David Livingston, Jewish Pioneer Dry Goods Merchant of San Francisco & San Bernardino


David Livingston

David Livingston, #WS2028

David Livingston,


Values Codes I-E-L-P


David Livingston was born in Fritzlar, Germany in 1856.


San Francisco

David Livingston came to America in 1872 and arrived in San Francisco in 1873.

In 1875 he partnered with Moses Soundheimer with a dry goods store at 1328 Polk.

The partners resided together on the second floor, above their store.


In 1880, Samuel Livingston, David’s brother arrived in San Francisco and became part of the firm.

In 1882, Edward Livingston, another brother arrived and he, too, became a partner.

In 1884 a second store was opened at Fillmore and Pine in San Francisco with Samuel Livingston as manager.


San Bernardino

Hearing about the good reputation for business, the three Livingston brothers relocated to San Bernardino.

The main reason for San Bernardino’s prosperity was its location as the “pass site” city.

The trade route to Southern Nevada and Utah led through the Cajon Pass, entry to which was through San Bernardino.

The same was true of the route which supplies traveled from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Central and Northern Arizona.

In San Bernardino, Livingston & Company operated a dry goods store at 472 Third Street.


San Francisco

After ten years of business success in San Bernardino, all the Livingstons moved back to San Francisco.

In 1897, they opened another dry goods store at 123-129 Post Street.


1906 Earthquake-Fire

The temporary office of Livingston Brothers, following the Earthquake-Fire of 1906, was the home of David and Lina Livingston at 2896 California Street.

Their store re-opened, now at Fillmore and Geary in June, 1906 – the third retail business to resume operations after the Earthquake-Fire.

In 1911, Livingston Brothers purchased a ladies’ ready-to-wear business at Grant and Geary. They closed their dry goods store and enlarged their new business  – eventually growing to six stories and a basement filled with ladies’ and children’s clothing.

Livingston Label of Fur Coat

Livingston Label of Fur Coat

In 1919 a new building was built next door, doubling the size of the store.


Samuel Livingston moved to New York as the Buyer for Livingston Brothers.

In the 1920’s, two sons of Samuel Livingston and a son of Edward became active in the management of Livingston Brothers.



David Livingston was an active member of Congregation Emanu-El.

He was also involved with the San Francisco Federation of Jewish Charities.



David Livingston was a member of the Concordia Club.

Concordia Club of Los Angeles, Vintage Postcard



David Livingston married Lina Siebenhaur in San Francisco in 1882.

Together they had two daughters.


David Livingston passed away in 1947.

He is buried at the Home of Peace in Colma.

For information see the following issue of Western States Jewish History:

  • David Livingston: Family Dry Goods Merchant, by Dr. Norton B. Stern, WSJH, Vol. 41, Issue 1

If anyone knows when Livingston Brothers closed in San Francisco, please contact us.