History of the Slippers
Elvira Harris made, by hand, velvet slippers trimmed with rabbit fur, with a leather sole and lined with sheepskin. Several hundred rabbits were raised in separate cages, their fur was used for trim and the meat was either eaten at home, sold for fifty cents, or given away.
Dora Walker, Elvira’s mother -in-law, created the slippers, making them between 1918 and 1938. Walker made the leather soles lined with lambs wool at home, but Harris bought ready-made soles. Harris used a fur machine and sewing machine and worked out of her Furnace Road home. Gradually, she expanded, hiring several people around the holidays. She had a full time and part time employee. The slippers were sold in specialty shops, like the New York Exchange and other stores on the East Coast.
Harrris made the slippers from 1938 to 1970 when her son, Robert, and his wife, Mary Lee took over the operation, expanded the business and moved it to Castleton. History has a habit of repeating itself in that they are now making the soles in house. The sheepskin and cowhide are from the United States and the rabbit fur in from France.
Many celebrities have purchased these slippers: Jacklyn Kennedy purchasing a pair of pink and a pair of blue when John Jr was born. Mrs Leonard Firestone from Rancho Mirage, California bought slippers for Mrs Bob Hope, Mrs Gerald Ford, Mrs Frank Sinatra and Mrs Starr. During an episode of All in the Family, Sally Struther’s was wearing them during her pregnancy scene. Marilyn Monroe also had a pair.
The slippers have been featured in the Neiman Marcus catalog as well as featured in several other magazine articles. The slippers are now sold on the West Coast from Washington to California with a couple of shops in Arizona and Texas as well as the East Coast.
- Deep Wine
- Periwinkle Blue
- Off White
- Hot Pink
- Light Blue
- Light Pink
- American Beauty (a cross b/w wine & red)
- Burnt Orange
- Emerald Green
- Royal Blue