The Inventor of Blue Jeans, Levi Strauss
Levi Strauss, the inventor of the quintessential American garment - the blue jean - was born in Buttenheim, Bavaria on February 26, 1829 to Hirsch Strauss and his second wife, Rebecca Haas Strauss. Hirsch, a dry goods peddler, already had five children with his first wife, who had died a few years earlier: Jacob, Jonas, Louis, Rosla and Mathilde. Levi - named "Loeb" at birth - and his older sister Fanny were the last of the Strauss children; Hirsch succumbed to tuberculosis in 1845.
Two years after his death, Rebecca, Loeb, Fanny and Mathilde immigrated to New York. There, they were met by Jonas and Louis, who had already made the journey and had started a dry goods business, called "J. Strauss Brother & Co." Young Loeb soon began to learn the trade himself, and by 1850 he was known among his family and customers as "Levi" (in the census of that year, his name is spelled "Levy").
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