Who is Isidor Straus?
Isidor Straus (February 6, 1845 – April 15, 1912) was a German-born American businessman and co-owner of Macy's department store with his brother Nathan. He also served briefly as a member of the United States House of Representatives. He died with his wife, Ida, in the sinking of the passenger ship RMS Titanic.
In 1854 he and his family immigrated to the United States( following his father Lazarus), who immigrated two years before. They settled in New York City, where Lazarus had convinced Rowland Hussey Macy to allow L. Straus & Sons to open a crockery department in the basement of his store.
He served as a U.S. Congressman from January 30, 1894 to March 3, 1895 (as a Democratic representative to New York's 15th congressional district). By 1896, Isidor and his brother Nathan had gained full ownership of R. H. Macy & Co.
Isidor and his wife were passengers on the RMS Titanic, when on the night of April 14, 1912 it hit an iceberg. Ida refused to leave Isidor and would not get into a lifeboat without him. Isidor was offered a seat in a lifeboat to accompany Ida, he refused a seat while there were still women and children aboard."I will not go before the other men" stated Isidor. Ida insisted her newly hired English maid (Ellen Bird), get into lifeboat #8. She gave Ellen her fur coat, stating she would not need it."I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die together."