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[Medical & Psychological Tools and Equipment]

View at Kansas Memory

Accession Number: 2004.86.3.2

Physical Description: Leg brace with a black leather shoe at the bottom. The brace is constructed of two splint-like pieces of metal that are hinged near the center. Three wide, brown and white leather bands are attached horizontally between the metal splints. The leather bands fit over concave metal bands that attach to both splints and would go around the back of the wearer's leg. The largest leather band at the top of the brace has a black Velcro closure. The remaining leather bands have strap and buckle closures. Beneath the lowest leather band is a fourth concave metal band that would fit behind the wearer's calf. It is not covered with leather. The brace attaches to the shoe by two pegs (one on each splint) that insert into holes in the sides of the sole of the shoe. The shoe, which would go on the right foot, laces up the right side.

History of Object: Shoe belonged to the donor's mother, Betty Jean (Funk) Thomas. Betty was born in 1923 and raised in Oneida, Kansas. She contracted polio just after learning to walk. The disease left her unable to walk without the aid of a crutch or brace. A photo of Betty as a young girl with her classmates is in the accession file. Her crutch and brace are visible in the photo. Betty used this brace and shoe (along with shoe #2004.86.3.1) later in her life. The shoes were specially made from casts taken of Betty's feet. The donor believes her mother got the shoes from Hanger Orthopedic Group in Topeka, Kansas. She apparently used this brace and shoes for a lengthy period since she had the leather of the brace repair in several places. Betty had to wait in the shop while the repairs were made because she couldn't walk without the brace. At some point, Betty's left leg was fused at the knee. The procedure was done at the Shriner's Hospital in St. Louis. Betty passed away in Meriden in April 2004 at the age of 80.

Date: Between 1950 and 1970

Dimensions (in cm): 75.00 (H) 17.00 (W) 13.00 (D)

Index Terms

Associations and Subjects

    Theme/topic: Disabilities
    Individual: Thomas, Betty Jean (Funk)
    Theme/topic: Poliomyelitis

Status: Cataloged

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