Russell Herman Conwell (1843-1925) was an American Baptist minister, lawyer, writer, and outstanding orator. He was born in South Worthington, Massachusetts. He studied law at the Albany Law School and became a lawyer. He was a writer for the Boston Evening Traveller newspaper, first visiting and writing on civil war battlefields and then on an around-the-world trip on which he was inducted into the Chinese Freemasons. During the American Civil War he served in the union army from 1862-1864 and was commissioned a Captain. He was called to the pastorate of the Grace Baptist Church of Philadelphia in 1882. He is best remembered as the founder and first president of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and for his lecture and book Acres of Diamonds, and His Life and Achievements (1888), which originated as a speech which Conwell delivered over 6,000 times around the world. Amongst his other works are: The Life, Travels, and Literary Career of Bayard Taylor (1879), and The Romantic Rise of a Great American (1924).