Levi "Löb" Strauss

Is your surname Strauss?

Research the Strauss family

Levi "Löb" Strauss's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Löb Levi Strauss

Also Known As: "Löb", "Levi Strauss & Co."
Birthdate: (73)
Birthplace: Buttenheim, Upper Franconia, Bayern, Germany
Death: September 26, 1902 (73)
San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA, United States
Place of Burial: Colma, San Mateo County, CA, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Hirsch Jakob Strauss and Rebecca Strauss
Brother of Louis Strauss; Mathilde Sahlein; Frances "Vögele" "Fanny" Stern (Strauss); Jonas Jonathan Strauss and Rebecca Rosla Lebermuth
Half brother of Jacob Strauss and Jonathan Jonas Strauss

Occupation: Invented the Blue Jeans
Managed by: Judith Berlowitz, busy editing
Last Updated:

About Levi "Löb" Strauss

Levi Strauss (born Löb Strauß; February 26, 1829 – September 26,1902) was a German-Jewish immigrant to the United States who founded the first company to manufacture blue jeans. His firm, Levi Strauss & Co., began in 1853 in San Francisco, California. He got his start by selling Levi's to California gold miners.


Birth: Feb. 26, 1829 Death: Sep. 26, 1902

German-American clothier, best known for inventing of the quintessential American garment - the blue jean. He was born Loeb Strauss in Buttenheim, Bavaria (now Germany) on February 26, 1829, the youngest son of a Jewish dry goods peddler. In 1847, two years after his father’s death, Loeb immigrated to New York with his three sisters. There, they were met by his older brothers Jonas and Louis, who had already made the journey and had started a dry-goods business, called “J. Strauss Brothers & Co.” Young Loeb soon began to learn the trade himself, and by 1850 he had Americanized his name to “Levi.” Upon learning of the California Gold Rush, Levi decided to emigrate to San Francisco to make his fortune: not by panning gold, but by selling supplies to the throngs of miners who arrived daily in the big city to outfit themselves before heading off to the gold fields. In January of 1853 he became an American citizen, and in March he arrived in San Francisco, establishing a dry-goods business under his own name and also serving as the West Coast representative of the family’s New York firm. He soon sold all his trade goods except a roll of canvas. Levi saw his opportunity when he learned that "up in the diggings," where the miners worked, pants wore out very quickly. So Strauss made some pairs of riveted canvas trousers to sell to miners. More and more miners were coming to Strauss and asking him for a pair of those canvas trousers. Not entirely happy with canvas, Levi started using denim, a new cotton fabric from Genoa, Italy. The weavers there called the fabric "genes.” Strauss changed the name to "jeans" and later he called his pants "Levi’s". Whatever the name, Levi’s new pants were hugely popular with cowboys as well as miners. By 1866 Levi had moved his growing firm to spacious quarters at 14-16 Battery Street, where it remained for the next forty years, the Eastern sales office remained with Jonas Strauss in New York. In his mid-thirties, Levi was already a well-known figure around the city. He was active in the business and cultural life of San Francisco, and actively supported the Jewish community. Despite his stature as an important businessman and community leader, he insisted that his employees call him Levi, and not Mr. Strauss. He knew that demand would be great for these riveted "waist overalls" (the old name for jeans), so Levi brought Jacob Davis to San Francisco to oversee the first West Coast manufacturing facility. Initially, Davis supervised the cutting of the blue denim material and its delivery to individual seamstresses who worked out of their homes. But the demand for overalls made it impossible to maintain this system, and factories on Fremont and Market Streets were opened. As the end of the 19th century approached, Levi stepped back from the day-to-day workings of the business, leaving it to his nephews. In 1890 - the year that the lot number "501" was first used to designate the denim waist overalls - Levi and his nephews officially incorporated the company, though by this time he had begun to concentrate on other business and philanthropic pursuits. During the week of September 22, 1902 Levi began to complain of ill health and he died on September 26, 1902. Levi's estate amounted to nearly $6 million, the bulk of which was left to his four nephews and other family members. (bio by: Edward Parsons)


   Home of Peace Cemetery and Emanu-El Mausoleum 
   Colma, San Mateo County, CA, USA
   GPS (lat/lon): 37.6767, -122.45493

Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Jan 01, 2001 Find A Grave Memorial# 1608

Levi Strauss was a German-American businessman who founded the first company to manufacture blue jeans. His firm, Levi Strauss & Co., began in 1853 in San Francisco, California.

Levi Strauss was born in Buttenheim, Germany, on February 26, 1829, in the Franconian region of Bavaria, Germany, to an Ashkenazi Jewish family. He was the son of Hirsch Strauss and his second wife Rebecca Strauss. At the age of 18, Strauss, his mother and two sisters traveled 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.

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 in Kentucky. In January 1853, Levi Strauss became an American citizen.

The family decided to open a West Coast branch of the family dry goods business in San Francisco, which was the commercial hub of the California Gold Rush. Levi was chosen to represent the family and he took a steamship for San Francisco, arriving in early March 1853, where he joined his sister's family.

Strauss opened his dry goods wholesale business as Levi Strauss & Co. and imported fine dry goods—clothing, bedding, combs, purses, handkerchiefs—from his brothers in New York. He made tents, and later jeans. Levi lived with Fanny's growing family.

Jacob Davis, one of Strauss's customers and one of the inventors of riveted denim pants in 1871, went into business with Strauss to produce blue jeans. The two men patented the new style of work pants in 1873.

Levi Strauss died on September 26, 1902, in San Francisco at the age of 73. He never married, and left the business to his four nephews, Jacob, Sigmund, Louis, and Abraham Stern, the sons of his sister Fanny and her husband David Stern. He also left bequests to a number of charities, such as the Pacific Hebrew Orphan Asylum and the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum. Before his death, he had also established scholarships at the University of California Berkeley (Levi Strauss Scholarships). Levi's fortune was estimated to be around $6 million ($164 million in 2014 dollars). He was buried in Colma, California.

The Levi Strauss museum in Buttenheim, Germany, is located in the 1687 house where Strauss was born. 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.

view all

Levi "Löb" Strauss's Timeline

February 26, 1829
Buttenheim, Upper Franconia, Bayern, Germany
September 26, 1902
Age 73
San Francisco, San Francisco County, CA, United States
September 29, 1902
Age 73
Colma, San Mateo County, CA, United States