David Stern & His Sons: Prime Movers of Levi Strauss & Co.

David Stern


David Stern
WS# 13/1890

Values Codes I-E-L-P

David Stern was born in Bavaria in 1820 and come to the United States in the 1840s.


Along the way

He lived in New York and may have spent a few years in the South before coming to California.

David Stern married Fanny Strauss, Levi Strauss’ sister in 1850, probably in New York.


San Francisco

Levi Strauss had arrived in San Francisco in 1853.

In 1855, David, Fanny and their first two children, Jacob and Caroline [born in New York], traveled from New York to San Francisco and joined Levi Strauss, who had been sent by his older brothers to find a large location for merchandise they were shipping by clipper ships to market to the Gold Rush pioneers



The San Francisco Directory of 1858 lists, “Strauss, Levi (David Stern & Lewis Strauss) importers clothing, etc.  63 & 65 Sacramento St.”

In 1860 the company’s name became Levi Strauss & Co.

The San Francisco listing in 1860 for Levi Strauss & Co. was now at 315 & 317 Sacramento St.

David Stern managed the company for a number of years.

Levy Strauss was the Sales Manager and Promoter of the fist growing fabric firm.


In 1873, Jacob Davis of Carson City, Nevada, and Levi Strauss & Co. received Patent No.139,121 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for an “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings.”

Tailor Jacob Davis had first used metal rivets on workpants made with denim cloth purchased from Levi Strauss & Co.


They then began to manufacture the clothing for which they are so well known.


Levi Strauss and Co. was incorporated with the State of California in 1890.



David Stern was a member of the Eureka Benevolent Society and Congregation Emanu-El.



David Stern and Fanny Strauss Stern had 8 children, Jacob and Caroline, born in New York, and Henry, Sigmund, Louis, Harriet (Hattie), Abraham and Lillian, born in San Francisco.


David Stern died in 1875 in San Francisco, at the age of 54.


Jacob, Sigmund, Louis and Abraham Stern become officers of Levi Strauss & Co.

In 1890, Levi Strauss was President, Jacob Stern was First Vice President, Sigmund Stern was Second Vice President, Louis Stern was Treasurer and Abraham Stern was Secretary.

After Levi Strauss’ death in 1902, Jacob, Sigmund, Louis and Abraham became the owners of Levi Strauss & Company.


More Information can be found in the following issues of Western States Jewish History:

  • Stern, David, Pioneer Jews of San Francisco, Norton Stern, 41/2
  • Levi Strauss, The Man – Without All the Myths, Michael, John, 45/3.

Written material for this David Stern Exhibit was created by John D. Michael, M.D., great-great-great grandson of Hirsch Strauss, Levi Strauss’ father. It should be noted that most early materials of the Strauss and Stern families were destroyed in the 1906 Earthquake-Fire in San Francisco.

Go to Levi Strauss’ Exhibit [Click Here]

John D. Michael, M.D. great, great g nephew of Levi Strauss is Curator of this Exhibit  

Picture Gallery [Pictures always accepted]

Levi Strauss & Co. Invoice. Notice that the Riveted Patent is clearly mentioned. WS#1892

Levi Strauss & Co. Invoice. Notice that the “Riveted Patent” is clearly mentioned.