Russell Vincent Dye (1907-1979) Family Papers (KC0225)
Russell Dye was born to Alexander V. (ca. 1876-1956) and Ida Miller Dye (1873-1969) in Liberty, Missouri. He had an younger sister, Margaret Louise (Luisita). Dye's maternal grandfather, Robert Miller, owned the Liberty Tribune newspaper and built the family home, Forest Hill, in which Dye spent most of his life.
Alexander Dye received his A. B. (1901) and A. M. (1902) from William Jewell College, where he was also Head of the Modern Language department from 1904-1909. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig in 1904. Beginning in 1909, he worked for the Federal government in several positions, including Special Assistant in the Department of State, Consul for the American Consular Service, and representative of the War Trade Board. During his service, he was stationed in various countries including Norway, England, Germany (Berlin), and Mexico. At times, his family lived with him in Europe, Mexico, and Argentina, and the children attended school in London in the early 1920's. Alexander and Ida Dye divorced about 1930, after which Alexander and Ida apparently no longer communicated, though he continued to correspond on a limited basis with the children.
Russell Dye attended Dulwich College in London, and then William Jewell College for one term in 1924. He briefly attended law school in 1928. During World War II, Dye served in the Army as a clerk typist in Louisiana and Washington, D.C. He eventually was promoted to the rank of private first class. Following the war, Dye returned to the family home to live with his mother. Dye spent the remainder of his days attempting to invent a number of mechanical devices and products. These projects included a steam bus, gasoline rail cars, a multiple combustion chamber engine, a movie film reel belt, and a wickless oil stove. Though he corresponded frequently with the U.S. patent office and with potential manufacturers, his products were never completed or manufactured. Dye also dabbled unsuccessfully in get-rich-quick schemes, some of which involved oil wildcatting, reselling cars, lumber sales, oil well and coal mine investments, and airplane financing. Dye served as head of the Clay County branch of the Selective Service System from 1948 until 1972. He also was commander of Liberty's American Legion Post, and president of the Clay County Historical Society in the 1950's.
This collection consists of the personal papers of the Alexander Dye family and primarily contains family correspondence (including Dye's letters from overseas, and daughter Luisita's letters to her family from the 1930s through the 1970s). Much of the collection concerns Russell, a would-be inventor and entrepreneur, and includes his World War II and U.S. patent office correspondence. 1850-1980.
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Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Western Historical Manuscript Collection-Kansas City
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