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Levi’s Appoints Tracey Panek As New Archivist and Historian

After nearly 25 years at the helm of Levi’s treasured archive, the legendary Lynn Downey hands over the reigns to Tracey Panek.

In 1989, then-CEO Bob Haas decided that Levi Strauss & Co. needed a professional archivist and historian to manage the company’s historical materials and tell LS&Co.’s stories to employees, consumers and the world at large. Lynn Downey was the lucky girl who got the job.

Since then, she has proudly expanded the Archives from a small stash of historic clothing, photographs and documents to the most significant collection of vintage Levi’s clothing in the world. But after nearly 25 years, Lynn has decided that it’s time to move on to a new challenge — a personal project that doesn’t stray too far from her current position: writing the biography of company founder Levi Strauss. As Lynn mentions in her final post “The change is both exciting and bittersweet, and it’s made all the more easier knowing that I’m leaving the Archives in good hands.”

In addition to writing Levi’s story, Lynn will also be taking on the role of Historian Emeritus for LS&Co. and will continue to contribute to the Unzipped blog and provide input on special projects.


The announcement was made back in June, and since then Tracey Panek, who comes to Levi’s from the California State Automobile Association, has taken over the reins as Levi Strauss & Co.’s historian. In this role, she’s responsible for overseeing thousands of items, including garments, photographs, documents, posters, and other marketing materials, that comprise Levi’s rich, 161-year-old heritage. As quoted by Levi’s “Tracey brings her own passion for history, and bridges the past and future with her vast experience managing digital information.

To find out more behind the move, check out Lynn’s final post and Tracey’s introductory interview on the Unzipped blog.

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