10 Facts About Levi Strauss

In honor of the birthday of our founder Levi Strauss, our historian Lynn Downey shares 10 Facts about Levi that you may not know! 

10 Facts About Levi Strauss

1)   
Levi Strauss was 43 years old
when he and partner Jacob Davis partnered together to invent the blue jean in 1873.

2)   
Levi was named “Loeb” at birth.

3)   
Levi was born in Buttenheim,
Germany where his house is now used as a Levi Strauss Museum.

House in Buttenheim.jpg

4)   
Levi emigrated to San Francisco
during the California Gold Rush, but knew he wouldn’t make it panning gold

5)   
Levi’s first business was in
establishing a wholesale dry goods business, selling everything from clothing
to umbrellas to bolts of fabric.

6)   
Levi was a well-known figure in
San Francisco, yet despite his stature as an important businessman, he insisted
his employees call him Levi, and not Mr. Strauss.

Levi Strauss Customers.jpg

7)   
Jacob Davis was a tailor from
Nevada and one of Levi’s regular customers who purchased bolts of cloth from
his dry goods wholesale business.

1897 jeans advertisment.jpg

8)   
Levi was one of San Francisco’s
greatest philanthropists who contributed to the Pacific Hebrew Orphan Asylsum
and Home, among other charities. He also created scholarships for students at the University of California, Berkeley.

9)   
Levi never married nor had
children.

10)  In summing up his life when
Levi passed on, the San Francisco Board of Trade gave this testimonial for his
legacy:

“…the great
causes of education and charity have likewise suffered a signal loss in the
death of Mr. Strauss, whose splendid endownments to the University of California
will be an enduring testimonial oh his worth as a liberal, public-minded
citizen and whose numberless unostentatious acts of charity in which neither
race nor creed were recognized, exemplified his broad and generous love for and
sympathy with humanity.”