburg home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Russell, Donald Stuart (1906–1998)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 26 December 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Russell, Donald Stuart". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 26 December 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Donald S. Russell Papers, 1929–1998". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 26 December 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "SC Governors, Donald S. Russell Papers, 1963–1965". SCiway. Retrieved 26 December 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "South Carolina Governor Donald Stuart Russell". SCiway. Retrieved 26 December 2017. 
  6. ^ Alsop, Joseph; Alsop, Stewart (15 August 1947). "Matter of Fact: The Case of the Ten". Washington Post. Retrieved 26 December 2017. 
  7. ^ Andrews, Bert (2 November 1947). "A State Department Security Case: The Story of an Employee Dismissed After 8-Month F.B.I. Investigation with the Nature of the Charges Against Him Never Revealed". New York Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 26 December 2017. 
  8. ^ Andrews, Bert (4 November 1947). "7 Dropped as Loyalty Risk Say Statement Department Pursues Them: Protest Impairment of Their Job Opportunities". New York Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 26 December 2017. 
  9. ^ Andrews, Bert (6 November 1947). "Marshall Says 'Security Risks' Can Appeal; Won't Tell Charges". New York Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 26 December 2017. 
  10. ^ Lindley, Ernest (3 November 1947). "What Price Security? The Case of Mr. Blank". Washington Post. 
  11. ^ Emerson, Thomas I.; Helfeld, David M. (1 January 1948). "Loyalty Among Government Employees". Yale University. Retrieved 26 December 2017. 
  12. ^ "Evans-Russell House, Spartanburg County (716 Otis Blvd, Spartanburg)". National Register Properties in South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved October 15, 2012. 


External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Frank McCarthy
Assistant Secretary of State for Administration
September 24, 1945 – January 20, 1947
Succeeded by
John Peurifoy
Political offices
Preceded by
Ernest Hollings
Governor of South Carolina
January 15, 1963–April 22, 1965
Succeeded by
Robert Evander McNair
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Olin D. Johnston
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from South Carolina
April 22, 1965 – November 8, 1966
Served alongside: Strom Thurmond
Succeeded by
Ernest Hollings
Legal offices
Preceded by
Charles Cecil Wyche
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Solomon Blatt, Jr.
Preceded by
Simon Sobeloff
Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
Succeeded by
William Byrd Traxler, Jr.