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Vintage Shoe Fashion

"These boots were made for walking" - and so were the shoes. But they also were made to be fashionable in their time. Read more >>

From foot binding in China to the Inuit's sealskin boots - decorated with vertical patterns for men and horizontal patterns for women, foot coverings have varied widely throughout cultures and time. But no matter what the culture or the era, most societies have used a type of shoe (from sandals through high heels) to protect their feet. The use of shoes is thousands of years old.

Some interesting shoe facts:

  • Heels were first introduced in the 1590's - at an inch high. By the mid 1600's, women's heels were 2 - 3 inches high.


  • During the reign of Louis XIV, red heels could only be worn at court - giving rise, throughout Europe, to the "power" status of the color red.


  • In the 18th century, as skirts inched up to the ankles, high heels on women became of erotic interest. At the same time, for practical reasons, the heels of men's shoes became lower - under an inch.


  • By the end of the 17th century, buckles had replaced ribbons laces for practical reasons.


  • Ankle boots - called demi-boots or half boots - came into vogue in the 1800's because of the popularity of "pedestrianism," women walking for exercise.


  • In the latter 1800's, due to an interest in Asian cultures, embroidered silks were used on shoes.


  • At the beginning of the 20th century, shoes became less interesting. Black, brown, and white footwear predominated until the 1920s. Colored footwear was generally worn only with evening dresses.


  • In the 1930's, shoe makers became (fashion) designers and shoes - especially for women - became really interesting. Spectators, oxfords, pumps, sandals, brogues, platforms . . . the designs and materials became endless.



Today, shoes are a great expression of individual taste and can be coordinated with any personal style. But what was popular in the past can be adapted to today - and with the advent of photography we are lucky enough to be able to see what was popular in days gone by. << Read less
A photo of an unknown girl 121 - front
A photo of an unknown woman named "Bessie" - 139 - front
A photo of an unknown girl - 149
A photo of an unknown couple - 223
A photo of my mother's older sister, Aunt Rose Finkel, as a flapper, in the 1920's, NYC. I colorized this photo in Photoshop.
People in this photo:
A photo of Maria Poirson Carbonell
People in this photo:
Maria Poirson Carbonell
Dec 28, 1904 - Oct 17, 1988
A photo of Maria Poirson Carbonell with a doll. Maria was dressed in black because her mother had died recently.
People in this photo:
Maria Poirson Carbonell
Dec 28, 1904 - Oct 17, 1988
A photo of Theodore & Fanny Meta (Janssen) Roos on their wedding day.
People in this photo:
Fanny Meta (Janssen) Roos
Sep 25, 1896 - Sep 6, 1986
A photo of Albert Schekoske and Emma (Marquardt) Schekoske
People in this photo:
Albert Valentine Schekoske
Oct 1, 1903 - Sep 29, 1981
Wondai, QLD, Australia
A photo of Nonnie Emma McWherter (1926 - 2008)
People in this photo:
Nonnie Emma McWherter
Apr 11, 1926 - Jul 26, 2008
Reedsport, Oregon
A photo of Annie Jacobs and cousin Gertie Fritz in a Christmas Pageant, Cedarville, Modoc County, CA. Costumes made by her mother a former dressmaker in France.
People in this photo:
Gertrude Gertie D. Fritz
Nov 24, 1890 - Mar 12, 1949
A photo of William Russ and Louise Maurer Russ, NJ. Written on back "Before Marriage", Louise Maurer and William Russ, Palasades area, NJ- no date anywhere. This photo was in an antique store at Historic Savage Mills- lower level, Maryland. 2015.
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Vera Thamer, High school graduation photo, Jackson Michigan
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A photo of Susan (Farrell) Wittman in the 1930s
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A photo of Kathleen Doreen Parnell
People in this photo:
Kathleen Doreen Parnell
Mar 24, 1928 - Oct 4, 2013
Norwich, England, United Kingdom
We had an antique store close recently and I "rescued" it, trying to find where it belongs. If anyone should recognize this lady, please let me know. Thank you.
This photo of Rena Lassiter, Betty Sue Sharp, and Vernon Bell was taken in the very late 1930s or early 1940s.
People in this photo:
A photo of Roxane Kursa from a bunch of photos I acquired, researching names written on some leads me to believe the standing lady is Roxane Kursa, born Roula Peters...maybe Roula Roxane, or vice versa...sometime in the 50’s she married Stanley John Kursa..... I can’t seem to find any other info, other than maybe she was Greek, as many of the photos have Greek writing, one pic has Roula Peters Michigan written on the back.
People in this photo:
Roxane Kursa
1935 - Sep 23, 1999
Las Vegas, NV
A photo of a boy sitting on a chair , Jefferson Gundrum, age 14 , 1897. Found in the suitcase in the attic.
People in this photo:
Jefferson Gundrum
Born: 1883
I’ve “rescued” three old photographs identified as Marion KOLLEY or Midie or Midie Marion. All were taken in studios in Philadelphia, PA sometime in the 1880’s to 1890’s. One is specifically dated 1894. Two of the photographs refer to her as “Aunt” and one of them includes a “Merry Christmas” greeting as if she gifted the photograph to someone. Marion appears to be in her early teens in the earliest photograph and in per late teens or 20’s by the last photograph. I’m hoping to locate someone from this KOLLEY Family so that the photographs can be returned to the care of family. If you are a member of this family, or you know someone who might be, please contact me. Thanks, Shelley
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A photo of Lillie Mae Nail - grandma shopping
People in this photo:
Lillie Mae Nail
Jan 15, 1908 - May 27, 1989
I've "rescued" two old photographs belonging to the THOMAS Family of St. Louis, Missouri. The first is one of James, Albert D., and Nellie THOMAS which was taken at the Strauss Studio in St. Louis. The photograph appears to have been taken in the 1880's with the three children appearing to be about 2-8 years old at the time. On the back of the photograph along with their names it says that they are the children of Albert D. THOMAS and Emma Roseline THOMAS (nee STECLE). The birthdays for each are noted as James Nov 01; Albert Jan 06; and Nellie May 27; and not shown in the photo is Emma Bernice b. Jul 19 who was not born at the time of this photograph. The second photograph is one of Albert Daniel THOMAS Jr. which was taken at the same studio in St. Louis, MO sometime in the 1880's with Albert appearing to be about 4 years old at the time it was taken. Based on limited research I was able to locate the following census records for this family: 1900 census of St. Louis, MO: Emma THOMAS, age 40, born Apr 1860, a widow, 4 children/4 living, born KY, parents born England/NY Nellie THOMAS, dau, age 21, born May 1880, born IN, parents born Canada/KY, an Actress Albert D. THOMAS, son, age 16, born Jan 1884, born MI, parents born Canada/KY, a Clerk Emma B. THOMAS, dau, age 9, born Jul 1890, born CA, parents born Canada/KY, at School 1910 census of Detroit, MI: Emma THOMAS, age 46, a widow, 4 children/3 living, born KY, parents born England/NY Albert D. THOMAS, son, age 25, married 7 years, born MI, parents born Canada/KY, a Brass Locks Salesman Maud THOMAS, dau-in-law, age 25, 1 child/none living, married 7 years, born IL, parents born NJ Bernice THOMAS, dau, age 18, born CA, parents born Canada/KY, a Confectionery Saleslady Nellie REDNER, dau, age 27, married 8 years, 1 child/1 living, born IN, parents born Canada/KY, a Stage Actress Frank L. REDNER, son-in-law, age 36, married 8 years, born MI, parents born NY/MI, a Stage Actor Frank A. REDNER, grandson, age 6, born MI 1920 census of Detroit, MI: Frank REDNER, age 42 Nellie REDNER, wife, age 37 Frank A. REDNER, son, age 16 1930 census of Detroit, MI: Frank REDNER, age 25, born MI, parents born MI/IN, an Advertising Artist Nellie REDNER, mother, age 49, divorced, bonr IN, parents born MI/KY 1940 census of Detroit, MI: Nellie REDNER, age 60, divorced, born IN Frank REDNER, son, age 36, born MI, a Commercial Motor Corp. Artist I'm hoping to locate someone from this family so that these wonderful old photographs can be returned to the care of family. If you are a member of this family, or you know someone who might be, please contact me. Thanks, Shelley
People in this photo:
I’ve “rescued” an old photograph of Oluf JOHNSON’S children including Jessie, Ivah, and Geneva JOHNSON. The photograph was taken in the early 1900’s with the three children likely about 4-7 years old at the time the photograph was taken. The photograph is of 2 girls and a boy with the boy appearing to be the oldest. There is no studio or location identified on the photograph though it was recovered in Washington State. I’m hoping to locate someone from this JOHNSON Family so that the photograph can be returned to the care of family. If you are a member of this family, or you know someone who might be, please contact me. Thanks, Shelley
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A photo of an unknown man, Stewart Country, Tennessee. In 2009 an archive of over 1100 glass plate photographic negatives taken by Sam A. Feltner, a resident of Bumpus Mills, Stewart County, Tennessee came to light. He photographed local individuals, couples, families, etc., mostly during the 1910 - 1925 time period. It appears most of his work was in Districts 3, 4 & 5 of Stewart County. ( Big Rock, Tobacco Port, & Indian Mound) Over 1800 images are in the archive. We hope that as more & more people view the photos, more identifications will follow.
A photo of Kenneth and Lillian Davis
People in this photo:
Kenneth Davis
Nov 12, 1903 - November 1986
Derry, NH
A photo of Lelia Clastell (Croker) Steed
People in this photo:
Lelia Clastell (Croker) Steed
Dec 17, 1908 - Oct 20, 1973
Chamblee, GA, USA
A photo of Ruth E Wheeler
People in this photo:
Ruth Evelyn Wheeler
Aug 26, 1906 - May 12, 2001
Columbus, OH
A photo of Ruth E Wheeler
People in this photo:
Ruth Evelyn Wheeler
Aug 26, 1906 - May 12, 2001
Columbus, OH
A photo of Archie & Dorothy Weinel. Vintage Photos Lost & Found on FB - Archie & Dorothy Weinel, found in Memphis, Tennessee. Locations mentioned in album include Fulton, Kentucky, and Louisiana.
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A photo of Gustave Henry Garrett
People in this photo:
Gustave Henry Garrett
Apr 15, 1882 - Jan 22, 1951
A photo of Pearl Striger/Strigler - her wedding picture. Picture found at antique shop. Written on the back: Pearl Strigler -her wedding picture. Have not been able to locate a Pearl Striger -could be Strigler?
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A photo of an unknown child - 28 - Front
A photo of an unknown boy - 29 - Front
A photo of an unknown girl - 110 - front - back of photo says "Margeret"
A photo of an unknown woman - 146
A photo of an unknown woman -170
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