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Memories of Tufts: Donald J. Winslow (A'34) Remembers

Two Families

For nearly a half century two families were interlocked by their Tufts relationship. It all began when James Porter Russell (1898) and Guy Monroe Winslow (Tufts 1895 and Ph.D. 1898) were both members of Delta Upsilon Fraternity. Russell came from Maine and Winslow from Vermont. Both married young women from their local areas, Russell in 1902 and Winslow in 1903. Each had four children in the same pattern : boy, girl, boy, girl. All eight of their children attended and graduated from Tufts before it became a University. Both families raised their children in Newton, Massachusetts. Russell was a lawyer in Boston (Russell, Houston, and Russell). Houston was a Tufts Professor and head of athletics there ("Pop" Houston). Winslow who was one of the earliest Ph.D.s at Tufts (Biology) had hoped to become a physician, but he had an opportunity to teach Science at Lasell Seminary for Young Women in order to earn money for ±his college debts and to marry Clara Austin of Orleans, Vermont. Little did he realize that his life would become totally absorbed in Lasell Junior College as it later became.

Both Russell and Winslow became lifetime trustees of Tufts, closely connected with their fellow Tufts graduate John Cousens. The two families became near neighbors in Turner, Maine: one place was the former home of Edith Pratt (Mrs. Russell) called Shornecliffe Farm for the street where they lived in Newton; the other, Hilltop Farm, an early dwelling (1805) on one of the highest points in Androscoggin County was bought by Dr. Winslow in 1918. Every summer from 1918 to the 1930s the two families worked and played together. Francis Russell, the oldest of the eight children and the only one then in college, used to take the younger ones riding in his big touring car and taught them to sing all the Tufts songs. They would go to one of the two local churches where popular silent movies were shown, though some time a whole reel might mistakenly be shown upside down! They saw Clara Bow, the "It" girl and had great difficulty explaining to their parents what "It" meant.

The marriage of the oldest Winslow son, Richard, and the oldest Russell daughter, Portia, brought the two families closer, especially after they had a son appropriately named Russell Winslow, who lives today in New Castle, New Hampshire. Of the eight children who graduate from Tufts in the period from 1926 to 1937, five married Tufts graduates. In addition to Richard ' 30 and Portia '29, Francis (Jimmy) Russell '26, the eldest son, married Ruth Libby '31, Marjorie Winslow '31 married Chemistry major, Norman MacCuspie '31, and Robert Russell '31 married Jean Lowry x'31.Three of the eight were elected to Phi Beta Kappa. All the men were members of Delta Upsilon and all the girls joined Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority. Two became editors of the college weekly newspaper: Francis Russell in 1925/26 and Donald Winslow in 1933-34. The Tufts Press printers shop was run by the Whittemore family in the old railroad station at the bottom of the north campus hill. Learning how to print, use linotype and frames and set headings, along with weekly editorials and pictorial arrangement meant sometime cutting classes, but it proved an education in itself.

The careers of all the Tufts graduates were distinguished: lawyers, professors, diplomats, and business men. Of the eight graduates, the most distinguished was Francis Russell, class of 1926. He worked for the United States government, especially under Rockefeller, in various foreign countries from Tel Aviv to Ghana. He became American Ambassador to New Zealand and Tunisia. He lectured at the Fletcher School and at his death a well attended memorial service was held at the Tufts Chapel where his daughter, Alene Russell Hochschild, a well known writer on women and a professor at Berkley married to writer, Adam Hochschild, gave a moving tribute to her father.

Marjorie Winslow married another highly successful Tufts graduate, Norman E. MacCuspie who had majored in Chemistry. He began dating Marjorie, who had become a teacher of Biology at Lasell Junior College, after their graduation from college. They were married on March 27, 1935. Although they had four children, only one attended Tufts for a year. Norman worked for the state of Massachusetts, but after several years invented in his home a paint that was fast drying and both water and acid proof. Named Prufcoat, it was increasingly used in the industrial world especially in chemical furnaces and on domes such as the Science Museum. During World War II, Norman became part of the Manhattan project working on the atomic bomb where his paint was also used. After the war, he sold the formula to Occidental Petroleum. He later gave a major gift to Tufts in memory of Marjorie after her death.

J. Porter Russell died young in 1931. His widow returned to live on the Maine farm with her daughter Elizabeth. Unfortunately, after Mrs. Russell died and Elizabeth married, the house full of family heirlooms, the big barn, and the attached sheds all were completely destroyed by fire one windy day when Elizabeth and her husband were away in Boston. Dr. Guy Winslow retired from the presidency of Lasell Junior College in 1947 and moved with his wife Clara to Medfield, Massachusetts, where he died in 1957 just months following her death. Of the eight children only two are still alive as of 2007, both in their mid-nineties: Donald J. Winslow, Professor Emeritus at Boston University, and Elizabeth Russell Shaw, a former primary school teacher. For two generations, the Tufts experience had been of major importance to the Russell and Winslow families.

-- Written by Donald Winslow in 2007.