The Gossip Lady Reports on a 1730s Wedding Dress and an Exhibit on Shoes

Photo courtesy J. Dennis Robinson

Gossip: Shoes Through The Ages

By Jeann� McCartin
Portsmouth Herald, July 03, 2014 - 2:00 AM
Walking through History
Kimberley Alexander, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor in the Department of History at the University of New Hampshire and a member of the Warner House curatorial committee (take a deep breath after that), is a very busy woman and could do with a pause herself. That's unlikely for some time though.
Alexander just completed six months of researching Bostonian Elizabeth Bull. The project culminated in a discussion by Alexander at the Old State House in Boston, regarding the pre-Revolutionary fashionista's incredible wedding dress (search for the write-up on the Boston Globe's Web site at

Alexander and Patricia Gilrein, the Bostonian Society's collections manager, are collaborating on a publication based on the "amazing trove of information" gathered during the process. "We're hoping to complete it in the next nine months," Alexander says.(
That is in addition to a "dynamic" new project, the Newmarket resident adds.
Alexander also is co-curating an exhibit of historical footwear with Sandra Rux, president of the Warner Houses board and curator at the Portsmouth Historical Society. The exhibit is scheduled for the Portsmouth Athenaeum in 2015. (
"We're looking at how shoes were made, but also shoes as an important commodity," Alexander says. Shoes speak to status, job, change in style, even the wearer's condition. "They tell you stories you don't find written text. ...; So many are women's shoes and they are left out of the official historic record."
The show will feature footwear from throughout New England, many pieces exhibited for the first time publicly.

Image, Sally Brewster Gerrish silk brocade shoe, c. 1770s John Paul Jones House, Portsmouth Historical Society, Courtesy, J. Dennis Robinson

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