Samuel Wadsworth Russell House
The Samuel Wadsworth Russell House was built in 1828 for its namesake. Russell owned the largest American-Chinese trading company in the country.
Backstory and Context
Samuel Wadsworth Russell was born on August 25, 1789. He founded his company in 1824 in Canton, China, becoming one of the few Americans to establish a business in China. Although Russell left in 1836 to return to the United States, his company maintained its dominance over its competitors until its closing in 1891. Thanks in large part to Russell, the United States was able to successfully challenge Britain's control of the Chinese market, which consisted primarily of silk, tea, and opium trade.
Ithiel Town, one of the country's best architects, designed the house. He was a big advocate for the Greek Revival style and the house is an exceptional example of his work. Thanks to Town's influence, the Greek Revival style spread around the country during the antebellum (pre-Civil War) period.
The Town family owned the house until 1937 when they deeded it to Wesleyan. It was home to the Honors College until 1996.
Cunningham, Jan. "Russell, Samuel Wadsworth, House." National Park Service - National Historic Landmark Nomination Form. August 7, 2001. https://www.nps.gov/nhl/find/statelists/ct/Russell.pdf.
"Russell House." Wesleyan University. Accessed July 31, 2018. http://www.wesleyan.edu/eventsandconferences/weddings/russell_house.html.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons