Who was Isidor Straus?
Isidor Straus was an American businessman and politician. Along with his brother, he was a co-owner of the department store R. H. Macy and Company. He was also a member of the United States House of Representatives for a year. He died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic, along with his wife Ida. Born into a Jewish family in the kingdom of Bavaria, he immigrated to the United States along with his family when he was around nine years of age. His father established several businesses including the department store R. H. Macy & Co. After being involved in it for several years, Isidor and his brother Nathan gained full ownership of the store. As a politician he served as a U.S. Congressman for some time. He was also president of a social institution named 'The Educational Alliance'. The US President Grover Cleveland had offered him the post of Postmaster General, which he declined. He died at the age of 67 in the sinking of the RMS Titanic, along with his wife Rosalie Ida Blun.
Isidor Straus began his career working at L. Straus & Sons, which was established by his father. They opened outlets in big department stores in Chicago, Boston, and Philadelphia. Straus and his brother also became partners with Macy's in 1888. Together they managed to turn Macy's into the biggest department store in the world. Along with his brother Nathan, he gained full ownership of R. H. Macy & Co. by 1896. For several years, the brothers controlled a Brooklyn department store as well.
Straus was a good friend of the US President Grover Cleveland. In 1892, he was involved with Cleveland’s reelection. As a democrat, he served as a US Congressman from January to March 1895. He was a representative of New York’s 15th congressional district. He also served as a president of The Educational Alliance, an important social institution. President Grover had offered him the post of Postmaster General, which he declined. He was also one of the directors of the Mutual Alliance Trust Company which was opened for business in New York.
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Isidor Straus married Rosalie Ida Blun in 1871. The couple were quite devoted to each other, and remained together till their death in 1912. They had seven children. Death on the Titanic
Isidor Straus and his wife were passengers on the RMS Titanic when they were travelling back from a winter vacation in Europe. The Titanic unfortunately hit an iceberg at around 11:40 pm on 14 April 1912. Although Isidor was offered a seat in a lifeboat, he refused as there were still other people aboard. His wife also refused to be separated from her husband and said that she wanted to die together with him just as they had lived together. The couple died when the Titanic sank at 2:20 am.
His body was found and buried in the Straus-Kohns Mausoleum. It was moved to the Straus Mausoleum in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York, in 1928. However, his wife’s body was never found. Three other memorials were also built in their adopted home in New York City.
The couple and their undying devotion to each other till the very end has been portrayed in multiple films including the famous 1997 Oscar-winning film ‘Titanic’ by renowned filmmaker James Cameron.