The Isidor and Ida Straus Memorial commemorates a couple who died together aboard the R.M.S. Titanic. Isidor Straus was an immigrant from Germany who rose from operating a crockery concession at R.H. Macy & Co. to owning the department store. He and his wife lived near the site of the memorial on the Upper West Side of Manhattan at 105th Street.
On April 15, 1912, Isidor and Ida Straus were on board the Titanic, returning from a European vacation in southern France, when the ship hit an iceberg. Isidor Straus refused to take a seat in a lifeboat while women and children remained on board. Ida Straus also refused a seat. As she assisted her maid into a lifeboat, she said, “I will not be separated from my husband. As we have lived, so will we die, together.” His body was recovered; hers was not.
This monument by sculptor Augustus Lukeman and architect Evarts Tracy was dedicated on April 15, 1915, exactly three years after the sinking. The model for the statue was Audrey Munson, the most sought after model for sculptors and painters in New York City. Munson was ordered into an insane asylum in 1931, where she lived until 1996, dying at the age of 104.