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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Sylvan M. Straus

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[This information is from Vol. III, p. 360 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Sylvan M. Straus, whose position in the Gloversville Welt Company as secretary, treasurer and general manager gives him an unique place in the industrial circles of this city and the glove business throughout the country, was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, June 21, 1889, of German-American parentage. His mother, who bore the maiden name of Clementine Kupfer, is a Philadelphian by birth. Gustave C. Straus, the father, was born in Germany and came to this country at the age of sixteen. He located first at Aberdeen, Mississippi, where he worked on a ranch, and later went into Arkansas as one of the pioneer settlers. There he opened up a large tract of land along the White river and took out millions of feet of hardwood lumber in the early days of the lumber industry in the central south. In 1893 he came east to New York city and three years later settled in Gloversville, engaging in the glove manufacturing business for some years. Mr. Straus patented a glove welt, following which he went into that business, meeting with tremendous success. Protected by his patent rights he founded the Gloversville Welt Company, of which he was the president until his death, which occurred August 11, 1924. This is the only concern of its kind in the United States or Canada.

The present general manager of the Gloversville Welt Company, Sylvan M. Straus, was only a small boy when the family came east to reside, so he obtained his education in the public schools of New York city and the DeWitt Clinton high school, graduating from the latter in 1905. Immediately after leaving school the young man became associated with the J. B. Kleinert Rubber Company, in whose employ he remained for five years. At the close of that time he came to Gloversville to accept a position as manager for E. J. Arbib & Company, dealers in raw products. Four years later he resigned this position to join his father in the welt business and at the close of his first two years of experience along this line was made secretary and treasurer and general manager of the concern, succeeding his father as the active head of the business.

On the 30th of January, 1920, Mr. Straus was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Jenia Von Beckman. He is a republican in politics and is identified with the City Athletic Club of New York city, which he makes his headquarters on his frequent trips to the great metropolis. Since coming to Gloversville Mr. Straus has forged ahead in a business way, his changes in his connections each indicating a step in advance of his former situation. Now, in addition to being at the head of one of the important industries of the city, he is secretary and treasurer of the Children's Leather Goods Company, to whose affairs he devotes considerable time and energy. Mr. Straus is considered one of the alert, progressive young men of his city and may confidently look forward to a long and successful career in his chosen line of work.

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