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 Isidor Straus

Isidor Straus

Otterberg, Landkreis Kaiserslautern, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Death 15 Apr 1912 (aged 67)
At Sea
Burial Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Plot F-4 Myosotis
Memorial ID 3678 · View Source
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US Congressman, Macy's Department Store Owner and merchant. However, he is best remembered for his dignified manner of death aboard the RMS Titanic, which sank in the North Atlantic after striking an iceberg. Born in Otterberg, Germany, of a cultivated family, his father, a successful merchant suffered from political repression and emigrated with the family in 1852, setting up a general store in Talbotton, Georgia. Young Isidor was educated in local public schools, and during the Civil War, he was sent to Europe to purchase blockade running ships to bring merchant goods through the Union blockade to the south. When the plan was abandoned, Straus was left stranded in London, England, with $1,200. Working diligently on the London stock exchange, he soon turned that money into $12,000, returning home after the war to set up a business with his father, importing English crockery. The merchant firm of L. Straus and Son did very well, and it 1874, they worked a deal with the R. H. Macy's company to sell their crockery in Macy's basement. With his brother Nathan, Isidor soon became partners in Macy's and in 1896, they became the sole owners of Macy's, taking over the company. Isidor would organize and run the store, while his brother Nathan would be the "idea man." The two brothers expanded the store into a nationwide chain, soon to become the largest department store in the world. While the Straus family would diversify their financial interests, the Macy's Department Store would remain their principal financial resource. Straus served in Congress from 1893 to 1895, but fell out of favor with the Democratic party over the issue of Free Silver. When the RMS Titanic sailed from England, he was returning from a vacation with his wife. After striking an iceberg, the crew began loading the women into lifeboats, refusing to let the men join their families. Mrs. Rosalie Straus refused to leave her husband on the sinking ship, and told him, "We have been together for many years. Where you go, I go;" this comment was overheard by several surviving witnesses. They were last seen together on the deck of the ship. After the sinking, the body of Isidor Straus was recovered by the British cargo ship "Mackay-Bennett," chartered by the White Star Line for the purpose of recovering as many of the dead as possible. Mrs Straus's body was never found. Isidor was buried in the Beth-el Cemetery, in Brooklyn, New York.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 17 Oct 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3678
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Isidor Straus (6 Feb 1845–15 Apr 1912), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3678, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .