Nathan Straus (1848-1931)


Nathan Straus (1848-1931)


When we think of public service and the Straus family, we usually think of Oscar S. Straus (1850-1926). A few of his positions include Minister to Constantinople, Ambassador to Turkey and Secretary of Commerce and Labor. But Oscar and Isidor were not the only Straus siblings to serve.

Brother Nathan Straus (1848-1931) was best known as a philanthropist. It is not generally known that Nathan was also a public servant. He was the Commissioner of Parks in New York City, President of the Department of Health, a member of the Forestry Board of New York State and Forest Commissioner. He was an independent Democrat who ran for the office of Mayor of New York City and was proposed as the nominee of the Democratic Party for the Senate of New York State.

On Nathan's 75th birthday in 1923, congratulatory messages were sent from around the world. Theodore Roosevelt wrote, "There are no two men for whom I have a greater respect than Nathan Straus and his brother Oscar. Both of them have given the best that lay in them to the public service. Both of them have been ready at all times to contribute not only money, but more important still, their untiring devotion and work to the service of their fellow citizens." President Harding sent his greetings, "Mr. Straus's public service and private and public philanthropies have deserved [sic] much of his fellow-citizens and I hope that he may live many more years of similar usefulness."


The Straus Historical Society


Circa 1920s




“Nathan Straus 1848-1931” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 6 No. 1 (New York: February 1998); pp. 4-8.

“Nathan Straus 1848-1931” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 6 No. 2 (New York: August 1998); pp. 4-7.

“Nathan Straus Pasteurized Milk Laboratory” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 4 No. 2 (New York: February 2002); pp. 4-9.

“Nathan Straus, Public Servant” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 4 No. 2 (New York: February 2003); pp. 4-8.

“The Nathan Straus Soup Kitchens in Palestine” Straus Historical Society Newsletter Vol. 16 No. 1 (New York: August 2014); pp. 1-5.


Nathan Straus (1848-1931)

Source: The Straus Historical Society


The Straus Historical Society


The Straus Historical Society


Medium: Photograph






Nathan Straus, Straus Family, Commissioner, NYC, Foresty Board, Democrat, Philanthropy, Health





The Straus Historical Society, Nathan Straus (1848-1931), The Straus Historical Society, Circa 1920s

Cite As

The Straus Historical Society, “Nathan Straus (1848-1931),” Virtual Museum of Public Service, accessed May 19, 2022,