Nathan Straus

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Nathan Straus (January 31, 1848–January 11, 1931) was an American merchant and philanthropist who co-owned two of New York City's biggest department stores – R.H. Macy & Company and Abraham & Straus – before giving away most of his fortune to the Zionist cause.


Nathan Straus was born in Otterberg, Germany, to a Jewish family, the third child of Lazarus Straus (1809–1898) and his wife Sara (1823–1876). His siblings were Hermine Straus Kohns (1846–1922), Isidor Straus (1845–1912) and Oscar Solomon Straus (1850–1926). The family moved to the U.S. state of Georgia in 1854. After the American Civil War the family moved to New York City where his father formed L. Straus & Sons, a crockery and glassware firm

On April 28, 1875, Straus married Lina Gutherz (1854–1930) with whom he had six children, among them Sissie Straus who was married to Irving Lehman, later Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals.

Macy's and Abraham & Straus

Straus and his brothers sold crockery to R.H. Macy & Company department store. The brothers became partners in Macy's in 1888 and co-owners in 1896.

In 1893, he and Isidor bought out Joseph Wechsler from the Abraham and Wechsler dry goods store in Brooklyn, New York, which they renamed Abraham & Straus.

Public service and philanthropy

In the late 1880s, Straus began a period of philanthropy and public service in New York City. He served as New York City...
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