Ruth Derham

Biographer & Social Historian

with particular interest in the Victorian Divorce Court

Ruth Derham

New Release

To Be Frank

In 1916, Frank Russell - grandson of former British Prime Minister Lord John Russell and member of one the most illustrious of aristocratic families - publicly declared himself 'a socialist and strong individualist'. Neither were usual for a peer of the realm. But then was anything about Frank conventional? From his sending down from Oxford for supposed homosexual practices, to his ten year cause célèbre in the divorce courts, his trial for bigamy in the House of Lords and his subsequent campaigns for divorce law reform, women's suffrage, motorists' rights and birth control, Frank followed his own rebellious path. Read all about his diverse campaigns in his own words in this collection from his desk which reveal his 'frankness', thoughtfulness and humanity and wonder how it is you've probably never heard of him.

To Be Frank: The Politics and Polemics of a Radical Russell by Ruth Derham [cover].jpg

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Frank Russell led a colourful and eventful existence, which has too long been overshadowed by that of his younger brother Bertrand. Ruth Derham has done an exemplary job of detailing Frank's controversial life and ably demonstrates that he was an important figure in his own right, deserving of such attention.

Tim Madigan, ex-President of the Bertrand Russell Society

Praise & Reviews for 'Bertrand's Brother'

Ruth Derham is a fine writer. This book has given me a much broader perspective on the period and filled out well people I knew abstractly. It has given me a richer perspective on Santayana too.

Martin Coleman, Director and Editor of the Santayana Edition

Frank's history is related in a convincing and clear way with a thoroughness of research that requires real dedication. I particularly admire the interwoven explanations of background issues at appropriate places and the discussions of legal issues which were easy for me, a layman, to follow.

John G. Slater, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto and Editor of five volumes of The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell

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About Ruth Derham

After a career in business and higher education, Ruth Derham fulfilled a long ambition to write with the publication of Bertrand's Brother in 2021. She now dedicates herself full-time to writing. Her most recent release is a companion volume - To Be Frank - a selection of Frank's diverse writing and speeches. She is co-editor of The Complete Winchester Letters of Lionel Johnson (due Spring 2023); and is currently researching the history of the divorce court for a forthcoming book on its intrigues in the decadence era. 

Forthcoming Appearances

H.G. Wells Society Conference: Experiments in Autobiography

15 Oct 2022, 2pm - 6pm, online.

“Wells and Russell In Love: An Examination of the Connections between H. G. Wells, Frank Russell and Elizabeth von Arnim."

Sponsored by the Bertrand Russell Society and the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation:

Virtual Book Launch: “To Be Frank: The Politics and Polemics of a Radical Russell."

22 Oct 2022, 1pm EST, online.

Register here