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September 29, 2009

CW collaborates with Texas Tech University Press to publish translation of "1767 Art of the Shoemaker"

Colonial Williamsburg and Texas Tech University Press have collaborated on a contemporary version of an 18th-century textbook. “M. DeGarsault’s 1767 Art of the Shoemaker: An Annotated Translation” by D. A. Saguto includes the English translation of Garsault’s influential text, Saguto’s extensive notes, comments from 18th-century sources, translations of other 18th-century writings about shoemaking and a facsimile of the original French text.

Saguto is Colonial Williamsburg’s master boot- and shoemaker and also the nation’s leading researcher on 18th-century footwear. He is a fifth-generation artisan whose 18th-century ancestors were shoemakers in Maryland and North Carolina. He has lectured on the history of shoemaking and served as a consultant on archaeological digs, shipwreck recoveries, shoe-related litigation and Hollywood films.

The 275-page book is illustrated with color photographs and line drawings of antique footwear, shoemaking tools and artifacts and is finished with marbled end papers influenced by Dutch and German bookbinders, typical of what would have been used in Europe in the 18th century.

"No work about shoemaking and footwear is more significant than ‘Art of the Shoemaker,”’ writes Edward Maeder, curator of textiles at Historic Deerfield. “Collected between two covers, we now have the most important western European foreign language technical texts on 18th-century shoemaking. This book provides a fascinating look into the lives and production of 18th-century shoemakers and their trade’s prominent place in western civilization.”

Publication of this book was made possible in part by the support of an anonymous donor. “For this particular book, anonymity might be considered fitting,” says James Gaynor, Colonial Williamsburg’s director of historic trades. “So much of what we build upon in the trades we interpret today is the work of those whose identity is lost to history – the working men, women and children – who quietly provided the goods and services that enabled life.”

The book is available for $65 from WILLIAMSBURG Booksellers® in Colonial Williamsburg’s Visitor Center, 101 A Visitor Center Drive, Everything WILLIAMSBURG in Merchants Square, by phone at 1-800-446-9240 or from

For more information about the shoemaking trade, listen to a Colonial Williamsburg podcast interview with D.A. Saguto.

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution guests interact with history through “Revolutionary City®” – a dramatic live street theater presentation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280