Salt Lake City, Utah
Ada Dwyer Russell home
166 W. North Temple Street
Born in 1863, actress Ada Dwyer (later Russell) was raised as a Mormon. Her father, James Dwyer, had come west in a covered wagon and opened the first bookstore in the far west. He also helped found the Latter Day Saints University. The Dwyers’ residence is listed at this location on North Temple Street beginning in 1867, when Ada was four, but the building is no longer extant.
Ada grew up to be an actress who first performed at the Salt Lake Theater (corner of South First and State) and later on the Broadway and London stages. She married the British actor Harold Russell, and was later widowed. In 1912, she met poet Amy Lowell, a cigar-smoking butch 11 years her junior, at a women’s luncheon club in Boston. The two were instantly smitten; Lowell wrote that “between us lept a gold and scarlet flame.” Two years later, after much coaxing on Lowell‘s part, Russell moved into the Lowell family estate, Sevenels, in Brookline, Mass. She gave up her own career for Lowell‘s, organizing her partner’s life, and became the subject of Lowell‘s explicit lesbo-erotic poetry. Lowell died in 1925, leaving her fortune to Russell; still, Russell maintained until her own death in 1952 that the two of them had only been “friends.”