Louise M. Russell, ESA Fellow (1951)

Louise M. Russell (deceased 15 May 2009) was elected as Fellow in 1951. During, and beyond, her 48-year career with the USDA, she contributed to the scientific community through her work in the systematics of aphids, whiteflies, psyllids, and scale insects.

Miss Russell was born on 6 May 1905 in Crown Point, NY. She grew up on a farm with five brothers and one sister. Beginning her studies at Cornell University in 1922, she received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in 1926 and 1927, respectively. She began working for the USDA in 1927 as an aid to Dr. Harold Morrison, mounting scale insects. Throughout her subsequent career with the USDA she was promoted often: junior entomologist in 1929, assistant entomologist in 1938, associate entomologist in 1944, entomologist in 1946, senior entomologist in 1953, and research entomologist in 1962. After retirement in 1975 (mandatory at age 70), she continued to work over 25 years without pay as a collaborator with the Systematic Entomology Laboratory.

The accomplishments of Miss Russell include the determination of thousands of aphid, psyllid, whitefly, and scale insect specimens for use in quarantine programs, pest control, regulatory entomology, and systematics research. She published 106 papers, including descriptions of 84 new species of pit scales (Asterolecanium spp.), 63 species and 4 genera of whiteflies, and two species of psyllids. A renowned aphidologist, Miss Russell clarified many aphid species identification and nomenclatural problems, especially for agricultural pests.

Throughout her career, Miss Russell remained very involved in professional entomological societies, and received recognition for her service. She became president-elect and president of the Entomological Society of Washington in 1965 and 1966, respectively, honorary member in 1985, and then honorary president of the Entomological Society of Washington in 1999.  In ESA, she served as Chair of the ESA Editorial Board of the Thomas Say Foundation from 1958–1959, Chair-Elect of ESA Section A in 1958, was awarded the ESA Eastern Branch L. O. Howard Award in 1969, and became an ESA Honorary Member in 1985. She was additionally active as a member of the Biological Society of Washington, the Entomological Society of Florida, and the Washington Academy of Sciences.

She also spent much time helping others. She served on several graduate student committees as an adjunct professor at North Carolina State University. She was involved in many international events, including 10 International Congresses of Entomology, and did field research in Puerto Rico, El Salvador, India, Pakistan, and Colombia. In appreciation for her help, she was honored with patronyms in at least 3 genera and 23 species. The high regard the scientific community held for Miss Russell and her work is apparent in the attendance of her 100th birthday celebration, which included scientists from all over the world. She lived to be 104.

(Updated May, 2012)