Levy, Hannah

Hannah Levy and her brother, Jack Levy, were born to Jewish parents in the town of Haigerloch in Southern Germany. As was the case with many German Jews, the story of the Levy family reflects the common immigrant phenomenon of chain migration and the importance of family ethnic networks. Pushed out of Germany by severe hyperinflation and economic depression, as well as rising anti-Semitism, Jack and Hannah both immigrated to America in the 1920s. The existence of a robust family network aided Jack and Hannah Levy’s integration into American life and played a crucial role in their later business success. Together, they founded and developed Fashion Bar, one of the more important regional chain store operations in the American West, and Hannah earned a national reputation as one of the most savvy women retailers in the United States.

Living the American Dream? The Challenge of Writing Biographies of German-American Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Biographies of businesspeople offer a new integrative perspective not only to trace the lives, careers, and business ventures of significant immigrants but to answer core questions of American, business, and migration history in a new way. The Immigrant Entrepreneurship project aims to explore hundreds of biographies; the sheer amount of this material has made clear that biographies can be used not only to analyze individual lives but also to address general questions in the history of capitalism and modernity.