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Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

Shoes and the American Revolution: Purchasing Patriotism, 1760s–70s

Afternoon Course

Monday, October 30, 2023 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0410
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Shoes from the American Revolution, 1760s–1770s

Join curator Elizabeth Lay, a regular lecturer on the topics of fashion, textiles, and American furniture, for an image-rich lunchtime lecture series focusing on decorative arts and design topics.

Session Information

Shoes and the American Revolution: Purchasing Patriotism, 1760s–70s

For those aligning themselves with the Patriot cause, shoes became an unexpected signifier of political allegiance in the decades leading up to the American Revolution. The selection of footwear was representative of colonial economic independence and symbolized a break from the yoke of trade with Great Britain. 

While English-made silk, satin, leather, and wool shoes were highly coveted and shared much of the colonial American market, there was a decided shift to the patronage of local shoemakers from the 1760s on, upholding non-importation agreements and supporting one’s neighbor.

Kimberly Alexander, director of museum studies at the University of New Hampshire, surveys the London shops and New England “ten-footers” where shoemakers and their journeymen and apprentices crafted shoes for their consumers from both the elite and the everyday. She also examines the political rhetoric in newspapers and broadsides that addressed fashion and footwear along the Eastern Seaboard during that heady time.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit*

Additional Sessions of this Lunchtime with a Curator Fall Series

General Information

*Enrolled participants in the World Art History Certificate Program receive 1/2 elective credit. Not yet enrolled? Learn about the program, its benefits, and how to register here.