Julia Marlowe, Selling Stuff From Head To Toe

My mom has listed these pair of Julia Marlowe boots.

Julia Marlowe (August 17, 1865 – November 12, 1950) was a famous stage actress.

But why would a famous Shakespearean actress lend her name to a shoe? Was she just a heel? *wink*

The best I can do share the following tantalizing tidbits…

One, as for the shoes specifically, in 1903 Marlowe was a big hit in Ingomar, prompting The New York Sun to say, “There is not a woman player in America or in England that is – attractively considered – fit to unlace her shoe.”

A lovely compliment bestowed to Marlowe that no doubt had Milwaukee’s Rich Shoe Company thinking Marlowe was a shoe-in for sales and that they’d make a lovely pair.

Two, then, as now, celebrities liked to make money by endorsing products. In Testimonial Advertising Using Movie Stars in the 1910s: How Billie Burke Came to Sell Pond’s Vanishing Cream in 1917, Leslie Midkiff DeBauche writes:

A survey of the advertising in the Ladies’ Home Journal shows that in the 1890s spokespersons were usually woman, mainly in their thirties or forties. They included actresses, like Julia Marlowe who was in her thirties and had gained prominence performing in respectable Shakespearean repertoire. She endorsed a shirt waist made by Schlesinger & Mayer (Advertisement 1898, 36), Freeman’s Face Powder (Advertisement 1900, 37), a book entitled “A Bride and a Brindle,” with its attendant engravings (Advertisement 1903, 43) and both “Julia Marlowe” shoes and oxfords made by the Rich Shoe Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, (Advertisement 1897, 42).

(I so want that vintage face powder to add to my collection!)

So it’s one, two, sell that shoe!

If you’re as fascinated as I am, look for more Julia Marlowe collectibles!

Image Credits:

Photos of Julia Marlowe shoes via No Egrets Antiques (my parents).

Julia Marlowe Eureka Craddock’s Medicated Blue Soap Playing Card, circa 1903, via Things & Other Stuff.

Julia Marlowe shoe ad, 1897 Sear’s catalog, via Funky Boutique.

Other antique photos of Julia Marlowe from NYPL Digital Gallery.

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Deanna is the founder of Inherited Values, among other sites. She is also an antique dealer.

8 thoughts on “Julia Marlowe, Selling Stuff From Head To Toe”

  1. Wow, the Julia Marlowe boots are gorgeous.
    I am a distant relative of Julia Marlowe and when i was younger i spent many an hour researching her life with my mum, Visiting places in New York linked to her, her grave in London and of course where she lived in the UK before moving to America (as it is only a couple of miles away from us!) but despite all that, We never came across anything like this!…..although the most of the research was done in the days before the internet had so much info on it! Most of what we found out was from books and what my Grandma could remember about her!
    Really lovely to see!

  2. Katie:
    I’m very much intrigued. I’m currently writing a book in which Julia Marlowe plays a significant part. Would certainly like to hear some stories, particularly the one about the 1908 scandal. You may contact me at asenz1138@hotmail.com.
    Thank you.

  3. I have an original Julia Marlowe Shoe sign, metal,about 7×12″. It says: Rich’s famous Julia Marlowe Shoes None better, few as good. Have any idea of its worth?

  4. I seen these boots on ebay while researching a tobacco card of Julia Marlowe I purchased. It took a bit of work to find out about the set of actress cards. The actress set – Between The Acts – isn’t on ebay currently or in an advanced search. http://www.ebay.com/itm/271614868199? I did find another company’s card with the actress that played Glenda the Good Witch! My emerald city collection could use that! http://www.ebay.com/itm/BILLIE-BURKE-T82-Series-of-Movie-Stars-Recruit-Little-Cigars-1915-tobacco-card-/221552946406?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item339595ace6 Sweetly serious !

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