Strauss, Levi, 1829–1902, American merchant, b. Buttenheim, Germany, as Löb Strauss. He moved with his mother and sisters to New York City in 1847 to join his brothers' wholesale dry-goods company. In 1853 he became a U.S. citizen and moved to San Francisco, where the gold rush had created opportunities for the family business. As Levi Strauss & Co., he wholesaled dry goods, mostly acquired from his brothers. In the 1870s, he formed a partnership with Jacob Davis, a tailor, to sell Davis's sturdy, riveted denim pants, later called blue jeans.
Levi'seventually were favored not only by miners and cowboys for work but by Americans generally, becoming a symbol of the American lifestyle.
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