The Origin of the Russell Vermontiana Collection

The Russell Vermontiana Collection is the result of more than seven decades of a lifelong love of local history by Dr. George A. Russell of Arlington, Vermont. Known primarily to the world as the “Family Doctor” depicted in the famous Norman Rockwell painting, and cherished locally as the wise physician who served area residents from 1911 until his death in 1968, Doctor Russell devoted his remaining time to learning and to gathering reference materials, particularly those focusing on local history.

Dr. Russell’s appetite for collecting eventually exhausted the available storage space in his home. The people of Arlington were aware of the need to preserve their heritage and, on the Doctor’s 75th birthday, offered to finance the building of a structure for his entire collection. Dr. Russell determined the best location was in the existing Martha Canfield Library, which at the time was housed at the Arlington Community House on Rt. 7A.

Here, through the diligent work of volunteers, the Collection grew considerably, especially after it moved, with the library, in 1996 to a new location on East Arlington Road. Now in a climate controlled room on the library’s second floor, Dr. Russell’s collection has expanded to include over 6000 books, journals, diaries, account books, documents, photographs, maps, vital records, family histories and various ephemera.