Kraus, Adolf

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KRAUS, ADOLF (1850–1928), U.S. lawyer, and civic and communal leader. Born in Bohemia, Kraus emigrated to the United States in 1865 and worked as a clerk in small-town Ohio stores for several years. In 1871 he went to Chicago, studied law, and was admitted to the bar (1877). Highly successful in his legal practice, Kraus became involved in civic affairs and local politics. He served in Chicago as a member (1881–87) and president (1884–86) of the Board of Education, as corporation counsel (1893), and as president of the Civil Service Commission (1897–98). He was also, briefly, publisher and editor of the Chicago Times (1894). Active in Jewish affairs, Kraus was international president of B'nai B'rith from 1905 to 1925 and helped establish its Anti-Defamation League. He was a staunch conservative and a leading member of the dominant Jewish elite during the early decades of the 20th century.


E. Grusd, B'nai B'rith: The Story of a Covenant (1966), index.

[Morton Rosenstock]