By Milo Drumm
Originally named Loeb, Levi Strauss was born into a large family on February 26, 1829, in Buttenheim, Bavaria, Germany. His father Hirsh and his mother Rebecca had two children together, and Hirsh had three children from his first marriage. Living in Bavaria, the Strausses experienced religious discrimination because they were Jewish. There were restrictions on where they could live and special taxes placed on them because of their faith.
When he was around the age of six, Strauss lost his father to tuberculosis. He, his mother, and two sisters made their way to the United States of America two years later. When they arrived, the family reunited Jonas and Louis, Strauss's two older brothers, in New York City. Jonas and Louis had established a dry goods business there and Levi went to work for them.
Strauss ran his own wholesale dry goods company as well as acted as his brothers' West Coast agent. He used a number of different locations in the city over the years to sell. He sold clothing, fabric, and other items to small shops in the region. As his business thrived, Strauss supported numerous religious and social causes.