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  • Women's Slippers, 1840-1850

    These shoes are delicate with very thin soles and tight fitting.The idea that woman who could wear such shoes were symbols of high social economy.Men ruled the outdoors, and by the grace of their husbands, women ruled the indoors.Constricting shoes helped to keep woman inside and dependant on their husbands.[Source:Rexford, Nancy E.Women's Shoes in America 1795-1930.Kent, Ohio:Kent State University Press, 2000.]

  • Women's Shoes, about 1840

    Delicate slippers such as these were used by ladies in the early Victorian period with fashionable dress. These tied on to the ankle, much as some ballet shoes do today. These types of shoes were notoriously unhealthy-- they quickly became damp and soiled, provided no foot support, and were occasionally purchased a size or two too small so that thewearer's foot appeared dainty. It was all about looking great; women were not expected to be comfortable or accommodated by their dress.

  • Women's Slippers, about 1840

    These shoes, sometimes called slippers, were used in the Victorian period for wear with a matching dress. Shoes like these were often laced on to the lower leg, sometimes elastic held them on. They wore poorly and quickly became damp and soiled.

  • Women's Formal Slippers, about 1840

    The label on the slippers indicates a Paris maker known as Este. Labels from the French maker Este (later Viault-Este) are the single most common type found in shoes surviving from this era. They usually appear in plain black or white satin heelless slippers of about 1835-1865 with a tiny bow at the throat (sometimes obscured by a more elaborate rosette added later). The firm is first listed in Bottin's "Almanach du Commerce" in 1821, under "Bottiers," as "Este, pour Dames, rue de la Paix 13." V…