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Primary Sources:

California's gold. No. 503, California companies. Dir. Huell Howser. Perf. Host, Huell Howser. Huell

Howser Productions, 1994. Videocassette.

This video talks about the impact on jeans during the California Gold Rush period. This film takes me through the historical documents of the Levi’s jeans and the true story behind how the Levi’s company began. It also shows a lot of primary sources such as the oldest pair of blue jeans and some very interesting documents too.

"Case of Frank A. Novak." The Bodie Miner-Index. [Bodie, Mono County] 22 Jan. 1898: 1+. Print.

            This is a newspaper article talking about miners in Bodie, California. This was significant for the research based on Levi’s jeans because it helped me understand that the miners were the main targets that Levi Strauss wanted to sell jeans to. It also showed me that the advertisements used during the late 1800s were pictures of miners.

Davis, Jacob W. Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings. Levi Strauss, Jacob W. Davis, assignee.   

            Patent 139121. 20 May 1873. Print.

            Patent #139121 is important because it shows that the innovation was not only created by Levi Strauss, but also Jacob Davis. This document was very helpful too since it had a diagram attached to it that showed the rivets made on the pockets. Also, the descriptions that Jacob Davis made inside the patent gave an even more clear understanding of why the two men wanted to improve the jean pockets.


Grant, Gary. "Thanks From a Grateful." Letter to Art Roth. 6 June 1958. MS. Levi Strauss & Co Heritage,

            San Francisco, California.

            This letter was sent from a man named Gary Grant. In this letter sent to a representative in the Levi Company, discusses about how thankful Gary Grant was to own a pair of Levi’s Jeans. From this letter, he gave a long description of how strong the pants were. He stated that the pants were so strong that it even resisted from ripping apart when he was working on the fields.


H., Robert M. "109 Days in Solitary Confinement." Letter to Levi Strauss & Company. 25 Nov. 1969. MS.

            Levi Strauss & Co Heritage, San Francisco, California.

            This letter was written from Robert H. M. telling the Levi’s Company that as he went to jail, he was wearing the company’s Levi’s. He said that he lived in these pants for 109 days in jail and without these pants--the skins on knees would have been injured severely. With the help from this letter, I can infer these Levi slacks were very durable.


Idaho Cowgirl. "An epic tale of how much Idaho cowgirls loved their Levi's Jeans." Letter to Levi Strauss

            & Company. 18 Apr. 1939. MS. Levi Strauss & Co, San Francisco, California.

          This is a letter written from a woman who lived in Idaho. She wrote this letter to the Levi Strauss & Co. to talk about the impact Levi’s had on her family. She speaks of how her husband has been wearing Levi’s since he was ten and how her family has been wearing Levi’s for a number of generations too. Because of this letter, I can understand that Levi’s jeans were very popular back then and that it has became a way of life in the West.

Levi Strauss & Co Overalls. 1873. Photograph. The Jasper German Club.

          This is a photograph of an advertisement of Levi Strauss & Co.’s overall.  Here, it shows a pair of overalls that a farmer is wearing. The farmer is doing heavy work with a plow while wearing the blue overalls. From this source, I was finally able to understand that Levi’s jeans were very important to the blue collared workers back then.

Levi Strauss & Co.'s Overall Factory. late 19th century. Photograph. Signature Books.

          This is a photograph of a group of women workers in the Levi Company’s factory. They are sewing jeans with a sewing machine and are stacking them up on a stool. This helped clarify how jeans were made in the factories.

"Levi Strauss, Merchant and Philanthropist , Dies Peacefully at His Home." The San Francisco Call

[San Francisco, California] 28 Sept. 1902: 17-28. Print.

This is a short article about Levi Strauss’s death on September 26, 1902. It was published on the “San Francisco Call” newspaper and talked about how Levi Strauss died at the age of 73. The article even discussed about how Levi’s fortune was estimated to be around 6 million dollars.


Maddy, Herbert S. "Levi's Jeans Withstanding the Braham Bull." Letter to Levi Strauss & Company. 19

            May 1937. MS. Levi Strauss & Co Heritage, San Francisco, California.

            This is a letter written from a man named Herbert Maddy who wanted to praise the company for making such durable jeans. In this letter, he talked about how he was dragged by a bull on the fields while he was wearing a pair of Levi’s waist overalls. Luckily, because he was wearing jeans, his injuries turned out to be less severe than what it should have been. From this letter, I learned that the Levi’s jeans were very durable back then since it was able to withstand a bull.


Reagan, Ronald. "Letter From the President." Letter to Walter A. Haas, Jr. 10 Jan. 1985. MS. Levi

            Strauss & Co Heritage, Washington, Maryland.

            This was a letter sent from Ronald Reagan to the Levi’s Company. Ronald discussed about how thankful he was to receive a pair of Levi’s jeans and that he promises to wear them while doing chores at his ranch. From this letter, I was able to understand how important jeans were in society. I learned that the innovation of jeans helped make heavy duty work more convenient since the pants lasted much longer.


 "Testing Oils." Mining and Scientific Press and Pacific Electrical Review [San Francisco, California] 11

 Aug. 1900: 1-2. Print

This is a newspaper article where Levi Strauss & Co., usually sells their advertisements in. On the top corner of this newspaper, there is a picture of a miner wearing a pair of Levi’s jeans while carrying mining for gold. Thus, I can see that jeans were something very favorable to the miners.  


The Miner. 1898. Photograph

            This photograph consists of a miner wearing Levi’s waist overalls while digging for gold. This photograph is very important because it shows that most miners during the Gold Rush period wore jeans because of its durability. With this photograph, I learned that jeans was a very important source the miners during the California Gold Rush period.



 Secondary Sources:



"Blue Jeans History - Invention of Blue Jeans." The Great Idea Finder - Celebrating the Spirit of Innovation. Web. 30 Oct. 2009.

This website gives a brief overview of the history of jeans, and also on the history of Levi Strauss. It’s significant for this topic because it had all the key points listed out which was helpful to me to brainstorm for more ideas of what to do more insight research on.


Downey, Lynn. Levi Strauss & Co. Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2007. Print.

            This book gives detailed descriptions on the early development of the Levi Strauss & Company. This was a very important source because many documents, newspapers, and advertisement photos were in this book. This gave me a better knowledge of how the Levi Company was established since it had many facts and data in it.


Henry, Sondra, and Emily Taitz. Everyone Wears His Name: A Biography of Levi Strauss. New York:

Dillon, 1990. Print.

This book mainly focused on the time period of when jeans were invented during the California Gold Rush. From this excerpt, I learned that jeans were very demanding in the West since it was durable. I also realized that miners were the earliest people who wore jeans.


History of Blue Jeans." Blue Jeans and Fashion Accessories. Web. 30 Oct. 2009.


This website gives a more detailed description on the origin of denim, as well as the invention of blue jeans.  This website was very different from the others since it gives a brief background on the history of denim existing during the XVI Century Europe. This was very helpful because I was less confused when I researched deeper about denim fabric.


Lefer, David, and Gail Buckland. They made America. 1st ed. New York: Little, Brown, 2004.

            This book was a very important source because it had small captions of definitions about the Levi’s jeans. For instance, it gave a small amount of information about how denim was originated from France.  So as I read along, the small captions gave me a brief definition of what some of the clothing words meant.


"The History of Jeans." The University of Rhode Island. Web. 30 Oct. 2009.

            This website includes a timeline that shows the development of jeans throughout the years. Thanks to this source, I discovered that during the 1950s, jeans was a sign of teenage rebellion in TV programs and movies so some schools in the U.S. had to ban students from wearing denim. With the help from this timeline source, I was able to relate how jeans changed from being a symbol of America to a sign of rebellion.


"THE WEST - Levi Strauss." PBS. Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 17 Aug. 2009.



            A short biography of Levi Strauss is given on this website. From this website, I learned about Levi’s early life and that he came to San Francisco to open a branch of his brother’s dry goods business. Without this background information, I wouldn’t be able to talk about the early development of the Levi’s jeans.

 (c) Annie Lam Period 2, Gennie Cheng Period 6

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