[Titanic]. Isidor Straus Autograph Letter Signed. Two integral pages, 9.75" x 8" (sight), on "Claridge's Hotel, Brook Street. W." letterhead, London, April 5, 1912. Isidor Straus (1846-1912) was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was nine years old, settling in Georgia. When the Civil War broke out, he offered his services to the Confederate States, but was refused by the governor because of his age and a lack of arms.

    In 1873, he began working for R. H. Macy in New York City with his brother, Nathan, selling glassware. By 1896, the brothers purchased the store and began building one of the largest department store chains in the country. In 1894, he was elected to Congress as a Democrat to fill the vacancy left by Ashbel Fitch, but chose to not run for reelection. After his stint in politics, Straus returned to New York City and the retail business.

    In the winter of 1911-1912, Straus and his wife, Ida, traveled back to Europe. They were in London preparing for their return to New York when he sent this letter to "Julius (probably his cousin Julius Straus)," which reads, in full:

    " I am in receipt of your favor of the 3d inst. It certainly is of great interest to me that you become a member of the Verband & I know you will use all energy compatible with discretion to bring this about as soon as possible. it will be pleasant for me to learn how you regard the prospects of accomplishing this & how soon you have reason to expect results.

    "We sail for home on the steamer 'Titanic' leaving from Southampton April 10th & a letter addressed to me
    passenger for Stmr 'Titanic'
    care of White Star Line
    may yet reach.

    "Ida joins in kindest remembrances to you & your better half

    He adds a postscript at the end which reads simply: "We start from here Wednesday morning." Some uneven toning, else fine.

    Tragically, the steamer did not make it to New York, striking an iceberg in the last hours of April 14. By the early morning hours of April 15, the ship had gone under, Isidor and his wife, Ida, with it. Due to his age, he was permitted to take a lifeboat, but refused and would only board with the other men, leaving his spot open for women and children. He urged Ida to go without him, but she refused stating (according to later reports), "I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die, together." Over 40,000 people attended the memorial of the couple.

    Beautifully framed with a photograph of the couple to an overall size of 27.75" x 16".

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Framed - without Glass, Large (view shipping information)

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    4th-5th Thursday-Friday
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