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William Bradley Umstead, 1895-1954
Boots & Spurs.
From the William B. Umstead World War I Collection
North Carolina Collection Gallery, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

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Source Description
Boots & Spurs.
Call Number:
CK.621.16-17, 20-21
North Carolina Collection Gallery, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Physical Description:

BOOTS, pair, United States Army, 1917; high-top leather, each with ten pairs of grommets or eyelets for top-side leather laces, six pairs of eyelets with laces at outside top of both boots; height of boot from top edge to bottom of heel 17.25" (43.8 cm); top leather in good condition, soles and heels leather badly worn and separated and cracked, sole of left boot cracked completely across, right boot entirely resoled, with large hole at mid-point.

SPURS, pair, ca. 1917; steel body with dual leather straps (one for instep, the other four-hole strap with buckle for over boot top), body of spurs stamped on inside heels "U.S. / A.B."; 4" (10.2 cm) across at front, 4.25 (10.8 cm) deep; overall in fair condition, leather straps worn and badly scuffed in spots.


In Europe, Umstead used any means of transportation to inspect the needs of his troops and move supplies. Photographs in the Umstead Collection depict him on horseback and with supply trucks near Verdun, France, in 1918. In several images he is wearing rubber boots instead of the army's standard high-top leather footwear shown here. Rubber boots were the preferred alternative for slogging through standing water and the deep mud that often plagued soldiers and hampered supply convoys around the front.

Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.