February 6, 1845 – April 15, 1912
Isidor Straus Background
Isidor Straus (also known as Isadore Strauss), whose wife chose to perish with him on the ship, was brother of Nathan and Oscar Straus, a partner with Nathan Straus in R.H. Macy & Co (Macy's Department Store) and L. Straus & Sons, a member of the firm of Abraham & Straus in Brooklyn, and had been well known in politics and charitable work. He was a member of the Fifty-third Congress from 1893 to 1895, and as a friend of William L. Wilson was in constant consultation in the matter of the former Wilson tariff bill.
Mr Straus was conspicious for his workers of charity and was an ardent supporter of every enterprise to improve the conditions of the Jewish immigrants. He was president of the Education Alliance, vice president of the J. Hood Wright Memorial Hospital, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, on one of the visiting committees of Harvard University, and was also a trustee of many financial and philanthropic institutions.
Mr Straus never enjoyed a college education, He was, however, one of the best informed men of the day, his information having been derived from extensive reading. His library, was his pride and his place of special recreation.
"Darby and Joan" Die on the Titanic
The Straus's were returning home from Germany when they boarded the ill fated Titanic. Their story is one of the most heartfelt of the tragedy. Married for over 40 years Mrs Ida Straus refused to enter the lifeboat without her beloved husband. The kindly Officer in charge of the lifeboat offered Mr Straus a seat on the vessel to be with his wife, but he flatly refused, not willing to go ahead of the other men. Despite numerous attempts by the crew to get Mrs Straus into the lifeboat, she held firm. Mr and Mrs Straus's seat was given to their maid, Ellen Bird, but a stubborn Mrs Straus continued refusing, saying "We lived together, so we shall die together". The two are believed to have stood together arm in arm on the first cabin deck as the Titanic sunk. Isidor Straus's body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx but Ida's body was never recovered.
The couple were so devoted to each other they were known as the Darby and Joan ("a happily married couple who lead a placid, uneventful life.") of American Society People.
Mr Straus was a close friend of President Cleveland (24th President of the United States) who died a few years prior to the sinking.