Levi Strauss – ENTREPRENEUR
BIRTHDAY: February 26, 1829
DEATH DATE: Sep 26, 1902 (age 73)
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. Dry-goods salesman who invented denim pants and founded the first blue-jeans manufacturing company, Levi Strauss & Co.
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. He became an American in January 1853 and moved to the West Coast to San Francisco during the height of the California Gold Rush to expand his family’s dry-goods business. This was the first incarnation of Levi Strauss & Co.
His Levi Strauss Foundation gave its first donation in 1897 to the University of California, Berkeley. He grew up with five brothers and sisters. His brothers Jonas and Louis founded a wholesale dry-goods business in New York City called J. Strauss & Co., which planted the seeds for his business later on.
His company’s advertising campaign in 2012 celebrated the revolutionary spirit of the time, but conservative talk show host Glenn Beck felt it was really a celebration of anti-American progressivism, leading him to denounce Levi’s and launch his own line of jeans, 1791.
Levi Strauss died on September 26, 1902 in San Francisco at the age of 73. He never married, so he 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. Levi’s fortune was estimated to be around 6 million dollars (about $164 million in 2014 dollars). He was buried in Colma, California.