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Colored portrait of Ida Straus, ca. 1910/1911
Rosalie Ida Blun
February 6, 1849
|Died||April 15, 1912 (aged 63)|
RMS Titanic, Atlantic Ocean
|Spouse(s)||Isidor Straus (1871–1912)|
|Children||Jesse Isidor Straus|
Clarence Elias Straus
Percy Seldon Straus
Sara (Straus) Hess
Minnie (Straus) Weil
Hebert Nathan Straus
Vivian (Straus) Dixon
|Relatives||King Princess (great-great-grandchild)|
Rosalie Ida Straus (née Blun; February 6, 1849 – April 15, 1912) was an American homemaker and wife of the co-owner of the Macy's department store. She and her husband, Isidor, died on board the RMS Titanic.
Rosalie Ida Blun was born in 1849 in Worms, Germany, to Nathan Blun (1815–1879) and his wife Wilhelmine "Mindel" (née Freudenberg; 1814–1868). She was the fifth of seven children, including Amanda (1839–1907), Elias Nathan (1842–1878), Louis (1843–1927), Augusta Carolina (1845–1905), Moritz (1850–1858) and Abraham Blun (1853–1881). She emigrated to the United States with her family.[when?]
- Jesse Isidor Straus (1872–1936) who married Irma Nathan (1877–1970), and served as U.S. Ambassador to France, 1933–1936
- Clarence Elias Straus (1874–1876) who died in infancy
- Percy Selden Straus (1876–1944) who married Edith Abraham (1882–1957)
- Sara Straus (1878–1960) who married Dr. Alfred Fabian Hess (1875–1933)
- Minnie Straus (1880–1940) who married Dr. Richard Weil (1876–1917)
- Herbert Nathan Straus (1881–1933) who married Therese Kuhnt (1884–1977)
- Vivian Straus (1886–1974) first married Herbert Adolph Scheftel (1875–1914) and second, in 1917, married George A. Dixon Jr. (1891–1956)
The couple was considered especially close by their friends and family; when Isidor traveled as part of his duties as a U.S. Representative for New York or as co-owner of Macy's, they exchanged letters daily.
Ida spent the winter of 1911/1912 in Europe with her beloved husband Isidor. They originally planned to return home on a different ship, but switched to Titanic due to a coal strike in England that caused the coal from other ships to be diverted to Titanic.
Death and legacy
On the night of the sinking, Isidor and Ida were seen standing near Lifeboat No. 8 in the company of Mrs. Straus's maid, Ellen Bird. Although the officer in charge of the lifeboat was willing to allow the elderly couple to board the lifeboat with Miss Bird, Isidor Straus refused to go while there were women and children still remaining on the ship. He urged his wife to board, but she refused, saying, "We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go." Her words were witnessed by those already in Lifeboat No. 8 as well as many others who were on the boat deck at the time. Isidor and Ida were last seen standing arm in arm on the deck.
When the survivors of the disaster arrived in New York City aboard the RMS Carpathia, many – including Ellen Bird – told reporters of Mrs. Straus's loyalty and fidelity to her husband. Her story struck a chord with people around the world. Rabbis spoke to their congregations about her sacrifice; articles in Yiddish- and German-language newspapers extolled her courage; a popular song featuring the story of Ida Straus, "The Titanic's Disaster", became popular among Jewish Americans.
Although Isidor's body was recovered, Ida's body was not. A cenotaph at the Straus Mausoleum at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx is dedicated to Isidor and Ida together. Its inscription reads: "Many waters cannot quench love – neither can the floods drown it." (Song of Solomon 8:7) The work was designed by James Gamble Rogers, with sculpture by Lee Lawrie.
Ida Straus was portrayed by Helen Van Tuyl in the 1953 film Titanic. Helen Misener played her in the 1958 film A Night to Remember. She was portrayed by Nancy Nevinson in the 1979 TV movie S.O.S. Titanic. Janie Woods-Morris played her in the 1996 miniseries Titanic. She was portrayed by Elsa Raven in the 1997 film Titanic. Alma Cuervo played her in the 1997 Broadway musical Titanic. When Ida decided to stay with her husband Isidor, they sang the song "Still".
In addition to the cenotaph at Woodlawn Cemetery, there are three other memorials to Isidor and Ida Straus in their adopted home of New York City:
- A memorial plaque is located in the 34th Street main entrance to Macy's Department Store in Manhattan. It was closed to the public after 2001 and used as a stockroom for many years. The entrance has 21-foot-high ceilings, a two-story granite arch and two brass plaques — one commemorating the deaths of Ida and Isidor Straus on the Titanic in 1912, and a second honoring employees who died in World War I. The "Memorial" entrance was reopened in November, 2013.
- The Isidor and Ida Straus Memorial is located in Straus Park at the intersection of Broadway and West End Avenue at W. 106th Street (Duke Ellington Boulevard) in Manhattan.
- New York City public school P.S. 198 (the Isidor & Ida Straus School) in Manhattan is also named after the Strauses.
- "Many Waters Cannot Quench Love"
- Harm, Gregory Paul, Lee Lawrie's Prairie Deco: History in Stone at the Nebraska State Capitol, Concierge Marketing, Omaha, NE, 2018 p. 56
- Straus Memorial on Titanic-Titanic.com
- Encyclopedia Titanica Biography of Ida Straus
- Straus article at JewishEncyclopedia.com
- Judaic Treasures of the Library of Congress – includes information on The Titanic's Disaster sheet music
- Straus Historical Society
- Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy, by John P. Eaton and Charles A. Haas, W.W. Newton & Company, 2nd edition 1995 ISBN 0-393-03697-9