F. Russell Shenton was born in Pottstown, PA in 1894. He worked for a time at Lukens Steel in Coatesville, PA before forging a career in music. He studied music at Millersville State Normal School (now Millersville University, PA) for two years before enlisting in the army during World War I, where he served from 1917-1919 in the 316 Infantry, 79th Division, beginning as a Bugler and completing his service with the rank of Musician 1st Class. He earned a Victory Medal for his service in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Following his discharge, he continued studying music at West Chester State Normal School (now West Chester University, PA) and New York University. He taught music at Coatesville High School (PA) from 1920-26 and in New Jersey schools from 1927-1956. He died in 1959.
Shenton was invited to return to Coatesville to guest conduct the 1942 Pennsylvania All-State High School Chorus. For the event, he composed the choral work Men of Steel to honor the people and city of Coatesville where Lukens Steel, a mill notable for its workers' contributions to American industry, was located. Following its premiere, the music fell into obscurity until 2022, when research into Pennsylvania All-State music prompted locating and communicating with Shenton's daughter Susan and granddaughter Maggie. Remarkably, they still owned and graciously provided a handwritten manuscript of the work. It is the basis for the engraving of this edition.
Kelly, R. (2022). Russell Shenton: “Men of Steel”. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.wcupa.edu/appmusic_facpub/16