The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Straus, Nathan

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STRAUS, Nathan, American merchant and philanthropist: b. Rhenish Bavaria, 31 Jan. 1848, brother of Oscar Solomon and Isidor Straus (qq.v.) He came to the United States in 1854 with his family who settled in Tolbolton, Ga., where he attended school. He afterward went to New York and graduated at Packard's Business College. He joined his father in the firm of L. Straus and Sons, importing pottery and glassware; from 1888 was partner in R. H. Macy and Company, New York; from 1892 of Abraham and Straus, Brooklyn, and retired in 1914 to devote his time to charity. In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, he donated an ice plant to Santiago. He originated, in 1890, and has since maintained at his own expense, a system of distribution of pasteurized milk to poor of New York City, which, statistics of health department show, is saving many thousands of lives annually. He also originated and maintained a system of depots for distribution of coal to poor of New York in winter; and in the panic of the winter 1893-94, maintained a system of lodging houses for poor and homeless. He was appointed by President Taft sole United States delegate to the International Congress for Protection of Infants, Berlin, 1911, also delegate to the Tuberculosis Congress, Rome, Italy, 1912. In 1912 he established soup kitchens in Jerusalem for relief of destitute, and a health bureau for the elimination of conditions causing malaria, in Palestine. During winter of 1914-15 served for the unemployed 1,135,731 penny meals from his milk depots in New York City, was chief contributor in sending a food ship to war sufferers in Palestine, and extended his Jerusalem health bureau to care for sick and wounded, under auspices of the Palestine government. He has delivered numerous addresses on pasteurization and published ‘Disease in Milk, the Remedy, Pasteurization’ (1913).