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


David Livingston

David Livingston, #WS2028

David Livingston, #WS2028

Values Codes I – E – L – P


David Livingston was born in Fritzlar, Germany in 1856.


San Francisco & San Bernardino

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

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

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

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

Another brother Edward Livingston, arrived two years later, 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.

The three Livingston brothers relocated to business-friendly San Bernardino.

San Bernardino’s prosperity was mainly due to its location as a “pass site” city. The trade route to Southern Nevada and Utah led through the Cajon Pass.

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

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

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.

Following the Earthquake-Fire of 1906, the temporary office of Livingston Bros. was the home of David and Lina Livingstonat 2896 California Street.

The store re-opened at Fillmore and Geary in June, 1906. It was the third retail business to resume operations after the Earthquake-Fire.

Livingston Label of Fur Coat

Livingston Label, fur coat

In 1911, Livingston Bros. purchased a ladies’ ready-to-wear business at Grant and Geary. The brothers 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.

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 Bros.

In the 1920’s, two of Samuel’s sons and one of Edward’s sons became engaged in the management of Livingston Bros.



David Livingston was an active member of Congregation Emanu-ElHe was also involved with the San Francisco Federation of Jewish Charities.



David Livingston was a member of the Concordia Club.


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.


  • Norton B. Stern, “David Livingston: Family Dry Goods Merchant,” Western States Jewish History S41/1.