Artifact and Analysis

Teenager's jeans, 1970


Blue jeans were brought to San Francisco by Morris Levi Strauss in the middle of the nineteenth century, fabricated from an indigo-dyed cotton cloth imported from the French city of Nīmes, hence the term de Nīmes, and eventually, denim. Miners, laborers, and others who worked outdoors wore these in the nineteenth century, including sailors from the Italian port of Genoa who were called genes. From these sailors originated the other name for these trousers, jeans. In the 1950s, jeans widened their appeal as they left the realm of workaday uniforms to enter the commercial marketplace.