Strauss, Lewis L

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Secretary to Herbert Hoover, 1917-1919; chairman, United States Atomic Energy Commission, 1953-1958; secretary of commerce, 1958-1959.

From the description of Lewis L. Strauss miscellaneous papers, 1918-1945. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 754868921

Government executive, financier.

From the description of Reminiscences of Lewis Lichtenstein Strauss : oral history, 1973. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 86158380

Executive, naval officer, and U.S. secretary of commerce.

From the description of Lewis L. Strauss autograph collection, 1749-1885. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70980685

Biographical/Historical Note

Secretary to Herbert Hoover, 1917-1919; chairman, United States Atomic Energy Commission, 1953-1958; secretary of commerce, 1958-1959.

From the guide to the Lewis L. Strauss miscellaneous papers, 1918-1945, (Hoover Institution Archives)

Admiral Lewish Lichtenstein Strauss, Jr.1896-1974

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 then 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
  • 1917 - 1919 : Personal Secretary to Herbert C. Hoover, Head of the Belgian Relief Committee
  • 1919: U.S. Delegate to Final Armistice Convention
  • 1919: Joins Kuhn, Loeb & Company (New York, NY)
  • 1926: Enters Navy Reserve
  • 1929 - 1947 : Partner of Kuhn, Loeb & Company (New York, NY)
  • 1938 - 1948 : President of Temple Emanu-El (New York, NY)
  • 1941: Enters active naval duty; Adviser to Navy Undersecretary James Forrestal
  • 1945: Promoted to rank of Rear Admiral; President, Princeton Institute for Advanced Study
  • 1946 - 1950 : Member of the Atomic Energy Commission
  • 1950 - 1953 : Financial Adviser to Rockefeller Family
  • 1953 - 1958 : Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission
  • 1958 - 1959 : Acting Secretary of Commerce under President Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • 1959: Returns to private life
  • 1962: Publishes Men and Decisions
  • January 21, 1974: Dies in Brandy Station, Virginia

Bibliography

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.

RANK: Rear Admiral

HONORS: Distinguished Service Medal, Medal for Freedom, Legion of Merit, French Legion of Honor, Belgian Order of Leopold

From the guide to the Admiral Lewis Lichtenstein Strauss Papers, 1908-1973, (American Jewish Historical Society)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Reid, Ogden R. (Ogden Rogers), 1925-. Ogden Rogers Reid papers, 1925-1982 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Brown, Walter Folger, 1869-1961. Walter F. Brown Papers [microform], 1907-1950. Ohio History Connection, Ohio Historical Society
referencedIn Harold Gardiner Bowen Papers, 1907-1977, (bulk 1940-1959) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Beams, Jesse W. (Jesse Wakefield), 1898-1977. Papers of Jesse W. Beams [manuscript], 1926-1977. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Admiral Lewis Lichtenstein Strauss Papers, 1908-1973 American Jewish Historical Society
referencedIn Von Neumann, John, 1903-1957. John Von Neumann papers, 1912-1996 (bulk 1935-1957). Library of Congress
referencedIn Martin J. Sherwin Collection Relating to J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1910-2006, (bulk 1931-2006) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn John Von Neumann Papers, 1912-1996, (bulk 1935-1957) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Jewish Theological Seminary of America. General Files. Records, 1902-1972. 1940-1972 (bulk). Ocean County College Library, OCC Library
referencedIn Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Board of Directors. Records, 1903-1972 ; 1930s-1972, (bulk). Ocean County College Library, OCC Library
referencedIn Morris S. Lazaron Papers., 1851-1979, 1930-1950 The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives
referencedIn Oswald Veblen Papers, 1881-1960, (bulk 1920-1960) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Parsons, William Sterling, 1901-1953. Papers of William Sterling Parsons, 1943-1953. Library of Congress
creatorOf Strauss, Lewis L. Lewis L. Strauss autograph collection, 1749-1885. Library of Congress
referencedIn Julius Bisno Collection, undated, 1780, 1801-1980 American Jewish Historical Society
creatorOf Strauss, Lewis L. Lewis L. Strauss miscellaneous papers, 1918-1945. Stanford University, Hoover Institution Library
referencedIn Office of the Messrs Rockefeller. General files. 1890-1961. Rockefeller Archive Center, Rockefeller University, Pocantico Hills
referencedIn Records, 1946-2000 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Greenewalt, Crawford H., 1902-1993. Papers, 1928-1968 (bulk 1942-1968). Hagley Museum & Library
referencedIn Lessing J. Rosenwald Papers, 1891-1979, (bulk 1932-1979) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Sherwin, Martin J. Martin J. Sherwin collection relating to J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1910-2006 (bulk 1931-2006). Library of Congress
referencedIn Eger Vaughan Murphree, 1932-1963, (bulk 1957-1962) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn John Mason Brown papers, 1922-1967. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Rabi, I. I. (Isidor Isaac), 1898-1988. I.I. Rabi papers, 1899-1989 (bulk 1945-1968). Library of Congress
referencedIn Fulton Lewis Jr. Papers, 1920-1968 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
creatorOf Kilpatrick, James Jackson, 1920-2010. James J. Kilpatrick papers [manuscript], 1925-1966 (bulk 1950-1966). University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn New York Times Company records. Arthur Hays Sulzberger papers, 1823-1999 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Thomas J. Dodd Papers, undated, 1919-1971. Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries
referencedIn United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Security file on J. Robert Oppenheimer [microform], 1947-1964. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
referencedIn Bowen, Harold Gardiner, 1883-1965. Harold Gardiner Bowen papers, 1907-1977 (bulk 1940-1959). Library of Congress
referencedIn Dudley Wright Knox Papers, circa 1864-1960, (bulk 1921-1946) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Johnson, Louis Arthur, 1891-1966. Papers of Louis Arthur Johnson [manuscript] 1930-64. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Veblen, Oswald, 1880-1960. Oswald Veblen papers, 1881-1960 (bulk 1920-1960). Library of Congress
referencedIn Knox, Dudley Wright, 1877-1960. Dudley Wright Knox papers, circa 1864-1950 (bulk 1921-1946). Library of Congress
referencedIn Murphree, Eger Vaughan, 1898-1962. Papers of Eger Vaughan Murphree, 1932-1963 (bulk 1957-1962). Library of Congress
referencedIn I. I. Rabi Papers, 1899-1989, (bulk 1945-1968) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Inglis, David Rittenhouse, 1905-1995. Oral history interview with David Rittenhouse Inglis, 1977 May 9 and 10. American Institute of Physics, Niels Bohr Library
creatorOf Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964. Correspondence, 1920-1959. Haverford College Library
referencedIn Clinton Presba Anderson Papers, 1938-1973, (bulk 1948-1973) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Lewis L. Strauss miscellaneous papers, 1918-1945 Hoover Institution Archives.
creatorOf Strauss, Lewis L. Reminiscences of Lewis Lichtenstein Strauss : oral history, 1973. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Anderson, Clinton Presba, 1895-. Papers of Clinton Presba Anderson, 1938-1972 (bulk 1948-1972). Library of Congress
referencedIn Scott, Hugh, 1900-1994. Papers of Hugh Scott [manuscript], 1930-1987. University of Virginia. Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith American Council for Judaism corporateBody
associatedWith American Jewish Committee corporateBody
associatedWith American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee corporateBody
associatedWith American Relief Committee corporateBody
associatedWith Anderson, Clinton Presba, 1895- person
associatedWith Barnes, Richard, fl. 1749. person
associatedWith Beams, Jesse W. (Jesse Wakefield), 1898-1977. person
associatedWith Berger, Elmer person
associatedWith Berliner, Samuel person
associatedWith Bisno, Julius, 1911- person
correspondedWith Boudinot, Elias, 1740-1821 person
correspondedWith Bowen, Harold Gardiner, 1883-1965. person
correspondedWith Brown, John Mason, 1900-1969 person
associatedWith Brown, Walter Folger, 1869-1961. person
correspondedWith Carey, Mathew, 1760-1839 person
associatedWith Coordinating Foundation corporateBody
associatedWith Coughlin, Charles C. person
associatedWith Dodd, Thomas J. (Thomas Joseph), 1907-1971 person
associatedWith Ford, Henry person
associatedWith Goldenson, Samuel person
correspondedWith Graham, Joseph, 1759-1836 person
associatedWith Greenewalt, Crawford H., 1902-1993. person
correspondedWith Harrison, William Henry, 1773-1841 person
correspondedWith Harvard Law School Forum corporateBody
associatedWith Hebrew Union-College Jewish Institute of Religion corporateBody
correspondedWith Henry, Patrick, 1736-1799 person
associatedWith Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964. person
associatedWith Hoover, Herbert C. person
correspondedWith Hughes, Christopher, 1786-1849 person
associatedWith Inglis, David Rittenhouse, 1905-1995. person
associatedWith Inter-Governmental Committee on Refugees corporateBody
correspondedWith Jefferson, Thomas, 1743-1826 person
associatedWith Jewish Agricultural Society corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Theological Seminary of America corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Board of Directors. corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Theological Seminary of America. General Files. corporateBody
associatedWith Johnson, Louis Arthur, 1891-1966. person
associatedWith Joint Distribution Committee corporateBody
associatedWith Kilpatrick, James Jackson, 1920-2010. person
correspondedWith Knox, Dudley Wright, 1877-1960. person
associatedWith Kuhn, Loeb & Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Lazaron, Morris person
correspondedWith Lazaron, Morris Samuel person
associatedWith League of Nations High Commisioner for Refugees corporateBody
correspondedWith Lee, Richard Henry, 1732-1794 person
associatedWith Lewis, Fulton, 1903-1966 person
associatedWith Lindsey, John. fl. 1751. person
correspondedWith Madison, James, 1751-1836 person
associatedWith Malta Conference (1945) corporateBody
associatedWith Marshall, Louis person
associatedWith Mason, John T., 1909-, person
correspondedWith Minor, Lancelot, 1763-1848 or 9 person
correspondedWith Monroe, James, 1758-1831 person
correspondedWith Murphree, Eger Vaughan, 1898-1962. person
associatedWith National Conference of Christians and Jews corporateBody
associatedWith National Union for Social Justice corporateBody
associatedWith New York Times Company corporateBody
associatedWith Office of the Messrs Rockefeller. corporateBody
associatedWith Parsons, William Sterling, 1901-1953. person
correspondedWith Rabi, I. I. (Isador Isaac), 1898- person
correspondedWith Rabi, I. I. (Isidor Isaac), 1898-1988. person
associatedWith Reid, Ogden R. (Ogden Rogers), 1925- person
associatedWith Rockefeller Family family
correspondedWith Rogers, Samuel, 1763-1855 person
correspondedWith Rosenwald, Lessing J. (Lessing Julius), 1891-1979 person
correspondedWith Russell, George C., 1827-1912 person
associatedWith Schiff, Jacob person
associatedWith Scott, Hugh, 1900-1994. person
associatedWith Sherwin, Martin J. person
associatedWith Sherwin, Martin J. person
correspondedWith Taylor, Zachary, 1784-1850 person
associatedWith Temple Emanu-El (New York, NY) corporateBody
correspondedWith Tyler, John, 1790-1862 person
correspondedWith Tyler, Robert, 1816-1877 person
associatedWith Union of American Hebrew Congregations corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation. corporateBody
associatedWith U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. corporateBody
correspondedWith Veblen, Oswald, 1880-1960. person
correspondedWith Von Neumann, John, 1903-1957. person
associatedWith Waldman, Morris P. person
associatedWith Warburg, Felix M. person
correspondedWith Washington, George, 1732-1799 person
correspondedWith Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924 person
associatedWith Wolsey, Louis person
associatedWith Yalta Conference (1945) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
Virginia
Subject
World War, 1914-1918--Civilian relief
World War, 1939-1945--Diplomatic history
Government executives--Interviews
World War, 1939-1945--United States
World War, 1939-1945
Investment bankers--Interviews
World War, 1939-1945--Naval operations, American
International relief
Occupation
Executives
Naval officers
Cabinet officers
Collectors, Autograph
Function

Person

Active 1907

Active 1950

Information

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