were the children of three Straus children, Sarah,
Isabelle and Simon, their grandparents the widowed
Madeline Goldsmith Straus (1840-1917) and late
Frederick W. Straus (1833-1890).
Lester W. Livingston and Madeline
Livingston were the children of Indiana
natives, Maxwell M. Livingston (1863-1927) and
Sarah Straus Livingston (1868-1954) of South Bend,
Indiana, where they lived at 424 N. Michigan. A third
sibling, Fredrick Livingston (1898-1983) was only
five and did not attend Mr. Bluebeard.
Helen Cora Moran, nicknamed
Nellie, Madeline's and Lester's governess, in later
years described herself as their kindergarten
teacher, though at eleven and seven they were too
old for that. She was the daughter of Thomas
J. and Elizabeth O'Conner Moran. When the fire
broke out she grabbed the youngest of the children,
five-year-old Louise Straus, and began jumping over
the backs of seats to escape. Madeline saved
her lace collar but the fire singed their hair.
Livingston operated a clothing store in South Bend
in 1903 but later moved to Chicago and worked as an
insurance agent. The family
donated a library to the Northern Indiana Orphans
home at Logan and Lincoln Way in Mishawaka, Indiana†
in appreciation for their escape and in memory of
Iroquois Theater fire victims, including their
Regensburg cousins. Max Livingston was a
member of the home's Building Committee. In
the years after the fire, Madeline Livingston married Cheri Sourdis
Freund and had three children, of which two survived
to adulthood (see below). Lester married
Edna May and had one child.
Madeline's and Lester's
governess, Nellie Moran, married in 1908, to a
fellow with her same last name. They went on
to have two children. In 1934 she spoke of her
experience at the Iroquois in 1903.
"I'm sure I was the first person in the audience
to see a wisp of smoke. I was watching a bald-headed
man just in front of me, in the first row, who was
watching a chorus girl in the wings. I was so
disgusted with him I looked to see what he was
looking at. He was too interested in the girl to see
the smoke, so I saw it first." Nellie
would also survive the 1906 San Francisco
earthquake. She said they were similar in that
both began with a rumble that then became a swish.
The Straus's (sometimes
Louise were the children of mortgage banker Simon W. Straus
(1866-1930) and Hattie Klee Straus (1871-1966).
Hattie was pregnant for their third child at the
time of the Iroquois fire. Adelle was a former
student at St. Mary's Academy in South Bend. Both
were regular visitors at the Livingston home.
In the years
after the fire, Madeline Straus
married twice and had two children. Louise also
married twice but did not have children. Simon
Straus was very successful in banking and hotels, at
his death leaving a large inheritance to his family
members. An anonymous $25,000 donation was
made to the Iroquois Theater memorial society that
helped put the fund to build an
Iroquois Memorial Hospital over the top.
Simon's brother-in-law, Samuel Regensburg (right)
was an officer in the organization at the time.
Simon is on my shortlist of benefactor
Adelle Adele “Addie” Regensburg and her
sister, Hazel Regensburg were the children of Samuel H. Regensburg
(1860-1922) and Isabelle "Belle" Straus Regensburg (1865-1949).‡
Adele was a student at St. Mary's College in South
Bend, home for the Christmas holidays.
Samuel and Belle
married in 1886. Like his father before him,
Henry L. Regensburg, Samuel worked as a grocer in
Chicago. Henry had lost his first grocery
during the 1871 Great Chicago fire. In 1903 the
Regensburg family lived at 3440 Michigan Avenue in
Both girl's bodies were found
at Rolston's Undertaking. At their funeral,
one room in the family's home contained their
caskets while guests gathered in an adjoining room.
Many classmates and family were present.
The girls wore white dresses they'd worn a few days
prior at a party. The detail about their
dresses tells us they died of suffocation and were
not badly trampled or burned, allowing open caskets.
The service had to be short, Dr. Emil G. Hirsch
advised, because he had four other funerals to do
that day for Iroquois Theater victims. He went from
the Regensburg's to the
Zeisler's. Their floral-covered white
caskets were born in a white carriage pulled by
white horses to a Northwestern train probably bound
for the Rose Hill cemetery.
In later years Samuel and Belle became
involved in the Iroquois Memorial Association, Sam
serving as president of the group in 1918.
Discrepancies and addendum
another party named Livingston at the Iroquois
Theater but I've not found evidence of a familial
relationship between them. Jean and Daisy
Livingston's story is
* The name
was sometimes spelled Livingstone.
Children's Aid Society of Indiana operated the
the early 1900s. The Women's Christian
Temperance Union founded the facility in 1882.
evolved into today's
Family & Children’s Center. Though located in
Mishawaka, IN, in the early 1900s it was commonly
referred to as the "South Bend Orphan Home." In
addition to Max Livingston, benefactors of the home
included Samuel Leeper, J. M. Studebaker and other
prominent members of the community.
A 1907 description of Orphanage history.
‡ Belle may have been at the
Iroquois with her daughters and survived. Some
newspapers reported a “B.
Regensburg” among the victims but the Chicago coroner’s office
did not issue a burial permit for a third
Regensburg and stories about the Regensburgs in
later years did not mention a third victim.
Several newspapers inaccurately reported that Adele
was the younger of the sisters but information the
family reported to the 1900 U.S. Census enumerator,
supported by the Cook County birth certificate index
makes Adelle the eldest and Hazel the youngest.