Like thousands of others around the world, author Michelle Russell became of fan
of Judy Garland after seeing "The Wizard of Oz".
In early adulthood, while pursuing a singing career of her her own, Michelle met all three of
Miss Garland's children.
In 1995, at the request of the Judy Garland Birthplace, Ms. Russell began to research the songs the Gumm
Family had sung in vaudeville. This research led to a book, "Musical Memories - Songs the Gumm Family Sang (1895
After doing a musical presentation of her own at the Judy Garland Birthplace in Grand Rapids, Minnesota,
Michelle Russell wrote and directed a living history program for the special occasion celebrating the 75th anniversary of
Judy Garland's birth. These shows were attended by Miss Garland's husband, Sid Luft, son, Joe Luft, as well as cousins,
Munchkins and others who had known the Gumm family.
In 2002, twenty of the 'Gumm songs' Miss Russell had unearthed were recorded and released
on a CD titled, "Made In America - Vaudeville Songs". A new version of this recording was released in the fall of 2005
to critical aclaim.
From 2002 - 2003, Ms. Russell and the artists from the Made In America CD performed a
narrated musical tribute to the Gumms for audiences in New York and New Jersey. These shows received great reviews
by all who attended them.
Ms. Russell has spent over twelve years researching, interviewing and writing this fascinating
history of Judy Garland's intriguing ancestry.