Bootblack History
Bootblack Pride – Flag After a two year debate with in the community, on July 4th, 2005 Jesse ‘Spanky’ Penley came up with a design that would eventually become the accepted Boot Black Pride Flag. Which made its premier at the International LeatherSir/ International Leatherboy weekend in Atlanta, GA on Oct 6th, 2005. Using the Leather Pride colors, Spanky used a diagonal stripe to differentiate from the leather pride flag. The flag only uses three stripes, two blue, and one white. The width of the stripes, signify the wide range of people who are, and appreciate boot blacks. The unisex boot, stands for the non-gender specific nature of boot blacking. The large red heart positioned behind the boot, signifies the heart that the bootblack puts behind his or her boots.1
1953 - FIRST BOOTBLACK CONTEST..of sorts. by Michael Conley The News Herald Burke County, NC. Published February 12, 2010
Angelus Shoe Polish was not even a dream when the young Greek immigrant, Paul T. Angelos, arrived at Ellis Island. Making his way to Chicago, Paul shined shoes and saved enough money to go to Los Angeles. After arriving in Los Angeles penniless, he secured a job at a large shine stand. Paul saved enough money to open his own shine stand. Through hard work and long hours, he was able to send money for his brothers, George and Louie, to join him. Soon there were 14 employees and three shine stands; Sixth Street – opposite the Hayward Grill, Fifth Street – opposite the Alexandria Hotel, and one next door to The Pantages Theater. After being crowned, “King of the Bootblacks”, Paul was able to make the return trip to Greece to marry his sweetheart. Many years later, Paul would tell his grandchildren what an experience it was to return to Greece on the Ocean Liner, Mauritania First Class, which was the same ship that brought him Steerage to American years before. How fortunate his family was to be able to come to this country where freedom, success, and happiness were possible through honesty and hard work.
THE INDEPENDENT SHOE-BLACK Victorian London - Publications - Social Investigation/Journalism - Street Life in London - by J.Thomson and Adolphe Smith, 1877
Gay Leather Fetish History This is a personal non-commercial website based in the Netherlands. The pictures in the "History" section were either donated, taken from the public domain in the Internet or from books. Where possible we mention the sources in the "sources-page" in that section.
The Biography of a Bootblack: Rocco Corresca Independent, LIV (Dec. 4, 1902), 2863 67.
First Picture of a person is an image of someone getting their boots blacked (CNN) — At first glance, it doesn't seem that remarkable: An old black-and-white scene of a strangely deserted city, smudged in places by some primitive photographic process. But this image, taken in Paris, France, in 1838, is believed to be the earliest known photograph featuring a person. Look in the photo's lower left corner and you'll see a man getting his boots cleaned on the sidewalk. The boot-cleaner is there too, although he is harder to spot.

Links to Other Bootblack History

  • Bootblacking Trust – Newspaper article from Sacramento Daily Union 28 Sept 1890
  • Bootblacking during the California Goldrush
  • Blanco and Bull – The webbing and boot cleaning website. The British Army has always taken great pride in its appearance. This website delves into the world of Blanco and spit 'n polish and aims to be a repository of information for collectors, reenactors and historians. While the emphasis is on the military I have been inevitably lead down the paths of civilian products - often parallel and complimentary and, in my view, just as interesting.
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