Little is known about Charles H. Russell outside of his affiliation with what was known as the "Fred Gray Association," a group of men whom Ed Folsom and Ken Price characterize as "a loose confederation of young men who seemed anxious to explore new possibilities of male-male affection" (62). According to Stephanie Blalock, the Fred Gray Association met fequently at Pfaff's, in addition to other establishments located throughout New York City (50). However, any further connection to Pfaff's for Charles Russell outside of his possible membership in the Fred Gray Association can not be substantiated.
We do know, though, that he shared a friendship with Walt Whitman, who did frequent Pfaff's. From his correspondence “we can deduce that they were young men, that they drank and caroused together at Pfaff’s and elsewhere” (E. Miller, “Introduction” 11). By the 1870s, according to Whitman, Russell had "grown rich" and invited Whitman to dine with him in "a big house on Fifth avenue" (CW 2:108-09).
Whitman asks for news of him and his address in his March 19, 1863, letter to Bloom and Gray.[pages:204]
Whitman wishes to see Charley Russell and sends him his love.[pages:159]
Whitman mentions that he misses his dear friend Russell and asks Bloom to send him his love[pages:142]
The Vault at Pfaff's
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015