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Author Topic: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?  (Read 168043 times)

Ric Gillespie

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Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« on: January 11, 2013, 01:15:12 PM »

Gallagher's initial suspicion that the bones were those of Amelia Earhart was based on his opinion that the skeleton was that of a woman.  As he explained in his telegram of Oct. 17, 1940,  "my conclusion based on sole of shoe which is almost certainly a woman's."

In a telegram sent Sept. 23, 1940 he was unequivocal. "Shoe was a womans and probably size 10."

In a telegram on Oct. 6, 1940 he described the shoe he found.  "Only part of sole remains. Appears to have been stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal."

Gallagher is looking at only part of the sole of what he thinks was a stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal - and yet he seems quite sure that the shoe was a woman's shoe.
What is there about the sole of a stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal that is different from other kinds of shoes? 
What could there possibly be about part of the sole of stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal that would tell Gallagher that it was a woman's shoe?
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Bob Lanz

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Re: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2013, 02:23:12 PM »

Gallagher's initial suspicion that the bones were those of Amelia Earhart was based on his opinion that the skeleton was that of a woman.  As he explained in his telegram of Oct. 17, 1940,  "my conclusion based on sole of shoe which is almost certainly a woman's."

In a telegram sent Sept. 23, 1940 he was unequivocal. "Shoe was a womans and probably size 10."

In a telegram on Oct. 6, 1940 he described the shoe he found.  "Only part of sole remains. Appears to have been stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal."

Gallagher is looking at only part of the sole of what he thinks was a stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal - and yet he seems quite sure that the shoe was a woman's shoe.
What is there about the sole of a stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal that is different from other kinds of shoes? 
What could there possibly be about part of the sole of stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal that would tell Gallagher that it was a woman's shoe?

It appears that Gallagher was doing a lot of guessing.  "probably" a size 10?

"But the heel and sole fit a size 9 shoe — which experts argued would have been too big for Earhart."

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1032135

It doesn't appear in the attached photo that Amelia had particularly small feet (though those were not the shoes she was likely wearing).  I don't find it unusual for Amelia at 5'9" to wear a size 9 or 10 shoe contrary to the above quote from NPR.  My twin daughters at 5'10" wear size 10 shoes as did their mother who also was 5'10".
Doc
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« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 02:28:51 PM by Bob Lanz »
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Bob Lanz

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Re: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2013, 02:40:56 PM »

If Gallagher was using UK size then size 10 is big for a woman.

I'm 6'2" and have small feet for a man, UK size 9

My wife is 5'4" and is size 6

Can't think he was not using UK size so how he gets size 10 + Ladies shoe is a mystery to me!

Chris, there is only a half shoe size difference between US and UK shoe sizes.  Not enough to make an issue of.  As I said, I think Gallagher was doing a lot of guessing and frankly most men don't know spit about woman's shoe sizes, their ring size or the size of their draws'.  :D
Doc
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« Last Edit: January 11, 2013, 02:51:01 PM by Bob Lanz »
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Dan Kelly

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Re: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2013, 04:36:19 PM »

It would appear that Mr Gallagher's observation was based on a part of the sole but not all and that it was at best a guess. Very little to go on I'm afraid - I would say that I am not disputing the identification only that it is very vague. I wonder also how much of his observation was coloured by assumptions based on his recent memory of the Earhart disappearance in the general area of that part of the Pacific.
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Bob Lanz

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Re: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2013, 04:59:35 PM »

It would appear that Mr Gallagher's observation was based on a part of the sole but not all and that it was at best a guess. Very little to go on I'm afraid - I would say that I am not disputing the identification only that it is very vague. I wonder also how much of his observation was coloured by assumptions based on his recent memory of the Earhart disappearance in the general area of that part of the Pacific.

Very interesting Mr. Kelly.  It begs the question how other observations of Mr. Gallagher may have been based on that same assumption.
Doc
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2013, 09:56:03 AM »

I agree with Mr. Kelly that's it's probably not productive to critique Gallagher's shoe size estimate too closely.  He only had part of a sole to go on - but something made him think it was from a woman's shoe and, because his estimate of the size would be more typical of a man than a woman, it wasn't the size.  It seems like there must have been something else about the part-of-a-sole that said "woman."  There was also something about it that said "stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal."  We don't know what Gallagher was looking at but he has given us some clues.  I have some ideas but I want to hear what you guys think.
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Jimmie Tyler

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Re: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2013, 01:54:08 PM »

 Perhaps the part of the sole Mr. Gallagher examined was the heel portion of the sole. Lot's of women's footwear have an elevated heel section. Mens footwear not so much. Maybe that is what signified a Women's shoe or sandal to Mr. Gallagher. My wife is just a hair under 5'9, She wears a  U.S.A. size 10 in women's. Also, maybe Gallagher compared the partial shoe sole to his own shoes. Which would have given him a good idea of the size of the deteriorated shoe sole, that he speaks of..
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« Last Edit: January 12, 2013, 02:57:52 PM by Jimmie Tyler »
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C.W. Herndon

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Re: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2013, 02:12:29 PM »

I can remember, and I don't know when it started, that some leather shoe soles had the size stamped on the portion between the heel and the ball of the foot, somewhere that it would not normally wear off. Maybe it was there and he could still see this. Just another thought.
Woody (former 3316R)
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2013, 04:33:47 PM »

Perhaps the part of the sole Mr. Gallagher examined was the heel portion of the sole. Lot's of women's footwear have an elevated heel section. Mens footwear not so much.

I would be surprised if you could find a picture of a woman's stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal dating from before 1940 that had an elevated heel, but is there something else about the heel of a stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal that might distinguish it from other kinds of footwear?
 
Also, maybe Gallagher compared the partial shoe sole to his own shoes. Which would have given him a good idea of the size of the deteriorated shoe sole, that he speaks of..

That makes sense to me.
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2013, 04:42:21 PM »

I can remember, and I don't know when it started, that some leather shoe soles had the size stamped on the portion between the heel and the ball of the foot, somewhere that it would not normally wear off. Maybe it was there and he could still see this. Just another thought.

But if he could read the size on the sole doesn't it seem odd that he would say that the shoe was "probably" a size 10?

Here's another question.  If the sole was leather, why wasn't the rest of the shoe there?  Leather deteriorates rapidly in the Niku environment.  The sole we found on Aukeraime is rubber - dried out and fragmented but mostly intact.  We only found a few small scraps of leather.  Would the sole of a stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal more likely be leather or rubber?
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Karen Hoy

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Re: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2013, 07:18:17 PM »

Some of the World Flight photos show AE wearing saddle shoes, possibly with a lighter colored sole (hard to tell.)

The 1934 Sears catalog advertised women's saddle shoes with "long-wearing sport rubber sole and low rubber heel. Stitchdown construction."
http://lileks.com/30s/sears1934/27.html

These soles appear (in the drawing) to have light colored soles. Maybe Gallagher found a light-colored/fancy stitched sole?

Here is a sandal illustration from the 1934 Sears catalog:
http://thecostumersmanifesto.com/costumeoldsite/history/20thcent/1930s/sears/spring1934tennies2.JPG

The sandals had "crepe-like" soles.

Karen Hoy 2610CER
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Bob Lanz

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Re: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2013, 08:09:28 PM »

First pic:  Amelia's shoes in Oakland, CA before she left for Miami.

Second Pic:  Appears more like the style she wore in Oakland.
Doc
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Ric Gillespie

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Re: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2013, 10:38:59 AM »

Before we talk about what shoes AE had with her on the world flight let's focus on what Gallagher said about what he found.
Why did he think it was a woman's shoe?
 
What made him think it was from a stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal rather than some other kind of shoe?

Stoutish walking shoes and heavy sandals don't have high heels, so that's not why he thought it was a woman's shoe. We've already reasoned that the part-of-a-sole that Gallagher found was probably rubber, but both men's and women's shoes can have rubber soles, so that's not the answer. Karen Hoy hit on one possibility.  What if the part-of-a-sole that Gallagher found was white or cream colored?  In 1937, a white or cream colored sole was almost certainly from a woman's shoe. 

Stoutish walking shoes and sandals with rubber soles have the heel molded in as part of the sole rather than a nailed-on heel as in regular shoes.  It seems to me that Gallagher's description makes sense if what he saw was part of a white or cream colored rubber sole with the heel molded in rather than nailed on.  Anyone have a better idea?
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Bob Lanz

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Re: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2013, 12:12:03 PM »

Karen Hoy hit on one possibility.  What if the part-of-a-sole that Gallagher found was white or cream colored?  In 1937, a white or cream colored sole was almost certainly from a woman's shoe.

What if?  I can't see where Gallagher described it that way.

Quote
What made him think it was from a stoutish walking shoe or heavy sandal rather than some other kind of shoe?

Did Gallagher describe it as a "stoutish walking shoe" or "a heavy sandal"?

Quote
It seems to me that Gallagher's description makes sense if what he saw was part of a white or cream colored rubber sole with the heel molded in rather than nailed on.  Anyone have a better idea?

No it doesn't make sense if that is not how he described it.  Other than that it is just speculation as to what he said or thought.  A non starter IMO.

I think that it is more important to "talk about what shoes AE had with her on the world flight" otherwise what Gallagher thought or described has no significance.  Add to that Gallagher's description "stoutish walking shoe" is an opinion only and his interpretation which may or not be valid.  How could he know if it was a shoe from a woman, a small man?
Doc
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Alan Harris

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Re: Stoutish walking shoe or sandal?
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2013, 02:15:46 PM »

In 1937, a white or cream colored sole was almost certainly from a woman's shoe. 

I think "almost certainly" is a little strong, see counterexamples below.

The Jarman and Keds ads are identified as from the "1930's" by their web site.  The Keds ad also raises the question as to how, from just a part of a sole, a person could eliminate sneaker-type shoes as another candidate along with walking shoes or sandals; that is not clear to me.

The Taylor ad is from Life magazine in 1937 (see web site).  These I think would qualify as a "stoutish walking shoe".
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