Queer Places:
166 W N Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84103, Stati Uniti
Salt Lake City Cemetery, 200 N St E, Salt Lake City, UT 84103

Ada Dwyer Russell (1863–1952), was an actress[2]:38 who performed on stage in Broadway and London and became the muse to her poet lover Amy Lowell.[7]

Dwyer was born in 1863 to a recently baptized Mormon Salt Lake City bookkeeper James Dwyer and his wife Sara Ann Hammer.[2]:51[8]:173 In 1893 at the age of thirty she married Boston-born actor[9] Harold Russell (lived 1859–1927),[10][2]:51 and they had a daughter Lorna the next year. Their marriage fell apart soon after Lorna's birth and they entered a lifelong separation, though, never legally divorcing.[11] Although no record exists of Dwyer renouncing the Mormon religion she was raised in, she ceased involvement,[2]:51 and her father was asked to resign in 1913 by top leaders after telling other Salt Lake members that same-sex sexual activity was not a sin.[8]:428

Nearly two decades after separating from Russell, she met writer Amy Lowell in 1912 while on an acting tour in Boston for a play.[5]:xl Dwyer moved in with Lowell in 1914 and their long-term lesbian relationship, or "Boston marriage" (the term for a 19th-century romantic female relationship) would last over a decade until Lowell's death in 1925.[12] Lowell lovingly referred to Dwyer as "the lady of the moon"[13] and loved Dwyer's daughter and grandchildren as her own.[14] Unfortunately, most of the primary document letters of communication between the two were destroyed by Ada at Amy's request, leaving much unknown about the details of their life together[2]:47 as they had to hide the nature of their relationship.[13]

Russell was the subject of many of Lowell's poems,[15] and Lowell wanted to dedicate her books to Dwyer who refused except for one time in a non-poetry book in which Lowell wrote, "To A.D.R., This, and all my books. A.L."[16] Examples of these love poems to Dwyer include the Taxi, Absence,[2]:xxi In a Garden, Madonna of the Evening Flowers,[14] Opal,[17] and Aubade.[13] Amy admitted to John Livingston Lowes that Dwyer was the subject of her series of romantic poems titled "Two Speak Together".[18][19] Lowell's poems about Dwyer have been called the most explicit and elegant lesbian love poetry during the time between the ancient Sappho and poets of the 1970s.[13]


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/queerplaces/images/Ada_Dwyer_Russell