By Peg Cullen, Collections Assistant
Dorothy all grown up. Whatever the reason, these shoes in the Sheridan County Historical Society & Museum were worn and loved by someone in the 1940s.
The red satin pumps practically danced right out of the storage box in museum collections. To the staffs’ oooooh’s and ahhhhhhh’s, they begged to be slipped on and taken for a whirl around the gallery. But alas they’re a size 3. Do they even sell that size in women’s shoes today?}
Also known as a baby doll pump, they have a Spanish three-inch heel. The shoes feature rhinestone bows at the vamp. But look closely, and one sees that the vamp had been slit, presumably because the shoe was a little tight and uncomfortable. So the bows were attached with a clip and hand stitched to the shoe.
A Google search turned up nothing on the manufacturer, Marqueen Footwear. Marqueen, however, made these shoes exclusively for The Neusteter Company in Denver. Older readers may remember a trip to that classic department store in the mid-century. It boasted several stories, elevators with operators, a tea room restaurant, and classic display windows. Our red-shoe owner must have had a grand time shopping for these shoes, and perhaps the rest of her outfit.
Also in the box was a string of pearls. Remind you of a song? She may have danced to a rendition made famous by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. The five-strand graduated faux pearl necklace has a rhinestone clasp. Faux pearls had been developed from glass in the early 20th century, and the majority of them were manufactured on the island of Majorca in Spain.
Working in collections allows one to slip back to another time and invent stories to bring the objects to life. These Red Satin pumps and pearls allowed that magic moment.
Neusteter’s Department Store
“The Origins of Neusteter’s Department Store” by Katie Randolph, Denver Public Library
The Red Shoes
The Red Shoes, Internet Movie Database (IMDB)
Moira Shearer, Internet Movie Database (IMDB)