Russell's wife Hattie, was from a prominent black family in New York. Her mother was a childhood friend of Maggie Walker. Hattie enrolled in a Columbia University summer bookeeping class to become a professional. Hattie's education afforded her the opportunity to work as a typist in a noted African American realty office, as well as in W.E.B. Dubois's The Crisis office. Her considerable experience culminated in Hattie becoming the Right Worthy Grand Secretary-Treasurer of the I.O. of St. Luke after Maggie L. Walker's death.