Women's Shoes in America, 1795-1930

Women's Shoes in America, 1795-1930

Women's Shoes in America, 1795-1930

Women's Shoes in America, 1795-1930

Synopsis

"Part One, "A History of Women's Footwear in America," discusses the history of the American shoe industry and surveys changing styles of shoes, boots, boudoir slippers, overshoes, and sports shoes. It examines the relationship between women's footwear and women's roles in the context of nineteenth-century culture, as well as providing specific information about the evolving etiquette that governed women's choices in shoes. Part Two, "Dating Women's Shoes, 1795-1930," a detailed reference for dating surviving shoes, will be of particular use to museums, dealers, collectors, material culture historians, and reenactors. It is arranged according to easily defined visible characteristics and presents the style variations in chronological order. Over four hundred clear and detailed drawings make identification as simple and accurate as possible. Appendixes describe leather preparation, shoe construction, and the use of rubber in footwear and include a partial listing of shoe manufacturers and their working dates as culled from shoe labels and advertisements. An extensive glossary details the differences between American and British usage. Women's Shoes in America is invaluable for those interested in fashion and costume history - or just shoes!"--BOOK JACKET. Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Women's Shoes in America, 1795–1930 is organized into two parts: a narrative history and a detailed reference for dating. "Makers and Marketers," which opens Part I, briefly outlines the development of the shoe industry from the early nineteenth century, when much of the work was done by hand in small shops, through its dramatic mechanization in the 1850s and 1860s, to the complex organization that characterized it in the early twentieth century, before labor unrest, internal competition, and other pressures caused the beginning of its long decline. This chapter also explains how shoes were distributed, how new styles were developed, and why the rapid growth of the shoe industry discouraged regional style variations within the United States. Not until the explosion of novelty shoes in the 1910s and 1920s were Americans able to express subtle local differences in taste through their choice in footwear.

Chapter 2, "Stepping Out or Staying In? Women's Shoes and Female Stereotypes," discusses the relationship between women's footwear and women's roles as reflected in popular periodicals, and explores the nineteenth-century view that gave to men the public world of business, politics, and the mind while giving to women the private world of home, family, and the spirit. This chapter broadens the discussion beyond footwear in order to clarify the social context in which shoes acquired their particular significance. It concentrates chiefly on the middle and upper-middle classes, for whom gender stereotyping was most relevant, and suggests that the strength of such stereotyping, coupled with the fluidity of class structure in the United States, may have encouraged middle-class American women to wear thin and impractical shoes for a wider range of occasions than was common practice among their English cousins.

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