Boston Post Obituary for Russell Conwell
Gave Away Millions, Dies Poor.
Dr. Conwell, Famous Clergyman, Earned over $11,000,000.
Philadelphia, Dec. 6 (AP).— The Rev. Dr. Russell C. Conwell, renowned Baptist clergyman, founder and president of Temple University, lecturer, author and philanthropist, died early today after a long illness. Conscious until the end, Dr. Conwell bade good-by to his only daughter, Mrs. Anna Luttell, and several close friends who had been summoned to his bedside, and then passed quietly away. He was 82 years old.
Son Somerville Man.
Dr. Conwell has been in failing health for more than a year. About 10 weeks ago he was operated upon for cancer of the bladder. For a time he appeared to be growing stronger and hope for his recovery was held out. He took a turn for the worse yesterday and died at 2:05 a.m. today His only son, Leon Conwell, Mayor-elect of Somerville, Mass., and editor of the Somerville Journal, was unable to reach here before death came.
Funeral arrangements had not been completed tonight, but member of his family said he probably would be buried Wednesday at Worthington, Mass., where his first wife is buried. The body will lie in state Tuesday night at Baptist Temple, one of the largest churches in the country and of which Dr. Conwell was pastor.
Over $11,000,000 to Charity.
Although Dr. Conwell had earned more than $11,000,000 on the lecture platform, he is believed to have died almost penniless, having given all his earning to charity. Only recently he mortgaged his home and used the money for improvements at the Samaritan Hospital of which he was the founder. He also was the founder of Garretson Hospital in this city and had been a large contributor to both institutions.
Dr. Conwell was often called the penniless millionaire." He was said to have addressed more people as a public speaker than any contemporary at the time of his death.
$4,000,000 From One Lecture.
He memorized 28 lectures, all of which he gave without notes, and had delivered his famous lecture, "Acres of Diamonds," 6152 times, the first time being when he was 16 years old. From this lecture alone he earned approximately $4,000,000. In addition to founding Temple University, of which he was president at the time of his death, and the Baptist Temple, he was founder of two hospitals in this city, the Samaritan and the Garretson.
Born in South Worthington, Mass., Feb. 15, 1843, he was educated at Wilbraham Academy and Yale. Enlisting in the Civil War as a captain in the 46th Massachusetts Infantry, he rose to the rank of colonel and was wounded. After the war he practiced law and founded a newspaper in Minnesota.
Entering the ministry in 1879, his first charge was at Lexington, Mass., where he remained for several years before moving to Philadelphia.