Edwin F. Russell

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Edwin F. Russell
Born (1914-07-14)14 July 1914
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Died 22 December 2001(2001-12-22) (aged 87)
Hobe Sound, Florida
Education Royal Naval College, Greenwich
Alma mater Princeton University
Spouse(s) Lady Sarah Spencer-Churchill
(m. 1943; div. 1966)

Iris Smith Van Ingen Paine
(m. 1966; div. 1968)

Cynthia Cary Van Pelt
(m. 1976; his death 2001)
Children 4
Parent(s) Lucius Thomas Russell
Marian Cronin

Edwin Fairman Russell (July 15, 1914 – December 22, 2001) was an American newspaper publisher who had joined the Royal Navy to fight Germany before the United States entered World War II.[1]

Early life[edit]

Russell was born on July 15, 1914 in Elizabeth, New Jersey one of five children born to Lucius Thomas Russell (1871–1948) and Marian Cronin.[2] His father, who was born in Mississippi, was a newspaper publisher who founded The Newark Star, which became The Star-Ledger.[2]

Russell was a 1937 graduate of Princeton University.[3]


As the United States had yet to enter World War II, Russell enlisted in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve. In the Autumn of 1941, he was summoned for active duty in the British Royal Navy and, after a brief tour of duty in Canadian waters, attended the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and served aboard the British cruiser Norfolk as gunnery officer. He met his first wife, Lady Mary, in Scotland while recovering from an injury he received on the job.[4]

In 1943, he transferred to the United States Navy upon the U.S.'s entry into the War, and eventually joined the staff of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.[4]

Publishing career[edit]

During the 1940s, he worked as the associate publisher of The Star-Ledger, a Newark newspaper.[1]

Russell was the chairman of The Patriot-News Company and the former publisher of The Harrisburg Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa.[5] After graduating from Princeton University, he worked during the 1940s as the associate publisher of The (Newark, NJ) Star-Ledger.[1]

In 1947, Russell paid $2,500,000 to purchase the Harrisburg Patriot and Evening News from the widow of Vance C. McCormick, the former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee who owned the papers and had died in 1946.[6]

Russell served in 1952 as chairman of the Pennsylvania Citizens For Eisenhower Committee. He held several positions with Condé Nast Publications; at one time he was publisher of Vogue magazine.[1]

Personal life[edit]

On May 15, 1943, he married Lady Sarah Consuelo Spencer-Churchill (1921–2000), daughter of John Spencer-Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough (1897–1972).[7] Winston Spencer Churchill, a grandson of the prime minister, served as a page at the wedding. Lady Sarah's grandmother was Consuelo Vanderbilt (1877–1964), who married Jacques Balsan (1868–1956) after her divorce from the Duke of Marlborough.[4][8] Before the marriage ended in divorce in 1966, they had four daughters:[9]

  • Serena Mary Churchill Russell (b. 1944), who was married to Michael Santangelo, a Broadway producer, in 1964.[10] After their divorce, she married Neil Balfour (b. 1944), in 1978, who was previously married to Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, the only daughter of Prince Paul of Yugoslavia.[7]
  • Consuelo Sarah Churchill Vanderbilt Russell (b. 1946), who married James Lee Toback in 1968.[11] They divorced in 1969 and she married Mark Schulman. They divorced and she married E. William Judson, with whom she had children.[12]
  • Alexandra Brenda Russell (b. 1949), who married Timothy Campbell Birch in 1970.[13][14]
  • Jacqueline Dorothy Russell (b. 1958), who married Eugene Flewellyn Williams III in 1981.[15]

Following his divorce, he married Iris Vanderbilt (née Smith) Van Ingen Paine (1927–2006)[16] in 1966.[17] Iris was the daughter of Earl Edward Tailer Smith, the former United States Ambassador to Cuba and Consuelo Vanderbilt Earl (1903–2011), and was previously married to Herbert Pratt Van Ingen and Augustus G. Paine III. Her maternal grandparents were Virginia Graham Fair and William Kissam Vanderbilt II, the brother of Russell's first wife's grandmother. They later divorced[1] and she married Donald C. Christ.[18][16]

His third and final marriage was in 1976 to Cynthia Cary Van Pelt (b. 1924), the daughter of Guy Fairfax Cary and Cynthia Roche. She was a first cousin once removed of Princess Diana, who survived him. From his third marriage, he had three stepchildren: Peter, Abby and Guy Van Pelt.[19]

Russell died at his home on Hobe Sound, Florida on December 22, 2001. His ashes were scattered by his wife, children, and grandchildren on Omaha Beach, in Normandy, France.[1]


Through his eldest daughter, he was the grandfather of Consuelo Lily Balfour (b. 1979) and Alastair Albert David Balfour (b. 1981).


  1. ^ a b c d e f Meier, Barry (25 December 2001). "Edwin F. Russell, 87, Newspaper Publisher". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "L. T. RUSSELL DIES; FIERY PUBLISHER; Founder in 1916 of Newark Ledger--Had Colorful Career as Western Editor in '80s". The New York Times. 22 June 1948. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  3. ^ Princeton Alumni Weekly, The Class of 1937. "Edwin F. Russell '37". Princeton Alumni Weekly. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c Long, Tania (16 May 1943). "SARAH CHURCHILL IS WED IN LONDON; The Duke of Marlborough's Daughter Bride of Lt. Edwin F. Russell of U. S. Navy ST. MARGARET'S THRONGED 22-Year-O!d Grandson of the Prime Minister is a Page -- Service Men Honor Guard". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  5. ^ http://www.patriot-news.com/ourHistory.php
  6. ^ "HARRISBURG PAPERS SOLD; E.F. Russell Pays '$2,500,000' -- Leaving Newark Daily". The New York Times. 26 August 1947. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  7. ^ a b "Lady Sarah Spencer-Churchill". The Telegraph. 19 October 2000. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  8. ^ Times, Special Cable To The New York (27 March 1943). "TROTH ANNOUNOED OF VANDERBILT KIN; Lady Sarah Spencer-Churchill Engaged to Lieut. Edwin F. Russell of Royal Navy FIANCE NEWARK' PUBLISHER Bride-Elect, Daughter of Duke of Marlborough, is Related to Mrs. Louis J. Balsan". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  9. ^ "Marlborough's Daughter Wins a Divorce in Reno". The New York Times. 8 October 1966. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  10. ^ "Serena Russell To Be Married To a Producer". The New York Times. 12 June 1964. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  11. ^ Klemesrud, Judy (27 April 1968). "Mimi Russell Wed to J. L. Toback". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  12. ^ "Ana Dei Santi and Nicholas Judson". The New York Times. 2 October 2005. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  13. ^ Times, Special To The New York (19 April 1970). "Timothy C. Birch Fiance Of Alexandra B. Russell". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  14. ^ Times, Special To The New York (30 May 1970). "Alexandra Russell Is Married To Timothy Birch of the Army". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  15. ^ "Jacqueline Russell Is Married". The New York Times. 20 September 1981. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  16. ^ a b "Paid Notice: Deaths CHRIST, IRIS VANDERBILT". The New York Times. 17 December 2006. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  17. ^ "Edwin F. Russell And Mrs. Paine Marry in Capital; Publisher in Harrisburg Weds Daughter of Former Envoy". The New York Times. 1 November 1966. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  18. ^ Goldsmith, Barbara (2011). JOHNSON V. JOHNSON. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. ISBN 9780307800367. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  19. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths RUSSELL, EDWIN F". The New York Times. 26 December 2001. Retrieved 14 June 2017.