A talk by Kimberly Alexander concludes the 2019 Dessert and Lecture Series, which takes a deep dive into Old York’s collections—exploring the history and context of a variety of objects, from furniture and porcelain to shoes and jewelry.
Forgotten in cupboards, pushed into the back of drawers, secreted away behind walls and chimneybreasts, footwear frequently connotes a sense of the mystery of history. Often small, and disarmingly pretty, silk shoes made during the long 18th century are often last-minute additions to a curatorial vignette or quickly cataloged in a data entry project. And yet, the stories captured by shoes are often our only connection to a woman whose life has been largely lost in the historical record, or an unknown but highly skilled cordwainer who supplies shoes for his rural community. Shoes reveal important aspects of burgeoning 18th century American identity—self-fashioning, consumption, politics, and agency. Join Dr. Kimberly Alexander for a discussion of her recently published Treasures Afoot: Shoe Stories from the Georgian Era (Johns Hopkins Press, 2018), which traces the history of early Anglo-American footwear from the 1740s through the 1790s.
Kimberly Alexander teaches in the history department of the University of New Hampshire. She has held curatorial positions at several New England Museums, including the MIT Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum, and Strawbery Banke.
Copies of Alexander’s book will be available for purchase in the Old York book shop.
The lecture is followed immediately by coffee, tea, and dessert in Jefferds Tavern.