Rosalie Ida Blun
February 6, 1849
|Died||April 15, 1912 (aged 63)|
North Atlantic Ocean
|Cause of death||Sinking of the Titanic|
|Children||7, including Jesse|
Rosalie Ida Straus (née Blun; February 6, 1849 – April 15, 1912) was a German-American homemaker and wife of Isidor Straus, U.S. Congressman and co-owner of the Macy's department store. She and her husband died during the sinking of the Titanic.
Early life and relations
Rosalie Ida Blun was born in 1849 in Worms 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?]
In 1871, Ida Blun married Isidor Straus (1845–1912), a German-Jewish American businessman. 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. She and Isidor had seven children:
- Jesse I. 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 Alfred Fabian Hess (1875–1933)
- Minnie Straus (1880–1940) who married 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)
Among her great-great-granddaughters are singer Mikaela Mullaney Straus, known by her stage name King Princess, and Wendy Rush (née Weil), the widow of Stockton Rush who founded the deep sea tourism company OceanGate and lost his life on a dive in a submersible in 2023 to the wreck of the Titanic.
Death and legacy
Ida spent the winter of 1911/1912 in Europe with her husband Isidor. They originally planned to return home on a different ship, but switched to the Titanic due to a coal strike in England that caused the coal from other ships to be diverted to the Titanic.
On the night of the sinking, Isidor and Ida were seen standing near Lifeboat No. 8 in the company of Ida's maid, Ellen Bird. Although the officer in charge was willing to allow Isidor to board the lifeboat with the women, Isidor Straus refused to do so while women and children still remained on the ship. He urged Ida to board, but she refused, saying, "We have lived together for many years. Where you go, I go." This incident was witnessed by numerous witnesses both in the lifeboat and on deck. The Strauses were last seen standing arm in arm on the deck.
The story of Ida's bravery and loyalty became much celebrated. Rabbis spoke to their congregations about her sacrifice; articles in Yiddish- and German-language newspapers extolled her courage; a popular song featuring the story, "The Titanic's Disaster", became popular among Jewish Americans.
Isidor's body was recovered but Ida's 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, which depicts the Strauses dying together in their C deck stateroom. Alma Cuervo played her in the 1997 Broadway musical Titanic.
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:
- The 34th Street main entrance to Macy's Department Store in Manhattan features two brass plaques — one commemorating the deaths of Ida and Isidor Straus, the other honoring employees who died in World War I.
- 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 is the Isidor & Ida Straus School.
- "NOTED MEN ON THE LOST TITANIC; Col. Jacob Astor, with His Wife; Isidor Straus and Wife, and Benj. Guggenheim Aboard". The New York Times. April 16, 1912. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved March 26, 2022.
- Newstead, Al (October 19, 2018). "King Princess on reappropriating White Stripes and her "extra as hell" family history". triple j. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
- Patil, Anushka (June 21, 2023). "Submersible Pilot's Spouse Is Descended From a Famous Titanic Couple". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 22, 2023.
- "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
- 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