Leila Russell (1871-1963) was a 1889 graduate of Winthrop and later was a professor of education and alumni secretary at Winthrop College from 1895 to 1945. Ms. Russell founded the Winthrop campus King’s Daughters Circle in 1895 which later became the college Young Woman’s Christian Association (YWCA). She also organized several Rural School Improvement Associations which later merged into Parent Teacher Associations. She was the first county supervisor of education in South Carolina. As such, Ms. Russell helped to inaugurate field day in schools. She led York County rural schools to see what consolidation could mean to education and the demonstration in York county led other counties to go and do likewise. She also centered attention on the need of public provision for transportation or rural children to school in York County.
The Leila Russell Papers consists of a journal kept by Russell which formed the basis for a report to the Southern Education Board, describing conditions at various school houses in Anderson County, South Carolina. There are also photographs of school houses in Anderson and Marion Counties.