• Men's Patten Overshoe, 1830-1850

    Pattens, a type of overshoe, were used to protect both feet and shoes from mud and snow. Wooden-soled overshoes were used as early as the fourteenth-century but were restricted to the wealthy. By the early fifteenth-century, a form of composite leather sole made pattens more widely accessible. Because of their functional appearance, they were generally associated with the lower classes and country people, although they were more useful in town than in the country where the iron ring would have s…

  • Women's Slippers, 1830-1850

    These slippers- really shoes- may have been used for a wedding. They appear plain but remnants of thread on the throat indicate this pair was decorated. Heeled shoes with square toes were particularly popular in the 1830's and 1840's. These leather shoes are less delicate than those made from satin, but still offer little support or protection from the elements. Thus, these are indoor shoes used to look fashionable. If worn outside they would quickly become soiled; the foot hangs over the straig…

  • Women's Boots, about 1845

    Fabric gaiters that matched an outfit, with ankle lacings and square toe, were extremely popular in the mid 19th century. Wedding gaiters were of white satin, everyday pairs were of sturdy fabrics such as this. This pair could have been made at home (see Every Lady her Own Shoemaker, 1856). This pair comes from the Mitchell Family of Port Washington, New York.

  • 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 t…

  • Women's Patten Overshoe, 1830-1850

    According to the donor, the patten overshoes were worn in the mid 19th century by her great-grandmother, Mrs. Pastrigs. Pattens, a type of overshoe, were used to protect both feet and shoes from mud and snow. Wooden-soled overshoes were used as early as the fourteenth-century but were restricted to the wealthy. By the early fifteenth-century, a form of composite leather sole made pattens more widely accessible. Because of their functional appearance, they were generally associated with the lower…