Levi Strauss

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Levi Strauss
Levi Strauss 1.jpg
BornLöb Strauß
(1829-02-26)February 26, 1829
Buttenheim, Kingdom of Bavaria in the German Confederation
DiedSeptember 26, 1902(1902-09-26) (aged 73)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Known forFounding the first company to manufacture riveted blue jeans

Levi Strauss (/ˈlv ˈstrs/, born Löb Strauß, German: [løːp ˈʃtʁaʊs]; February 26, 1829 – September 26, 1902) was a German-American businessman who founded the first company to manufacture blue jeans. His firm of Levi Strauss & Co. began in 1847 in San Francisco, California.[1][2]

Family background[edit]

Birthplace of Levi Strauss

Levi Strauss was born to an Ashkenazi Jewish family in Buttenheim on February 26, 1829 in the Franconia region of the Kingdom of Bavaria in the German Confederation.[3] He was the son of Hirsch Strauss and his second wife Rebecca Strauss.[4][5] At age 18, Strauss traveled with his mother and two sisters to the United States to join his brothers Jonas and Louis, who had begun a wholesale dry goods business in New York City called J. Strauss Brother & Co.[6]

Business career[edit]

Levi's sister Fanny and her husband David Stern moved to St. Louis, Missouri, while Levi went to live in Louisville, Kentucky and sold his brothers' supplies there.[7] Levi became an American citizen in January 1853.[8]

The family decided to open a West Coast branch of their dry goods business in San Francisco, which was the commercial hub of the California Gold Rush. Levi was chosen to represent them, and he took a steamship for San Francisco, where he arrived in early March 1854 and joined his sister's family.[9]

Strauss opened his wholesale business as Levi Strauss & Co. and imported fine dry goods from his brothers in New York, including clothing, bedding, combs, purses, and handkerchiefs. He made tents and later jeans while he lived with Fanny's growing family.[10] Jacob W. Davis was one of his customers and one of the inventors of riveted denim pants in 1871,[11] and he went into business with Strauss to produce blue jeans. The two men patented the new style of work pants in 1873.[12]

Death[edit]

Levi Strauss died on September 26, 1902. He left his company to his four nephews. His estate was worth about $125 million (equivalent to $3,535,576,923 in 2017).[1]

Legacy[edit]

The Levi Strauss museum is located in the 1867 house where Strauss was born Buttenheim, Germany. There is also a visitors center at Levi Strauss & Co. headquarters in San Francisco, which features historical exhibits. The Levi Strauss Foundation started with an 1897 donation to the University of California, Berkeley.[13][14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Downey, Lynn (2008). "Levi Strauss: a short biography" (PDF). Levi Strauss & Co. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 23, 2011. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  2. ^ James Sullivan, Jeans: a cultural history of an American icon (Gotham, 2007).
  3. ^ Dinkelspiel, Frances (2010). Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California. St. Johns Martin's Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-312-35527-2. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
  4. ^ http://www.joachim-dietze.de/pdf/levis_aa.pdf
  5. ^ http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=DAC18690108.2.38.1 * July 6, 1798, + January 8, 1869
  6. ^ Carey, Charles W. (2002). American inventors, entrepreneurs and business visionaries. Facts on File. pp. 331–332. ISBN 978-0-8160-4559-4. Retrieved May 1, 2012.
  7. ^ Evans, Harold (2004). They made America. Little Brown. ISBN 9780316277662. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
  8. ^ Feldberg, Michael (2002). Blessings of freedom: chapters in American Jewish history. KTAV Publishing. p. 172. ISBN 9780881257557. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
  9. ^ Leiman, Sondra (1994). America: the Jewish experience. UAHC Press. p. 59. ISBN 9780807405000. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
  10. ^ Downe, Lynn (2007). Levi Strauss & Co. Arcadia Publishers. p. 9. ISBN 9780738555539. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
  11. ^ Loverin, Jan (2006), "A Nevada Stylist: Your Denim Jeans Are a Nevada Invention" (PDF), Nevada State Museum Newsletter, 36 (3): 4, archived from the original (PDF) on April 29, 2013, retrieved March 12, 2016
  12. ^ U.S. Patent 139,121
  13. ^ "Foundations - Levi Strauss & Co". Levistrauss.com. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  14. ^ Thomas, Grace Powers (1898). Where to educate, 1898-1899. A guide to the best private schools, higher institutions of learning, etc., in the United States. Boston: Brown and Company. p. 10. Retrieved August 17, 2012.

External links[edit]