Date posted:  January 27, 2016

The collection was amassed by Russell biographer Homer Britzman (including material kept by Nancy Russell the artist’s widow) over several decades following the artist’s death in 1926. Prior to the acquisition of the Russell Research Collection by The University of Tulsa in 2009, the collection had been housed in Colorado Springs since the early 1970s.

The Russell Research Collection consists of original sketches and drawings, illustrated letters and envelopes by Russell, volumes of letters to and from Russell, photographs and negatives of Russell and various celebrities, photographs of Russell’s artwork, documentation of artwork, writings by Russell, albums of newspaper clippings and printed ephemera related to Russell, Russell family albums, and personal effects including paints, palettes, hand molded sculptures, spurs, western dress, hats, and Indian artifacts, as well as his famous ivory-handled, Colt Six-shooter.

The research collection provides insight into Russell’s artistic process through the hundreds of sketches and drawings that he used to create his finished works. The material also provides an excellent archive on the business of art in Russell’s time, particularly his relationship with clients for his fine art as well as illustrations for magazines and books. The collection also documents the efforts of Nancy Russell to perpetuate her husband’s place in American art. An inside view of the artist’s personal life also can be seen through the extensive collection of family photographs and documents.