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Brogans

Sometimes there just isn’t enough room in a tweet to say all one wants to say. This would be the case when I came across the word “brogan” while reading our town wide read, Seen the Glory. The sentence that caught my attention was this:

“They went on through the trees and scrub and across the muddy shelf where men were undressing, sitting and pulling off their brogans, stepping out of their pants.”

So what, I wondered, is a brogan??

Happily we have a new reference book called: Clothing Through American History: the Civil War through the Gilded Age, 1861-1899 by Anita Stamper and Jill Condra. This is what it says about brogans:

“For the working man, slave, farmer, or other man whose days were spent in hard manual labor, the brogan was worn. It was a heavy, tough leather high-top shoe that laced up the front and had a thick sole. Brogans were advertised in nearly every Southern newspaper and town up to and during the war, as long as any stock lasted. Plantation diaries and day books indicate the brogan was the shoe ordered in a limited number of sizes and given out to male slaves once or twice a year as the need dictated. They were stiff and uncomfortable until broken in, but then they fitted themselves to the foot and offered the wearer exceptional durability.”

You can see a photo of a pair of brogans on the National Park Service web page.

And don’t forget, we’re discussing the town wide read over on twitter at twitter.com/falmouthreading, and we’d love to have you join the discussion!

And also don’t forget ... our author, John Hough, Jr. will be at Morse Pond School Auditorium THIS Saturday, February 4th at 2:00 p.m.

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