|He lived for many years on Calumet Lane. He had been an industrialist, but in retirement, he dovted his life to the preservation of Marblehead's long history through writing and philanthropy.
He was alifelong resident of the historic seaside Town, and the son of Archie Selman and Laura (Weed) Knight. He could trace the history of his Marblehead family back to the 1600s. In 1775 onr of his direct ancestors commanded an American privateer vessel in a looting operation on Prince Edward Island.
Russell attended Marblehead publis schools and graduate from Essex Agricultural School before entering the real estate field during the Depression and investing in an industrial center in Lawrence.
He served for many years as president, treasurer and director of Everett Mill Properties, Inc. and treasurer and director of Sutton Hill Co., Inc., both in Lawrence. He also served as vice president and trustee of Essex Broadway Bank and chairman of the board of directors of Bay State Merchants National Bank, both in Lawrence, and he was director of the Massachusetts Electric Company and Essex Co. in Boston.
Mr. Knight served the Tow Of Marblehead as Chairman of the Marbelhead Sewer Commission. His many memberships inlcuded the American Antiquarian Society, Colonial Society of Massachusetts, the Essex Institute, Manuscript Society, and Lawrence Historical Committee. He was councilo of the Massachsuetts Historical Society,, vice president of the Marblehead Historical Society and trustee of the Peabody Institute in Salem and Washington Crossing Foundation.
He also belonged to the Algonquin Club, Club of Odd Volumes and Down Town Club, all of Boston.
In 1969, as 50 resident descended on Abbot HAll to protest a proposed 22-unit duplex housing development planned for West Shore Drive, Mr. Knight tol the Planning BOard he had purchased the 2-acre site and planned to keep the land in its natural state.
However, his donations of historical material were even more spectacular. He donated a collection of 350 historical manuscripts realting to Elbridge Gery, John Adams, Samuel Adams, and other patriots of the Revolutionary War to the Massachusetts Historical Society; an important painting of General John Glover, Marblehead hero of the Revolution, to Washington Crossing Park Commission in Pennsylvania; a collelction of maritime art to the Peabody Institute of Salem, so large that the museum dedicated a special section of its building to the collection.
His many contribution to the Town from his large collection of Marblehead Memorabilia include another portrait of General Glover and a rendering of "Washington Crossing The Deleware."
In 1989 he adopted the bronze statue of General John Glover which stands in the Commonwealth Avenue median strip in Boston, donating the funds to perpetually maintain it.
Mr. Knight's writings and lectures focused on the history of Marblehead and the area surrounding it. His crowning achievement was "The 'Headers In Life And Legend," which included a lifetime collection of historical vignettes as well as the Town's role in history. Proceeds from the book, which was published in Marblehead, were donated to a scholarship foundation.
Russell Knight was married to Martha Tibbetts (Alden), a former stage and motion picture actress in 1951. The couple had no children.