A Lively Experiment

Notes on collections and events at the RIHS

Best Foot Forward

Shoes, black silk with reverse applique, lined in linen with black leather soles. J. Lason, 1811. Gift of Harold C. Lyman, 1928.8.1A-B

These delightful little slippers were worn by Frances Mary Eldredge of Brooklyn, Connecticut at her marriage to Dr. Daniel Lyman of Woodstock, CT on June 26, 1811. In early Federal America, flat-heeled slippers replaced the high-heeled shoes of the late 18th century, keeping pace with the shift to high-waisted, slender gowns inspired by Greco-Roman statues.

Then as now, footwear could be whimsical, with bright colors and polka dots.

Pair of women’s shoes ca. 1800. RIHS Found in Collection 1983.14.5A-B

Even structured, sensible boots at the turn of the twentieth century could shine with applied beading.

Black leather women’s boots with two inch curved heel and 24 eyelets with wide black laces, beaded design at toe and up sides. tag inside: “Sorosis Trademark Luxuries / Made in U.S.A.” RIHS Gift of Daughters of the American Revolution Gaspee Chapter 1977.23.95A-B

Put your best foot forward to the John Brown House Museum, where shoes from the RIHS Collection will be on display starting March 12 in our first floor gallery. Visit our Facebook page to share your #ShoeStories with us, or stop by the gallery, where we’ll provide paper and pencils for you to post to our bricks-and-mortar wall.

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