Title: Footprints At The Wild West Show | Where the Strange Footgear of the Sons of Many Climes May Be Seen

Periodical: New York Times

Date: July 8, 1894

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Where the Strange Footgear of the Sons of Many Climes May Be Seen.

"There is nothing so interesting as the study of the feet of different nationalities," said Philip Smith, who rides the second worst buck-jumping horse, Jumbo, in America. "A good rider should know his horse, his saddle, and use his arms and feet all right," said Mr. Smith, "but that is not the point. I want to give you the result of my observation of feet.

"A ground plan of the Wild West Show for instance, shows more species of footprints on the sands of time than a biographical dictionary. There are square footprints, and oblong and hexagonal footprints, and footprints as bare as the impress that terrified Robinson Crusoe. A kodak sprung on a level with the ground at any hour of the day would reveal more colors in shoes, and absence of shoes, and sandals down at the heel, and slippers without any heel than could be found in all the shoe stores on Broadway. His ancient scoutship, old John Nelson, wears slippers that would draw crowded houses in any museum on earth. The Arab takes a No. 11 slipper as a general thing, but he says he is not particular, for there is only one end to them, and he does not care where the terminus for the heel end of the article comes in. In full dress the Arab has the signature of the Sultan worked on his slippers in mother of pearl. Otherwise he only sports a verse from the Koran.

"On the feet of the crowd that accompanies the Arab at the Wild West Show there is a whole hide and leather exhibit. The Arabs began to put away sandals and take to russet-leather shoes a week ago. They saw the brown shoes in action on the feet of the pretty boys in blue, who are trailed in the rear of the straw perambulators, and they decided they would continue in the last sweet thing of the eighteenth century. They gave up russet shoes as beneath the dignity of a Mussulman, and could not understand why people lace their shoes on the instep when they might just as well run the shoes lachet between their toes.

"Daughters of the Orient veil their faces in their own country, and consequently care little about their ankles. No one can recognize one of them when her head is in a sack, and so she takes little thought for her pedal extremities. Somehow she always runs to stripes and economizes her pin money.

"There are at Ambrose Park imprints of manly feet in all the fashions of shoes leather under heaven. A man who worked on the foundation of the present South Brooklyn amphitheatre, which was designed by Lew Parker, of ex-minstrel fame, says he has counted ninety-seven varieties. Uncle Rube, the bootblack, and Buffalo Bill's German cavalrymen wear high boots. The difference lies in the jingle of the spurs and the patent-leather shine.

"Uncle Rube thought he would don his Sunday costume by putting his pantaloons outside his boots. But he saw the cavalrymen, and came to the conclusion that in the East the fashion was the other way. The man in the foundations wants to start a concession of his own and charge 25 cents for a ground view of the floor of the show. He says the Japanese puzzle him most, for they wear no shoes at all, and merely continue their trouserings under the soles of their feet. He is figuring, too, on how they climb into their trousers, but he thinks they use a shoe horn.

"Uncle Rube made a study of sabots, too, as they emerge from the German cavalry tents. He says people who wear them buy them four sizes too large and sit down for a couple of years until their feet grow to the right size. After that they sleep in them. By no means short of amputation could they be taken off.

"There are all sorts of shoes that pass under his inspection. There are patent-leather shoes that lose the patent part of them while Thirty-seventh Street, Brooklyn, is being paved, and there are striped yellow and black shoes from Morocco and uncouth footgear with queer points from China, and hobnailed shoes from the east side."

Title: Footprints At The Wild West Show | Where the Strange Footgear of the Sons of Many Climes May Be Seen

Periodical: New York Times

Date: July 8, 1894

Topic: Congress of Rough Riders

Keywords: Arabs Boots Cavalry Costumes Cultural relations Culture Eastman Kodak Company Foot Footprints Footwear Germans Hides and skins Horsemanship Horses Japanese Leather Qur'an Sandals Shoes Spurs

People: Nelson, John Young, 1826-1903

Place: Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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