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Janet Russell (1886-1981) with her cat, Sir Thomas Gray
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The plump and happy cat in the lap of Janet Russell was probably named after an eminent British poet (1716-1771) whose most famous work, "Elegy in a Country Churchyard," was popular in the mid-19th century. Janet was the only child of Kate (Shumway) and William Delano Russell. The family spent the summers at Turners Falls, Massachusetts, about ten miles from Sunderland, where William was born. They spent their winters in New York City, New York, where Janet's father was an executive for the International Paper Company (as its auditor). By the mid-1890s, when this picture was taken, it was easy for prosperous people to have summer homes far from their place of work. The railroads were well developed, and the Russells could have made it from New York to Greenfield with just a half day's travel. Janet would spend most of her life in and near Turners Falls. She died in 1981 in nearby Greenfield, Massachusetts.
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