Louie Burton Russ
6 Mar 2002: DR – phone conversation: in 1931 as a student in Glasgow, he and his future wife both knew LBR and had continuing contact with her over the years, keeping in touch even during the Second World War by letter. He described her as a warm and active person, a great conversationalist with great internal energy and well focussed. She was particularly remembered for a regular flow of animals for DR’s children – always known as Louie’s animals. She liked a well organised life – her mother kept a close watch on her friendships; Louie did not ‘foster male friendships’ but did sponsor a young writer [DR believes he was blind]
She was in charge of a literary section in John Smith & Sons, the Glasgow bookseller, and – with her mother – wrote parts of the Blue Guide to Scotland. She may have been left money by an aunt – and did not make use of her accountant for financial advice.
She had talked about a possible Jewish origin to the Russ family and remarked on the northern origins of the Russian peoples.
Her mother Hilda [Parker] was very much ‘the matron’ interested on music and a powerful character, with a well stocked mind, well educated – ‘a heavyweight and a pleasure to meet’. Louie was more lightweight and more narrowly focussed.
DR studied electronics in Dresden from 1934 – 1938; he was at a trade fair in Leipzig when the Germans invaded Austria and heard Goebbels address the mob ‘I was the only man there whose right arm was not raised’ He worked for the Admiralty on radar during WW II and commented that the saturation bombing of Dresden had been carried out at the request of the Russians, who claimed that there were heavy German troop concentrations in the area at the time. This was probably not true – but he saw no reason for national guilt, having seen the cancer at the heart of the German system.
Russ & Winkler: DR recalled in the 1920s that the three key attractions in Edinburgh for young people were: The Castle, the Scott Memorial and the Three Bears. Shops along Princes Street were built out at ground floor level; on the roof thus created, Russ & Winkler displayed Father Bear, Mother Bear and Baby Bear – these certainly survived into the post war period, getting steadily more weather-beaten. DR thought that Father Bear might have survived the closure of R&W in 1957
4 Mar 2002: FMB writes: Now, to what I remember of Louie We both attended the same school: The Hillside School for Girls, which was in a terrace house in Crown Terrace in Hyndland [uniform colours - dark brown and orange], but when I was in the infant department she was in the seniors. However the name Louie B. Russ stuck in my mind. This was a small school where the infant department was on the Montessori system, and following that we had the Dalton Plan - no punishments, no homework, and no prizes. A majority of the pupils, when they left school, were at home with Mother.
Many years later, I was on duty at a church exhibition with a lady called Louie Russ, so I asked if she was Louie B. Russ of Hillside School. I think she was surprised to find someone else who had been there, since the school "faded away" in 1940. Thereafter we became quite friendly and we used to give her a lift home from St. George's Tron Church, where she had been a great admirer of the Rev. Tom Allan. She ran a very strict regime - visitors must arrive and depart on time, and casual callers were not welcome. For a number of years she visited an aunt and uncle in Edinburgh, always travelling by the same trains - no deviation. She lived frugally and did not permit herself any extravagance - only necessities. She was a member of the Western Club in Exchange Square in Glasgow, and that's where she would entertain friends.
Louie was a very well-read lady with a great love of books, both for the contents and the bindings - most helpful when she worked in John Smith's. She would not allow herself to have a number of pieces of household equipment which we might look on as being essential. All along she would refer back to what would have been her Mother's opinion.
12 Feb 2002: JS writes: "Miss Louie Burton Russ was well known to me. She resided in the tenement flat at 234 Crow Road, some 200 yards from the terrace house I occupied for 27 years. She was a very kenspective figure in the Broomhill area of Glasgow. Latterly, she entered a private nursing home, Clarence Court, about 100 yards from her former flat.
Miss Russ was for several years a very active and forthright committee member of the Hillhead Conservative and Unionist Party Ladies Section. My late wife acted as Treasurer; thus, I was in the company of Miss Russ at various social functions conducted by the Ladies Section, and also at the more general deliberations of the Unionist Party in Glasgow. She impressed as a very shrewd lady.
2 Feb 2002: CAA writes: Louie was a very fine person who worked with books, and loved them almost like members of her family. She was a very spiritually minded person, who tried to live out her Christian beliefs. She was also a very private person, who was a faithful friend to a few people rather than everyone's friend.