Click HERE to tour the Strauss's suite.
Isador Straus was born on Febuary 6, 1845 in Otterberg Germany to a Jewish family. At age 9, he and his family moved to Talbotton, Georgia. When the civil war broke out, they sold bonds and other things to the confederate soldiers and made a small profit. In 1889, Isador married Rosalie Ida Blun whom was born in 1849 in Worms, Germany. They had 6 children together and Mr. Straus was very successful in selling china and other trinkets in Macy's department store in partnership with his brother, Nathan. After Macy died, Macy's son was drunk all the time so Isador and his brother Nathan (Nathan later also co-owned Abraham and Straus along with Levi and Straus)bought the store, becoming co-owners since Macy willed that the store remain in the family. They became millionaires seemingly over night! Isador was even congressman (Democrat) from January 30, 1894-March 30, 1895. The Strauses went to Europe in 1912 for both a nice vacation, and to buy things for Macy's. One of the things that they bought, was a set of china which they sent on ahead and is in my family. They were traveling home after a wonderful time, and were coming home on the Titanic. The Strauses were very appealing to the millionaires on board not just because he was the co-owner of Macy's, but because he and his wife were very respectable and well known throughout the societies of England, New York, and Philadelphia. Isador was worth $50 million dollars because of owning Macy’s. But on the fourth night of April 14th, 1912, the Strauses were talking with the Wideners, when they felt a little bump and the Strauses went up on deck. They saw the lifeboats being lowered. A man offered a place in the boat for Mr. Straus because of his age, but he refused. Then when Ida stepped in the lifeboat, then stepped out and said, “We have been together for many years. Where you go, I go!” Like Ruth and Naomi in the bible, this convinced Isador. They let their maid, Ellen Bird onto a lifeboat. They were last seen on deck holding hands on deck. Isador's body was recovered by the Mackey Bennet. There were 40,000 people at their funeral/memorial service. In the 1997 movie Rose, Cal, and Ruth occupy the Strauss suite. They were portrayed in a scene where Ida refused to leave her husband, but got cut. They were in a later scene in the bed (which didn't happen). There's a memorial to them in New York and also a school. That's also where Isador is buried. Ida's body was unfortunately never recovered.