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Date Original



This scrapbook features items about William Leon Russell, his wedding to Gladys Opal English, travel images and postcards, news clippings, documents, ration tickets, and telegraphs relating to his life and military service. Additional topics include Dedicatory Ceremonies of War Memorial Park in Little Rock, Arkansas, with President Harry S. Truman, on June 11, 1949, and a Dogpatch U.S.A adult admission ticket.

Biographical/Historical Note

William Leon Russell (1914-2000) served in World War II and the Korean War. He ranks as the Arkansas National Guard soldier to receive the most Purple Hearts. He was awarded what amounts to eight Purple Hearts, represented by Purple Hearts from combat operations at the Aleutian Islands of Attu and Adack and the Battle of the Bulge in Germany, and a silver oak leaf cluster (representing five wounds) and two bronze oak leaf clusters (representing two additional wounds) from other combatives on the Western Front.

William Leon Russell was born July 26, 1914, near Cecil, Franklin County, Arkansas, one of five children, to James W. Russell and Belah Eubanks Russell. In the 1930s, he worked at the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) at Cass, Franklin County, Arkansas. He attended military camp at Fort Riley, Kansas, and joined the Arkansas National Guard in March of 1937.

He was awarded a football scholarship and attended Arkansas State Teachers College, during which time he was appointed 1940 team captain and selected for the 1940 All-State (NAIC) team. His national guard unit was mobilized on December 23, 1940 and was posted to the Aleutian Islands for combat operations. In 1943, Russell went to Camp Croft, South Carolina, where he met and married Gladys Opal English. They married on December 24, 1943 at Fort Benning, Georgia.

In July 1944 Russell was sent to France. While on the Western Front, he received eight notable wounds, seven of which count toward his Purple Hearts. Russell was medically evacuated to the United States where he went through rehabilitation and was honorably discharged on February 11, 1946. He was elected sheriff of Ozark, Franklin County, Arkansas, in 1946, and reelected in 1948.

In August 1950 Russell was mobilized for the Korean War, where he served six months prior to returning to Arkansas for the anticipated death of his father. Russell attended other military training programs and served post assignments throughout the United States and in Greece. He retired from the military on June 30, 1965. In the 1970s he went to work as a tax agent for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration in Fayetteville, Washington County, Arkansas. He retired from that job in 1986.

Russell died on October 9, 2000 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and is buried at the Fayetteville National Cemetery. He was posthumously inducted into the Arkansas Military Veterans' Hall of Fame in 2011.

Physical Description

Scrapbook, 12"x 14"


Purple Heart; World War, 1939-1945; Korean War, 1950-1953; Football; Sheriffs

Geographical Area

Little Rock, Pulaski County (Ark.) Fort Smith, Sebastian County (Ark.) Warrenton, Warren County (Geo.) Charleston, Franklin County (Ark.) Ciudad Juarez, Chichuahua, Mexico El Paso, El Paso County (Tex.)




MS.000865, Scrapbook 1

Resource Type



William Leon Russell papers, MS.000865

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

William Leon Russell papers scrapbook, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


Use and reproduction of images held by the Arkansas State Archives without prior written permission is prohibited. For information on reproducing images held by the Arkansas State Archives, please call 501-682-6900 or email at


Military History | United States History


The inside pages of select booklets and loose newspapers noted below have not been scanned.

ASA_MS000825_ Russell_William_scrapbook_005 – envelope originally empty

ASA_MS000825_Russell_William_scrapbook_014 – American Airlines booklet interior not scanned

ASA_MS000825_Russell_William_scrapbook_047 – “KOS the Motherland of Hippocrates” booklet interior not scanned

ASA_MS000825_Russell_William_scrapbook_048 – “ACROPOLIS” booklet interior not scanned

ASA_MS000825_Russell_William_scrapbook_049 – “Ruins of Paul’s World” booklet interior not scanned

Loose newspapers not digitized, but available in microfilm newspaper.

Arkansas Gazette – 1949-06-11; 1949-06-12; 1973-03-05

Arkansas Democrat – 1949-06-11; 1949-06-12

This collection contains additional loose ephemera not currently included with this item online.

An undated OV photograph depicting a large group of soldiers in uniform is included as a supplemental item.


image preview
William Leon Russell scrapbook, 1940-1974