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Bronze Memorial of Husband and Wife Who Died on Titanic Unveiled at the Store
Justice Greenbaum and Mrs. Sulzberger Among Those Who Praise Their Lives and Heroic Deaths
A bronze memorial tablet, bearing bas-relief figures of Mr. and Mrs. Isidor Straus, who lost their lives on the steamship Titanic, and under these figures this inscription: "Their lives were benevolent, and their teachings glorious," was unveiled yesterday afternoon in the presence of more than 5,000 employees of R. H. Macy Company, in the restaurant of the Macy Building. The tablet was a memorial from the employs. It will be put in the arcade of the Thirty-fourth Street entrance to the Macy store.

The restaurant of the Macy Building, set aside for the ceremonies, was filled with the employs, their wives and children, when at 3 o'clock Louis J. Chamansky, one of the buyers of the store, stepped forward on the platform and introduced Sylvester Brynes, General Manager of the establishment.

"We have met here to-day," said Mr. Brynes, "to pay a tribute of affection and esteem to the memory of Isidor and Ida Straus. Monuments have been and will be erected in their memory by public organizations, societies and individuals. But I know of no tribute so genuine, so simple and beautiful in its inception, so spontaneous in its execution, as that which calls us together to-day. This tablet which we are about to unveil is the mute token of sorrow as well of appreciation and affection of more than 5,000 men and women who knew Mr. and Mrs. Isidor Straus, and loved them well. This gathering and these simple ceremonies are the result of the suggestion of a young girl, one of the employes of this store, and within this tablet are the names of every employe of the store.

"Isidor and Ida Straus did not live in vain. The inspiring example of their lives and the beautiful lesson of their death will live forever, so that the world is better that they lived and died. I have the honor of presenting this tablet on behalf of every employ of this store as a lasting memorial of our personal loss."

When the tablet was unveiled by Miss Eleanor Hess, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Alfred F. Hess, and a granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Straus, it was accepted on behalf of the Straus family by Jesse I. Straus, son of Mr. and Mrs. Isidor Straus. He said:

["]My dear friends: Of the many loving tributes that have been paid the memory of our parents, your spontaneous offering is a fitting climax. Your thoughts to erect a tablet at the entrance of the workshop in which our father spent so much of his life, and for which he had such a strong attachment, is as unusual as it is expressive of your loving sympathy, and words fail me to express our appreciation and gratitude. No other mark of respect, no greater crown of glory, could they know of it, could have been offered our parents than this form you.

["]We must all, some early, some late, be prepared to bear some suffering. When the blow falls, we must succumb. It is then that the loving hand of friendship, held out in tender sympathy. does much to comfort. Thus does your offering comfort us, and thus comforted, with sincere gratitude, we accept it.["]

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Greenbaum, who succeeded the late Isidor Straus as President of the Educational Alliance, where the two were closely associated for many years, was the next to pay a tribute to the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Straus.

"This is no ordinary occasion," he said. "I might say it is a unique one. I think there has rarely been an equal to such a gathering as this. You have heard from your manager, Mr. Byrnes, how this movement was started as a spontaneous one. Now what was it that must have inspired that girl to think of it? It must have been some unconscious attachment that existed between Mr. Straus and his employes. I think that the secret underlying the attachment between Mr. Straus, as an employer, and his employes has already been disclosed to you by his son, who told you how his father, when a mere boy, gave up all thought of himself, and went to Europe on behalf of the Southern Confederacy to negotiate a sale of bonds.

"The one great characteristic that marked the life of Isidor Straus was his willingness to sacrifice self. I will tell you more that he gave up. He gave up a university education so that he might work and help his father and mother in the support of their family. He was a working man from the time that he was able to work until the time that he was carried away. He was a working man, and as such, therefore, had a strong sympathy for those who worked. So we find that he was always fair, kind and just, and that he tried constantly to better the condition of the men and women he loved. That trait was predominant throughout his life.

"Whether we see Isidor Straus at work or in other fields of activity, we see in him another trait, fidelity to any trust. And finally we see that no sacrifice was too great for him, either as a parent or husband."

Speaking of Mrs. Straus, Justice Greenbaum said: "We find her a good mother and a true and loyal wife, a fit helpmeet for such a man. An finally, when the summons came to then on the high seas, and carried them to their watery graves, we see in both of them that same fidelity. Every one knows that this was the keynote of their lives. I am sure that if they could see this beautiful tribute to their memory they would feel that their lives had not been spent in vain."

Following Justice Greenbaum, Mrs. Cyrus L. Sulzberger said:

"Impelled by the love and admiration I have for the memory of Mrs. Straus, I have come here to-day in response to your call to pay tribute to those qualities of mind and heart which endeared her to all who knew her, and which have left their impress on the minds and hearts of all those with whom she came in contact, and who were privileged to feel the stimulation of her singularly direct and honest nature.

"She was a woman who had no time for petty things, who did not follow the false gods set up by fashion, or pander to social insincerities. The claim of husband, and at all times the ever-present cry of the poor and needy, were the voices she listened to---these and the issue she felt to be paramount. She was a woman of the old-fashioned kind, with all the good, old-fashioned, homely virtues, who yet combined in herself that broad outlook on life, that desire and ability to share in its larger issues and responsibilities, that are claimed by many to be distinguishing mark of the new woman.

"When the community was startled some fifteen years ago by the exposure of conditions in the lower east side, and the call went forth that it was necessary to provide more places of innocent amusement for young Jewish girls of the neighborhood, Mrs. Straus was the first to respond to that appeal. She was one of the founders of the Recreation Settlement, its second President for many years, and at the time of her death also its Vice President. She was also at one time a Director of the Council of Jewish Women, and from its inception an active worker in the Board of the Woman's Auxiliary of the Educational Alliance.

"Many of those who are now in the sound of my voice can tell of her goodness and kindness of heart. Many could give evidence of her wise counsel and generous benefactions. It is significant, and gives to this occasion its most fitting and touching aspect, that the first impulse to erect in this building a memorial to Mr. and Mrs. Straus should have come from one of those whom she befriended."

Some of the guests on the platform were Mr. and Mrs. S. F. Rothschild, Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Blum, Lawrence Abraham, Dr. and Mrs. Alfred F. Hess, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Weill, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert A Scheftel, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse I. Straus and family, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert N. Straus and family, Mrs. A. Abraham, Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Straus, Nathan Straus, Jr., H. Grant Straus, Judge and Mrs. Irving Lehman, Roger W. Straus, Dr. and Mrs. Herman Frauenthal, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Blum, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Blum, Emanuel Eising, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Eising, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Rothschild, Mr. and Mrs. Louis F. Rothschild, Mr. and Mrs. Edwin B. Eising, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Eising, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Brill, Mr. and Mrs. Sigmund Klee, Dr. and Mrs. Sam Bookman, Mr. and Mrs. Louis Long, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Schafer, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Hochstadt, Alfred F. Seligsberg, Dr. and Mrs. Eugene H. Eising, and F. L. Lovenberg.

[Note: The erratic spelling of "employe(e)" is in the original article. The style of the day was to spell the word "employe"; the word "employees" in the first sentence appears to be a typographical error.]

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2003) MACY & CO. EMPLOYES GIVE STRAUS TABLET (New York Times, Monday 9th June 1913, ref: #1747, published 30 October 2003, generated 20th June 2021 05:47:32 AM); URL :