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Diplomat and philanthropist. A brother of Nathan Straus he became active in the business enterprises run by his family. He served as U.S. Minister (later Ambassador) to Turkey from 1887 to 1890, 1898 to 1900, and again from 1909 to 1910. From 1906 to 1909 he served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Labor, the first Jew to hold a position in the U.S. Cabinet. He was active also in Jewish communal affairs and had contacts with Zionist leaders.

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