Men's Slippers, 1830-1860
"Undies", or casual morning wear to be worn at home, could be quite decorative and fancy in the 19th century. Loose fitting sacques or morning dress for women could be quite elaborate, including elegant footwear. Men, too, enjoyed robes and slippers that could be quite elaborate. Berlin work patterns for slippers were exceedingly popular circa 1850. These slippers are both expensive and quite elaborate for a middle-class man around 1850. They appear little worn. Benjamin Wheeler was, according to the donor, the original owner of these slippers. He was born about 1802 (although some documents put his birth at 1804) in either Maryland or Ireland (the seemingly same Benjamin Wheeler's birth place is listed as either place throughout the century.)He and Ellen, his wife, married at least by 1832; it is plausible that these slippers are part of his wedding clothes. The defined right and left suggest a later date, however. Wheeler moved to Zanesville, Ohio and worked as a laborer in a foundry, and in his sixties worked in a coal mine. His date of death is unclear, but is probably between 1870 and 1880.