Ralph Beaver Strassburger
1883 - 1959
Compiled by Ivo A. Strassburger, 2008 from the book
"The Strassburger Family and Allied Families of Pennsylvania"
Private Edition, 1922 and other sources.
RALPH BEAVER STRASSBURGER, publisher and newspaper owner, eldest son of Jacob Andrew Strassburger and his wife, Mary Jane Beaver, was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, March 26, 1883, and although baptized September 9th of the same year by the Reverend Thomas R. Beeber, pastor of the church of his mother, the First Presbyterian Church of Norristown, he has followed the creed of his father, the old German Reformed faith. His father was a member of the Reformed Church of Schwenkville and his great-grandfather was for forty years a minister at Indian Creek, Tohickon, and other Reformed congregations in Montgomery and Bucks Counties.

............... He received his preliminary education in the public and private schools of Norristown, graduating from the High School in 1899. He then studied at Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire, for two years, during which time he secured high honors in athletics, and was selected as a member of the famous football team, in 1900, which defeated Andover 10-6. Every member of this Philips Exeter team subsequently became a member of a leading university team. In 1901, Mr. Strassburger was appointed to the United States Naval Academy by the Honorable I. P. Wanger, from his home district, now the Eighth Congressional District of Pennsylvania.
During his Annapolis days he kept up his prestige in athletics, playing for four years on the football team with great distinction. In 1902, he was chosen substitute for the All-American Team of that year, having scored all the points for Annapolis in the memorable Army and Navy game played at Philadelphia.

Upon his graduation from Annapolis, in 1905, he was ordered to sea, having the honor of being chosen to serve under Rear Admiral W. B. Brownson, United States Navy, the former Superintendent at the Naval Academy.
USS West Virginia

The above is is a 3.25" x 4" glass slide of the USS West Virginia. The glass slide was taken by A. Loeffler of Tompkinsville, NY and dated 1905. This photo was possibly taken during her shakedown trials.

...... Length: 503 feet 11 inches. Breadth: 69 feet 7 inches. Mean Draft: 24 feet 1 inch. Displacement: 13,680 tons. Machinery: 26,135 IHP; Babcock boilers, 2 Vertical, Inverted, Triple Expansion Engines, 2 screws. Speed: 22.14 knots. Coal Bunker Capacity: 900 tons normal, 2,098 tons maximum. Batteries: Main Battery: four 8 inch, 45 cal. breech-loading rifles, fourteen 6-inch, 50 cal. rapid fire guns. Secondary Battery: eighteen 3-inch, 50 cal. rapid fire guns, twelve 3-pounder semi-automatic guns, two 1-pounder rapid fire guns, two 3-inch field pieces, six automatic guns, caliber .30, two 18-inch submerged torpedo tubes. Armor: Belt, 6 inches; turrets, 6 1/2 inches; barbettes, 6 inches; deck, 4 inches; Conning Tower, 9 inches. Complement: 41 officers, 850 men (921 as flagship). Built by: Newport News Ship Builders, Newport News VA Launched: April 18, 1903. Class: PENNSYLVANIA 

The USS West Virginia / Huntington as she looked during 1919

After two years at sea, he received promotion to the rank of Ensign. He next saw service on the U. S. Battleship Connecticut, under command of Admiral Robley D. Evans, and was attached to the Presidential yacht Mayflower of the United States Navy, in 1907, during the incumbency of the late Theodore Roosevelt.

Postcard of the USS Connecticut.

.Ensign Strassburger also served on the fast scout cruiser Birmingham during the conduct of the competitive engineering tests between the United States Cruiser Salem and the U. S. S. Chester.
............... In 1909, after eight years' service, he left the Navy to accept a position in the marine department of the Babcock & Wilcox Company, manufacturers of most of the steam boilers installed for the American, English, and Italian navies, as well as for the navies of Brazil, Argentina, and several smaller nations. Incidental to this phase of his career, a story is related which forcibly illustrates Mr. Strassburger's cool and courageous conduct in a dangerous emergency. During the progress of the builders' trial trip of the newly completed U. S. Battleship North Dakota, a header blew out causing the death of two men and scalding several others. He promptly entered the chamber and, regardless of personal danger, was enabled to isolate the boiler, thereby saving many lives and, in all probability, the ship itself.

...............On May 11, 1911, Mr. Strassburger was married by the Reverend H. Bertie Roberts, at the Church of St. John the Divine, West Wickham, County Kent, England, to May Bourne, daughter of Commodore Frederick G. Bourne and his wife, Emma Sparks Keeler, of New York. Commodore Bourne was born December 2O,1851, and died March 9,1919. He was President of the Singer Manufacturing Company and resided on his beautiful estate at Oakdale, Long Island.
...............At the outbreak of the Balkan War, in 1913, Mr. Strassburger entered the diplomatic service and, after passing the required examination, was appointed by President Taft as Consul General and Secretary of Legation to Roumania, Bulgaria, and Servia. Following this he was promoted to the post of Second Secretary of the Embassy at Tokyo, Japan. Upon the accession of the Democratic Party to political supremacy with the election of Woodrow Wilson as President, he retired from the foreign service after the appointment of William J. Bryan as Secretary of State.

.Always active and influential in Republican politics, Mr. Strassburger has been prominent as an ardent party supporter and follower of the regular Republican State organization. In 1914, he was a candidate for the United States House of Representatives in the Republican primaries, but was defeated by Honorable Henry W. Watson by a slight majority.

In 1914, immediately after the outbreak of the European War, he foresaw that the ultimate position that America would occupy would be either that she would be forced into the great conflict or else be compelled to take extreme protective measures. Being a strong believer that the best defensive method for America to assume would be the building up and the strengthening of the Navy rather than the forming of a large Army, he joined the Navy League. Shortly he was elected to the Board of Directors and became a member of the Executive Committee of that Board. The Navy League was more or less a social organization at the time of his entrance into it, but in a short space of time he collected a large amount of money from his friends in New York, and at a famous luncheon given at the down town club, $20,000 was subscribed for an educational campaign. This was really the starting of the Preparedness movement. At that time the Preparedness idea had not been much thought of, and none of the numerous societies which sprang up later, such as the National Security League and the American Defense Society, were even in existence and the fundamental work which was carried on was against the violent opposition of the Carnegie Peace Society, and it was necessary to literally force the news items into the papers throughout the country. The work which had been done by the Carnegie Peace Society had borne fruit and a popular song at that time was "I did not Raise My Boy to be a Soldier."

These efforts of Mr. Strassburger, who was much younger than his colleagues, were in opposition to the views of certain older members of the Board; but in the dispute which subsequently arose, Mr. Strassburger won out after a bitter contest. He was also instrumental in the suggesting and calling of a committee to formulate plans for the association of Reserve Officers of the Navy, which afterwards grew into the great organization which furnished the reserve officers during America's participation in the war. As early as February, 1917, at the time of the rupture of diplomatic relations between this country and Germany, he immediately offered his services to the Navy Department at Washington, and was assigned to the U. S. Naval Intelligence Division. He also saw service on the Overseas Transport Louisville, and later was assigned to special duty in connection with the Fourth Naval District. He received a letter of commendation from the Secretary of the Navy for his services during the war.

In December, 1919, again foreseeing the serious results which would ensue from American participation in the League of Nations, he entered actively into the discussion as to whether or not the United States should follow the Wilsonian policy and enter the League of Nations and ratify the Treaty of Versailles. He was a strong supporter of the Knox plan and that group of patriots who were characterized as "Irreconcilables" by the Wilsonian Democrats; was a large financial contributor to the first meetings which were held throughout the country against the League, and participated actively in the management of this campaign. An ardent supporter of Senator Knox, of Pennsylvania, Mr. Strassburger would have supported him for the Presidency; but upon Senator Knox's announcement that he would not be a candidate, he followed Knox's suggestion and took an active part in the management and underwrote the campaign of Senator Hiram W. Johnson, of California, in the fight on the League. The success of this campaign, because of the issue involved and the campaigning ability of Mr. Johnson himself, was remarkable. In contradiction to the methods in use by the Wood and Lowden forces its conduct was notably efficient and economical as shown by the fact that while the Wood forces were spending over $2,000,000 the Johnson campaign was managed for about $200,000. It was shown by the Senate Investigating Committee that Mr. Strassburger was the main contributor to the Johnson campaign and one of the most active in its management. In November, 1920, he accompanied Senator Medill McCormick, of Illinois, on a trip to Geneva, at which time they attended the first meeting of the League of Nations. Subsequently they visited Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Warsaw, Berlin, Rome, Brussels, Paris, and London, meeting on this trip practically every statesman of note and gaining much information as to the condition and ideals of these various nations. As a result they returned fully satisfied that the stand which they had taken regarding the League was the correct one.

Mr. Strassburger's estate, Normandy Farm, at Franklinville, Gwynedd Valley, Pennsylvania, is one of the most extensive in the state, comprising nearly one thousand acres, and over thirty houses and barns, one of the latter being five hundred feet in length. The farm is devoted chiefly to the raising of thoroughbreds and hunting horses. Among some of the horses are "Panacea" (Peter Pan-Mint Cake) from James R. Keene's stud in Kentucky; "Gingersnap Second," a granddaughter of "Meddler" and brought from the Haras de Fresnay, France, owned by Clarence H. Mac Kay ; and "Wolverton II," winner of the Radnor Hunt Cup, Rose Tree Hunt Cup, Fox Hall Cup, Monkton (Maryland), defeating thirty of the best point-to-point horses in America. ...............

Mr. Strassburger is the owner and publisher of the Norristown Herald, one of the oldest dailies in the State of Pennsylvania, having been founded in 1799. There have been but four or five owners of this paper during its 123 years of existence. It is one of the best known dailies in the country and is renowned for its conservative editorials and its support of the principles of the Republican Party.

He is a Councilor of the Colonial Society of Pennsylvania,
and a member of the following clubs and organizations:

...............The Historical Society of Pennsylvania
...............Colonial Society of Pennsylvania
...............Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution
...............The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania
...............Pennsylvania Horticultural Society
...............Society of Foreign Wars
...............Society of Mechanical Engineers
...............Royal Institute of Naval Architects, London, England
...............American Automobile Association
...............Eastern Pennsylvania Jersey Cattle Club
...............Thoroughbred Horse Association
...............National Geographic Society

New York:
...............University Club
...............American Lawn Tennis Association
...............New York Yacht Club
...............Racquet and Tennis Club
...............Recess Club
...............Army and Navy Club
...............New York Press Club
...............Jekyl Island Club
...............National Republican Club
...............Turf and Field Club.
...............Bryn Mawr Polo Club
...............Racquet Club
...............Philadelphia Cricket Club
...............Markham Club
...............Radnor Hunt Club
...............White Marsh Valley Huat Club
...............Rose Tree Hunt Club
...............Huntingdon Valley Hunt Club
...............Penllyn Club
...............Sunnybrook Golf Club
...............Florist Club,
...............Metropolitan Club
...............American Remount Association
...............Amy and Navy Club
...............Racquet Club
...............National Conservation Association
...............Graduates Association, U. S. Naval Academy ;
...............United States Naval Officers' Association
...............Naval Historical Society
...............Navy Athletic Association
...............War Cruiser and Transport Association

...............Travelers Club, 25 Avenue Champs Elysees, Paris, France
...............Tennis Club de Paris, Paris, France. Alpine Public Schools Club, London,.England,
................ and Murren,Switzerland, Ile de Puteaux, Paris, France.

Mr. and Mrs. Strassburger have one child, a son, Johann Andreas Peter Strassburger, named for his great-great-great-great grandfather, Johann Andreas Strassburger, the pioneer ancestor who came to this country from Ober Ingelheim, Germany, in 1742.

.Children of Ralph Beaver Strassburger and May Bourne:
1. (Son) born October 16, 1913; died at birth.

JOHANN ANDREAS PETER STRASSBURGER, only child of Ralph Beaver and May Bourne Strassburger, was born January 3, 1916, and is therefore but six years of age as this book goes to press. He is a typical American boy, showing even thus early every indication that in time he will grow into a worthy representative of the long line of worthy ancestors, whose lives and deeds it has been the aim of this book to record and preserve. (se notes below)

By Ivo Strassburger - FEB 2008
Click para contactar SAEL e Webmaster

(Clik here to open the complete Ancestors Table)

.......... Ralph Beaver Strassburger was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, on March 26, 1883 and died in Paris, France on February 26, 1959. He was an American businessman, who was also a prominent Thoroughbred racehorse owner and breeder.

.......... Educated at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, he graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1905 and served in the U.S. Navy until 1909. He then went into business and in 1911 married May Bourne, the daughter of Frederick Gilbert Bourne, president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. An unsuccessful candidate for the United States House of Representatives in the elections of 1914, following America's entry in World War I he rejoined the Navy and served as a transport officer until being discharged in 1919.

.......... Ralph Strassburger, had a keen interest in farming and agriculture. In 1911, he married May Bourne, the daughter of Commodore Frederick G. Bourne, the president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. The couple received $4 million from the Commodore as a wedding present – it is believed that this money was used to purchase the property from Mr. Wilson. Mr. Strassburger renamed the property after Normandy, France, where he honeymooned with his new wife. He also held numerous properties in France, which influenced many of the design and architectural, characteristics seen on the farm. Ralph Strassburger originally used the farm to breed thoroughbred horses, then Aryshire cattle. Mr. Strassburger proceeded to build the three silos, which remain three distinctive features of the property, to feed what grew to a heard of 300 Aryshire cattles. He also constructed the huge white stucco walls, which still border on two sides of the property today. The Strassburgers eventually grew the farm to 1,500 acres. Although Ralph Strassburger died in 1959, Normandy Farm remained in his family for the next several decades. The farm remained largely unused during this time, although was dutifully watched over by Arthur Rush, who kept and maintained the property for the Strassburger family for 45 years.

.......... Normandy Farm is located in the heart of Whitpain Township in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The property has been entered into the National Register of Historic Places, which is kept by the United States Department of the Interior, and is the official list of the nation’s cultural resources worthy of preservation. It includes properties significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering and culture. These resources contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural foundations of the United States of America.

.........Normandy Farm is well known to many by the massive barn and its three silos that peer over the red and white structure’s metallic roof. The white wall of stucco-covered stone, with its distinctive peaked gates, has surrounded the property for over 75 years, adding to the seclusion and mystique of this historic American landmark. Behind this wall lies something very impressive but rarely seen up close. We invite you to read about the history of the property, the barn, and its heritage as a landmark in American engineering and culture.

Normandy Farm today. For more, go to: http://www.normandyfarm.com/index.asp

European Thoroughbred horse racing
............... In an era when many wealthy Americans maintained secondary residences in Paris, France and/or estates on the French Riviera, some like William Kissam Vanderbilt, Joseph E. Widener, and Ralph Strassburger were involved in the very popular sport of Thoroughbred horse racing and acquired breeding farms in the renowned horse region of Lower Normandy.
.............. In 1926, with Grand Prix winner Astéroïde, Ralph-Beaver Strassburger recorded his first victory in France. He would triumph in the race again in 1931 courtesy of Célérina. A great friend of France, he created a superb stud farm for his horses near (Les Monceaux) and had a fine villa built for himself near the racecourse, surrounded by apple trees situated on the side of the hill that would be leased to Deauville town council. The "Villa Strassburger" subsequently hosted many glittering receptions.

....... In the 1920s, Ralph and May Strassburger purchased a villa from Baron Henri de Rothschild in Normandy's exclusive resort city of Deauville, France. They also acquired the Haras des Monceaux Thoroughbred horse farm at Lisieux, about 18 miles (30 kilometers) south of Deauville. Their French racing stable would enjoy considerable success at the Deauville-La Touques Racecourse as well as at other racecourses in France and in England. Widely respected, France Galop refers to Ralph Strassburger as a "great friend of France."

............ To avoid seizure by the Nazis during the German occupation of France during World War II, all of the Strassburger horses raced under the name of a French friend, Mme. de Bonard. Among the Strassburgers' major successes were victories in both the French and British Classic Races as well as in the prestigious Washington, D.C. International Stakes in the United States.
............ Following Ralph Strassburger's death in 1959 his widow continued to race horses. Eventually, their bloodstock was sold and their horse Worden went to Brickfields Stud in England where he became the Leading broodmare sire in Great Britain & Ireland in 1975 and 1976. The Villa Strassburger, listed in the French Historic Monuments register in 1975, remained in family hands until 1980 when his son donated it to the city of Deauville.

Notable race wins:

  • Grand Prix de Deauville - Asteroide 1926, Celerina (1931)
  • Prix du Cadran - Asteroide (1927), Cambremer (1957)
  • Prix Maurice de Gheest - Mordicus (1927), Guam (1952), Vamarie1954)
  • Critérium de Sant-Cloud - De Beers (1931), Lofoten 1956)
  • Prix d'Astarte - Celerina (1931)
  • Prix Hocquart - Bishop's Rock (1932), Angers (1960), Moutiers (1961)
  • Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte - Pensbury (1942)
  • Grand Prix de Paris - Pensbury (1943)
  • Prix Greffulhe - Pensbury (1943)
  • Prix Lupin - Pensbury (1943)
  • Grand Criterium - Clarion (1946), Angers (1959)
  • Prix Quincey - Clarion (1947)
  • Prix du Rond Point - Clarion (1948)
  • Prix Jean Prat - Le Tyrol (1951), Angers (1960)
  • Prix du Conseil de Paris - Worden (1952), Mahan (1955)
  • Prix de Barbeville - Mahan (1955), Clichy (1958)
  • Prix Gontaut-Biron - Montaval (1956)
  • Prix Dollar - Montaval (1957)

 United Kingdom:

  • St. Leger Stakes Cambremer (1956)
  • King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes - Montaval (1957)

 United States:

  • Washington, D.C. International - Worden (1953)

Ralph Beaver Strassburger active in politics and International affairs.

RALPH B. STRASSBURGER, New York, nominated by President of US Secretary to American Legation,
Bucharest, Aug., 1912.

1920 - Republican National Convention, Chicago, R. B. Strassburger and A. P. Moore (right)
Chicago Daily News negatives collection,. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society.

.............. Ralph Beaver Strassburger enter in the newspaper business. He acquired the Norristown Herald in 1921 and the Norristown Times in 1922. In 1923, he consolidated the two papers and the “Times Herald” was born which still operates to this day.

"...The village of Norris was founded by Isaac Norris, a Quaker merchant and mayor of Philadelphia, and his family in 1704. More than a century later, on March 31, 1812, Norristown was officially incorporated as a Pennsylvania state borough, and it was the first borough to be incorporated in Montgomery County. Laid out along the banks of the Schuylkill River, both business and the community prospered. Over the years, the area has attracted business and visitors alike, including a visit in 1960 from John F. Kennedy. Norristown offers a delightful flashback to the fascinating history of this community through vintage photographs from area residents and organizations..."

"...Strassburger Prize Sirs: A jury composed of Professor Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann and Jakob Wassermann, representing the German branch of the Strassburger Foundation has awarded the annual prize of the Foundation for 1932 to Walther Reinhardt, German Consul in
.... Monday, Apr. 18, 1932
Seattle,Wash., for his book George Washington, published in Frankfurt am Rhein. The object of the Strassburger Foundation is to further good relations between the U. S. and several European countries.
.......It has branches in France, Germany, Austria and Hungary. Its French jury is composed of Andre Maurois, M. Francois-Poncet, French Ambassador to Berlin, and others. Annual prizes of $1,000 in these countries are awarded to authors and journalists who made the most meritorious contribution to the cause of friendship with the U. S. during the year. M. MACMILLAX General Secretary Strassburger Foundation New York City Founded by Ralph Beaver Strassburger, active publicist, socialite, sportsman and Republican of Norristown, Pa., Strassburger Awards have been given since 1929..."

............. Mr. Strassburger was a lover for technological innovations and has applied early the novelties on their communication network of newspapers.

Facsimile Machines

The photo to the right shows Warren Jones in New York watching the signature of his client Ralph Beaver Strassburger, being transmitted by wire from London. The photo is undated.

As see on the Early Office Museum www.officemuseum.com included in
The Collector's Weekly HALL OF FAME
for Best Collector Sites on the Web.

Some books and publications by
Ralph B. Strassburger

- The Pennsylvania German Society: A summary of the Society's proud history and its purposes; what the Pennsylvania Germans have done for America since 1683: a great historical institution.

- The Huguenots: Their rise and their settlement in America.

- "Is America a Shylock"

- The newsprint problem: American newspapers and the Canadian newsprint

- The Strassburger family and allied families of Pennsylvania: Being the ancestry of Jacob Andrew Strassburger, esquire, of Montgomery county, Pennsylvania, printed for private circulation, in 1922.

- Our judiciary: Montgomery County's judiciary.

- Pennsylvania German Pioneers. A Publication of the Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808. In Three Volumes: Edited By William John Hinke. Published: 1934

............ Of importance to historians and genealogists is Strassburger's book Pennsylvania German Pioneers: a publication of the original lists of arrival in the Port of Philadelphia from 1727 to 1808 published in 1934 in three volumes. This book is regarded as the "Bible" of all the historians of the American immigration and genealogy researchers.
............ Since its publication in 1934 almost two generations ago Strassburger and Hinke's Pennsylvania German Pioneers has been the cornerstone, virtually the bible, of all Pennsylvania German genealogical research. Its three volumes contain the verbatim passenger lists, including the original signatures, of virtually all of the 30,000 heads of German-speaking families who arrived in the port of Philadelphia during the fifty years prior to the American Revolution. The total of 65,000 passengers covered in these lists represent roughly two-thirds of all German-speaking immigrants who arrived in American during the almost one hundred years 1683-1775!

............"In completeness and accuracy these lists easily surpass all those that have gone before. In order to enable the genealogist to settle disputed spellings for himself, the entire second volume of the publication has been given over to the reproduction in facsimile of all available signatures. It is a model in method, in the accomplishment of its aim, in setting a standard for future works of this kind." - The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (1935).

Born on 3-JAN-1916 and died in ?? April 1993, the only son of Ralph B. Strassburger.
Below a transcript of part of a writing of Cristopher McDougall,
" Welcome to the Machine"
published on the site: http://www.citypaper.net/articles/121798/coverstory.shtml

" ...For decades, the 200-year-old Times-Herald was the pet possession of the wealthy Strassburger family. It was passed down through the generations to Johann Andreas Peter Strassburger, the clan's mildly eccentric recluse.

Though he shrank from people, Strassburger apparently liked the public well enough to maintain their hometown paper. Pay was good, benefits were generous—and when plant jobs disappeared over the years as Lee Tires moved south and nearby Alanwood Steel closed, the Times-Herald was there to capture Norristown's deterioration from bustling borough seat into crumbling town center supporting little more than a huge, baronial courthouse and suburbs such as Blue Bell.

Poverty, wealth; booming 'burbs and a struggling downtown; union pride, vanishing jobs—Norristown had all the classic strife of a great news town. The paper was no great prizewinner: a database upgrade by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publishers' Association makes a complete record currently unavailable, but even former editor Terry Brady recalls few reporting awards; in the last four years, under JRC's tenure, it has won two second places for spot news and a sports column. But the Times-Herald of the Strassburger era was professionally written, well-informed and kept its teeth in local issues and events.

"It was a good, sociable read," says former ad salesman Mark Murphy. "People got their financial and international news from the Inquirer in the morning, and their hometown stuff from the Times-Herald at the end of the day." Adds Brady, "If there was a meeting anywhere in the county that night, you could be sure to read about it the next day."

All that changed after Strassburger died a childless bachelor in April 1993. The paper was inherited by distant cousins who ordered it sold, and the new owners were soon sending in the "stiff suits from Trenton," as Fennell put it..."

© 2011 -SAEL-Strassburger Assessoria Empresarial Ltda.- Porto Alegre - Webmaster Ivo A. Strassburger Tel.+(55) (51) 9904.8287
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