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!
Julia Marlowe shoe ad, 1897 Sear’s catalog, via Funky Boutique.
Other antique photos of Julia Marlowe from NYPL Digital Gallery.