Oscar S. Straus

Oscar Straus ALS, First Jewish Cabinet Member

Oscar Straus ALS, First Jewish Cabinet Member

OSCAR S. STRAUS, Autograph Letter Signed, to Isidor Lewi, September 12, 1893. On "United States Hotel" stationery. 1 p., 5.75" x 9".  Expected folds; small tear on one fold affecting one word; very good.


This brief letter by Oscar Straus, later Secretary of Commerce and Labor under President Theodore Roosevelt, thanks Isidor Lewi for clippings of his editorials and promises to look for opportunities for Lewi.


Complete Transcript

      "Saratoga Springs, N. Y., Sep 12, 1893
Dear Mr Lewi
 Today I received the editorial clipping from the Albany Evening Journal, which evidently comes from your friendly pen. The papers you wrote to me some six days ago you had mailed, never reached me. The clerk was on the watch for them. You see I am here yet. I am taking the waters with much benefit and shall stay until Saturday morning.
 I will bear in mind your wish and shall find pleasure in informing you should a suitable place present itself to my notice.
      Very truly yours
      Oscar S. Straus
Mr Isidor Lewi"


Oscar S. Straus (1850-1926) was born in Otterberg, Germany, into a Jewish family that emigrated to the United States and settled in central Georgia. After the Civil War, Straus moved to New York City and graduated from Columbia College in 1871 and Columbia Law School in 1873. He practiced law until 1881 and then became a merchant. In 1882, he married Sarah Lavanburg, and they had three children. He served as U.S. Minister to the Ottoman Empire from 1887 to 1889 and again from 1898 to 1899. In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Straus as the United States Secretary of Commerce and Labor, the first Jewish member of a presidential cabinet. Straus left the position in 1909, when William Howard Taft became president and again served as U.S. Minister to the Ottoman Empire from 1909 to 1910.


Isidor Lewi (1850-1939) was born in Albany, New York, the son of a Jewish physician who had fled the Austrian Empire during the 1848 revolutions, and his wife, the daughter of a German theologian. Lewi graduated from the Albany Academy and began his career as a journalist with Albany newspapers. In 1891, he moved to New York City and joined the staff of The New York Tribune. Beginning as a reporter, he became a special writer, copy editor, and contributor to the editorial page. He reported military preparations for the Spanish-American War in 1898, and was in Austria when World War I began, where he reported on the mobilization of the Austrian army and the plight of Americans stranded in Austria. He married widow Emita Peninnah May Lewi (Wolff)(1851-1931) in 1903. Deeply concerned about Jewish interests, he edited The New Era, a monthly magazine devoted to Judaism, from 1904 until near his death.


This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.



Item: 67475

Price: $500.00
Oscar S. StrausOscar S. Straus
Oscar S. Straus
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