The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

February 6, 2016

February 6, 1845

Of Isidor Straus (February 6, 1845 to April 15, 1912) and his wife we read

In the musical "Titanic," the Strauses have the big second- act number, "Still," in which Isidor sings to Ida of their lifelong love affair. In the James Cameron blockbuster movie, the Strauses are shown in their cabin, holding each other as the water rushes in.

Am I the only one who finds Cameron's mucousy sentimentality unwatchable? Fortunately we don't need it to fill in more details about the Strauses.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica we learn

The Straus family originated in Otterberg, Bavaria (Germany), from which Lazarus Straus, the patriarch, immigrated to the United States in 1852. He settled at Talbotton, Georgia, where he was joined by his wife and three sons, Isidor, Nathan, and Oscar Solomon. 

Isidor Strauss made a lot of money as co-owner of Macy's Department Store

His brother Oscar Solomon
[Straus went on to become] ... the first Jewish member of a U.S. cabinet and represented the United States in Turkey under three administrations.

Isidor and Ida Strauss were particularly close as a married couple. Less is known of Ida and so we mention that

Rosalie Ida Blun was born in 1849 in Worms, Germany to Nathan Blun (1815–1879) and his wife Wilhelmine "Mindel" Freudenberg (1814–1868). She was the fifth of seven children .... She emigrated to the United States with her family.

In 1871, Ida Blun married Isidor Straus (1845–1912), a German-American businessman. She and Isidor had seven children together:....

Isidor and Ida Straus traveled with their fifteen-year-old granddaughter Beatrice Straus to Europe in early 1912 aboard the HAPAG liner Amerika. The elder Strauses left their grandchild in Germany and, although they normally traveled aboard German ships only, fatally decided to make their return voyage to the United States on the newly commissioned RMS Titanic....

His gallantry and her fidelity at the end is a touching story and might be true.  A minor aspect of his estate is this bookplate, from which we glimpse his vision of the world.

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