The Victorian era had many symbols of a class system - customs and habits that revealed a dependence on servants for those in certain social classes, or those who wished to be considered in those social classes (some things never change). The large 'painted lady' Victorian houses, for example, made necessary a large family and/or supportive servants. The dress of women, the better class and definitely 'lady' variety, also revealed this class symbol in such things as hooks down the back of dresses, lacing's, and similar things. As the spirit of Independence infiltrated all ranks of society - accommodations were made to reflect this new and daring streak of individualism. Buttonhooks made possible the lacing of high and elegant ladies shoes something anyone - with or without a servant - could accomplish with finesse. Shown here is an ad reflecting the type of shoes common in the 1870-1920 time period. The one is a drawing of a buttonhook owned by Effie A. Ray Conner Hudson and given to the bride of her grandson as a wedding present.

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