US Congressman, Entrepreneur. He and his younger brother Nathan were co-owner of the New York City department store, H.R. Macy's. 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 American 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, the family left Georgia, eventually settling in New York City. He started 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, he soon became partners in Macy's in 1888 and in 1896, they became the sole owners of Macy's, taking over the company. He 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 United States 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. His wife 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. His brother Nathan and his wife had gone on the trip with them but decided to take another ship home. 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.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson
Many waters cannot quench love - neither can the floods drown it.