Anne Russ Federman


Anne Russ Federman,

Second Generation Russ


One of the original “Daughters.”

Now 87 years old and retired  in Florida


When were you born?

I was born in 1921 and graduated from Seward Park High School on the Lower East Side in 1938. I came to work in the store when I was 14. I wanted to go to the football games at school and spend time with my friends, but I had to work on the weekends.


Do you remember the Depression?

Of course! Everyone was in the same boat. Everyone was poor; we were poor, but at least we had food on the table.


What’s your favorite food here?

Nova, sturgeon, sable, Holland herring. When I get a craving for it, I call my grandkids, Josh and Niki, and they send it to me in Florida.


What are some funny memories you have from Russ & Daughters?

Zero Mostel announced to me one day that my father, Joel Russ, wanted him to be his son-in-law. I looked at him like he was crazy, which he was.


There was one customer who used to always make me laugh. He would say, in Yiddish, “Give me haf a fertel (literally “half a quarter” or 2 ounces) of lox. I’m having lots of company.”


What do remember about your father, Joel Russ, the founder of Russ & Daughters?

He was a hard taskmaster. He didn’t show affection.  When he was retired, he wore a very nice suit, used a cane, and had a seat in front of the counter. He would look around and if he saw something he didn’t like, he would say, “Na nish ga zoy,” (“not like this”).


What are some items that you sold at Russ & Daughters that you cannot find today?

Kapchunkas, oval cans of tomato herring (they were delicious), butterfish, shad, shemykas, tarankas.


What were some of your favorite spots on the Lower East Side?

Ratner’s on Delancey. They’re no longer there. My husband, Herb, and I used to go there once a week or so for breakfast before going to work.


Before I was married, my friend Basha and I would stroll up and down 2nd Avenue around the Royal Café, which used to cater to the people from the Yiddish theater.


When did you retire from Russ & Daughters?

In 1980 when my husband passed away. But for several years after that I would help out during the holidays.