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Strauss, Levi

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's eventually were favored not only by miners and cowboys for work but by Americans generally, becoming a symbol of the American lifestyle.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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