Admiral Lewis Lichtenstein Strauss Papers
Scope and Content Note
The Papers of Admiral Lewis L. Strauss reflect the various Jewish organizational and institutional activities in which Lewis L. Strauss participated as well as his personal life. Though the collection does not preserve the total volume of papers produced by Lewis L. Strauss, its importance goes beyond the name under which these papers are preserved.
The collection is valuable to researchers studying the activities of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Temple Emanu-El (New York, NY), the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the anti-Semitic activities of Henry Ford and Father Charles E. Coughlin, the Jewish Agricultural Society, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and a wide range of important individuals and American Jewish organizations. It also documents the activity of Lewis L. Strauss in American Jewish affairs from 1919 until his death in 1974.
The collection contains correspondence, minutes, reports, financial and fundraising documents, legal documents, affidavits, telegrams and cables, newspaper clippings, photographs, pamphlets, and publications. The documents are primarily in English, followed by German, French, Yiddish and Hebrew.
- Creation: 1908-1973
Language of Materials
The collection is in English, German, French, Hebrew, and Yiddish.
The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.
No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at email@example.com.
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Admiral Lewis Lichtenstein Strauss, Jr.
Lewis Lichtenstein Strauss, Jr. was born on January 31, 1896 in Charleston, West Virginia, to Lewis and Rosa (Lichtenstein) Strauss. He grew up in Richmond, and became a traveling salesman for his family's wholesale shoe business. In 1917, he presented himself to Herbert C. Hoover. At the time, Hoover was organizing volunteers in the cause of Belgian relief. Later, when Hoover became head of the Food Administration, Lewis L. Strauss became his personal secretary and accompanied him on several European missions. He worked for Hoover's election to the presidency in 1928, and maintained a life-long friendship with President Hoover until the latter's death in 1964.
In 1919, Lewis L. Strauss was hired by the investment firm Kuhn, Loeb & Company, and in 1923 he married Alice Hanauer, a daughter of a partner in the firm. In 1929, he himself became a partner in the firm. One of Kuhn, Loeb & Company's founders was Jacob Schiff, the important American Jewish leader and philanthropist. As a result of Lewis L. Strauss' association with Kuhn, Loeb &. Company, he became friendly with many wealthy and influential American Jewish figures, especially the core members of the American Jewish Committee. Between 1950 and 1953, he served as financial adviser to the Rockefeller family.
Lewis L. Strauss maintained a keen interest in scientific and technological advancements, and was an early investor in Kodachrome. After the death of his parents from cancer, his interest in the atom led him to fund the construction of a surge generator to produce isotopes for cancer treatment. Beginning in 1926, Lewis L. Strauss was in the Navy Reserve, and he entered active duty in 1941, becoming adviser to Navy Undersecretary James Forrestal. He directed the development of the radar proximity fuse, conceived of the Big "E" war production incentive program, and in 1945 was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral by President Truman. In 1946, Truman appointed Lewis L. Strauss to serve on the Atomic Energy Commission, on which he served through 1950. In 1953, President Eisenhower reappointed Lewis L. Strauss to the commission, this time as its chairman.
As the breadth of the Papers of Admiral Lewis L. Strauss illustrates, Lewis L. Strauss was deeply committed to American Jewish life and Jewish welfare generally. He served as a member of the board of directors of several important Jewish philanthropic, academic and communal organizations, and he also maintained a special interest in inter-religious affairs.
In his lifetime, Lewis L. Strauss was thrust into public controversy on several occasions. In the 1920s and 1930s, he played a central role in combating the anti-Semitic propaganda of Henry Ford and Father Charles E. Coughlin. Also beginning in this period, he became a leading member of the American Jewish Committee and embroiled in disputes over Zionism and American Jewish politics, notably the American Jewish Conference. Later, during his tenure as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, he attracted public attention when the White House suspended the security clearance of Commissioner J. Robert Oppenheimer. Lewis L. Strauss eventually voted against Oppenheimer's reinstatement to the Atomic Energy Commission, but he did seek to have him retained in the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study and other nuclear research enterprises. In 1954, another controversy flared when the Atomic Energy Commission engaged the Dixon-Yates combine to erect a power plant in West Memphis, Arkansas. Lewis L. Strauss, a deeply conservative Republican, was eager to admit private industry into the nuclear field. But liberals saw in the Dixon-Yates contract a threat to the Tennessee Valley Authority and public power. They attacked the contract so vigorously that President Eisenhower canceled it in 1955.
In 1958, President Eisenhower appointed Lewis L. Strauss to be Acting Secretary of Commerce, and in 1959 he nominated him for the position. After a protracted public debate concerning ethical considerations, and one in which the specter of anti-Semitism was also raised, the Senate refused to confirm Lewis L. Strauss' nomination. Following this episode, Lewis L. Strauss returned to private life. On January 21,1974, Lewis L. Strauss died at the age of 78 at his home in Brandy Station, West Virginia.
- January 31, 1896
- Born in Charleston, West Virginia
- Personal Secretary to Herbert C. Hoover, Head of the Belgian Relief Committee
- U.S. Delegate to Final Armistice Convention
- Joins Kuhn, Loeb & Company (New York, NY)
- Enters Navy Reserve
- Partner of Kuhn, Loeb & Company (New York, NY)
- President of Temple Emanu-El (New York, NY)
- Enters active naval duty; Adviser to Navy Undersecretary James Forrestal
- Promoted to rank of Rear Admiral; President, Princeton Institute for Advanced Study
- Member of the Atomic Energy Commission
- Financial Adviser to Rockefeller Family
- Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission
- Acting Secretary of Commerce under President Dwight D. Eisenhower
- Returns to private life
- Publishes Men and Decisions
- January 21, 1974
- Dies in Brandy Station, Virginia
RANK: Rear Admiral
HONORS: Distinguished Service Medal, Medal for Freedom, Legion of Merit, French Legion of Honor, Belgian Order of Leopold
Biographical note compiled on the basis of archival documents in the Papers of Admiral Lewis L. Strauss as well as data presented in Geoffrey Wigoder, ed.
- Dictionary of Jewish Biography (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991). pp. 506-507
- American Jewish Year Book vol. 76 (1976), p. 518;
- Encyclopaedia Judaica (15), pp. 435-436.
75 Manuscript Boxes (37.75 feet and one oversized folder)
This collection is comprised of papers pertaining to Admiral Lewis Lichtenstein Strauss, his career, and his community and organizational activities. He belonged to such groups as the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Temple Emanu-El in New York, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the Jewish Agricultural Society, and the Union of Hebrew Congregations.
His papers include extensive correspondence, organizational and institutional records, photographs, and publications which document his personal and public life as well as American Jewish issues that he was involved with such as relief efforts for Jewish refugees from Central Europe, interest and involvement in the Reform movement, and endeavors to combat anti-Semitism, especially as propagated by Father Charles E. Coughlin and Henry Ford.
Subjects are arranged according to series. Folders are arranged alphabetically by correspondent and internally in chronological order.
The collection is divided into 18 series corresponding roughly to the original filing system of Lewis L. Strauss.
- Series I: American Council for Judaism, 1943-1971
- Series II: American Jewish Committee, 1908-1972
- Series III: American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 1919-1972
- Series IV: American Relief Administration Bulletins, 1920-1923)
- Series V: Coordinating Foundation, 1938-1946
- Series VI: Father Charles E. Coughlin, 1938-1940
- Series VII: Henry Ford and The Dearborn Independent, 1920-1921
- Series VIII: Jewish Agricultural Society, 1923-1962
- Series IX: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1924-1973
- Series X: Miscellaneous Personal Papers, 1896-1974
- Series XI: National Conference of Christians and Jews, 1934-1973
- Series XII: Publications, 1920-1972
- Series XIII: Refugees, 1924-1965
- Series XIV: Speeches, 1919-1972
- Series XV: Temple Emanu-El (New York, NY), 1921-1973
- Series XVI: Union of American Hebrew Congregations, 1922-1971
- Series XVII: Correspondence (Individual), 1919-1973
- Series XVIII:Correspondence (Institutional), 1919-1973
Beginning in 1971, the Papers of Admiral Lewis L. Strauss were donated to the American Jewish Historical Society over a period of several years by Lewis H. Strauss, son of Admiral Lewis L. Strauss, acting on behalf of the Estate of Admiral Lewis L. Strauss.
One photograph from Series XI and three photographs from Series XV are stored in a shared folder in Shared OS 1.
- Berger, Elmer, 1908-1996 (Person)
- Berliner, Samuel (Person)
- Coughlin, Charles E. (Charles Edward), 1891-1979 (Person)
- Ford, Henry, 1863-1947 (Person)
- Goldenson, Samuel H. (Samuel Harry), 1878-1962 (Person)
- Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964 (Person)
- Lazaron, Morris S. (Morris Samuel), 1888-1979 (Person)
- Marshall, Louis, 1856-1929 (Person)
- Rockefeller family (Family)
- Rosenwald, Lessing J. (Lessing Julius), 1891-1979 (Person)
- Schiff, Jacob H. (Jacob Henry), 1847-1920 (Person)
- Strauss, Lewis L. (Person)
- Waldman, Morris D. (Morris David), 1879-1963 (Person)
- Warburg, Felix M. (Felix Moritz), 1871-1937 (Person)
- Wolsey, Louis, 1877-1953 (Person)
- American Council for Judaism (Organization)
- American Jewish Committee (Organization)
- American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (Organization)
- American Relief Administration (Organization)
- Coordinating Foundation (Organization)
- Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Organization)
- Intergovernmental Committee on Refugees (Organization)
- Jewish Agricultural Society (Organization)
- Jewish Theological Seminary of America (Organization)
- American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (Organization)
- Kuhn, Loeb & Company (Organization)
- League of Nations. High Commission for Refugees (Organization)
- National Conference of Christians and Jews (Organization)
- National Union for Social Justice (U.S.) (Organization)
- Temple Emanu-El (New York, N.Y.) (Organization)
- Union of American Hebrew Congregations (Organization)
- Guide to the Papers of Admiral Lewis Lichtenstein Strauss (1896-1974), 1908-1973 P-632
- Processed by Mark A. Raider
- © October 2001
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- Description is in English.
- Edition statement
- This version was derived from LLStrauss02.xml
- April 2005.: Converted to EAD 2002. Revised as LLStrauss02.xml by Tanya Elder. Removed deprecated elements and attributes, updated repository codes, added language codes, changed doctype declaration, etc.
- January 2006.: Entities removed from EAD finding aid.
- October 2020: EHyman: post-ASpace migration cleanup.
- October 2023:: T. Elder: Added Strauss Portrait to finding.