Monica D. Murgia

Art, creativity, and fashion
October 21st, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Broken

heart

“Do not despair.  If your heart can be broken, that means that it still works.”

heart

 

September 2nd, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Starting Over

Eagle

“I don’t start over.  You see, I just go on from one thing to another.  They’re all really the same.” – Diana Vreeland 

 

Eagle

 

August 20th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Mystery

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“The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.” – Gerard van der Leeuw

 

New York

 

August 19th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Fred Braun: A Family History

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Today’s post is courtesy of my reader, KC.  My previous writing on Fred Braun has developed a coterie, commenting on their fond memories of the iconic footwear.  Everyone is mystified as to what happened to Fred Braun and why the brand disappeared.  Several readers are even interested in reviving the brand themselves, and don’t know where to start.  KC, a relative of Fred Braun, stumbled on my blog and shared the following information in the comment section:

 

I found this article looking for more information about Fred Braun the man and his history. There is very little online. I found a newspaper article about his and his shoe company from 1961 among my grandmother’s old pictures. Based on the information in the article and other pictures we have, I believe Fred Braun is an Americanized name and that he was originally Frederick Braunschweig, my grandfather’s brother. The family was all in the leather business (tanners, hide salesmen, shoe distributors) in Germany before fleeing the Nazis. I’d be happy to share the article and pictures I have of him and if you find any more information about him or the company, I’d be interested.

I contacted KC, eager to learn more of what happened to Fred Braun.  He shared this New York Times article from August 15th, 1961:

fred_braun
Part of the cult-like following was due to Braun’s process.  The entire shoe was made by hand, by one artisan.  After going bankrupt once, Braun decided to listen to the customers.  He opened a store in Greenwich Village, and looked to customers for the opportunity to test the market.  And learn he did!  He charmingly explained:
“I’ll never forget the woman who told me that a certain bag made her face look too square.  Up until then, being a mere man, I had thought that handbags were only for carrying things.”
KC has been researching his family tree, and share this additional information:
This is assuming we’re right that he really is Frederick Braunschweig.   He married a woman named Renate. We don’t know much else about her. The article claims his mother had 6 children.  We only know about the 3 brothers but there may have been sisters we don’t know about, possibly they didn’t survive or were from a previous marriage.  This photo is of Fred and Renate cutting their wedding cake (date unknown).
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We do know that Fred’s brother Theo (my grandfather) was a chemist in a tannery and his father, Issac, owned shoe stores/distributors in Munich and was in business with his wife’s (Sophie Muhlhauser) family.  Another thing we know is that Issac was killed in Munich.  Most likely murdered in the street by Nazi SA.  His grave is in Munich.  Sophie later attempted to escape to France, possibly to meet Fred. The article says he went to Strasbourg, a city known for tanners, which is just across the border from Zweibrucken, where Theo’s wife was born.  Sophie failed to make it to France and was later deported from Munich to a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia and killed there.
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Left to right: Theo, Ralph (KC’s father), Anna (Theo’s wife), Fred.  Photo was taken in Lille, France circa 1940.
 

Please feel free to comment below with any additional information that you may have.   Thank you, KC, for sharing this wonderful article and information!

Image and article courtesy of the New York Times.

August 13th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Door

NYPL

Why search in vain / in every door in which we will not exist / because we have not yet arrived?

That is how I found out / that I was exactly like you / and like the whole world.

- Pablo Neruda

NYPL

 

August 12th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Transformation

Goose

“He had been persecuted and despised for his ugliness, and now he heard them say he was the most beautiful of all the birds. Even the elder-tree bent down its bows into the water before him, and the sun shone warm and bright. Then he rustled his feathers, curved his slender neck, and cried joyfully, from the depths of his heart, ‘I never dreamed of such happiness as this, while I was an ugly duckling.’”- Hans Christian Andersen

Goose

 

August 8th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Reverse

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“We must abandon completely the notion of blaming the past for any kind of situation we are in.  And we have to reverse our thinking to see that the past always flows out of the present.  That now is the creative point of life.  And so, you see, it’s like the idea of forgiving somebody.  You change the meaning of the past by doing that.  It’s also like the flow of music.   The melody as it is expressed is changed by notes that come later.  The present is always changing the past.” – Alan Watts
Reverse

 

August 5th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Solitude

fly
“You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts;
And when you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart you live in your lips, and sound is a diversion and a pastime.
And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.
For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.”
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“There are those among you who seek the talkative through fear of being alone.
The silence of aloneness reveals to their eyes their naked selves and they would escape.
And there are those who talk, and without knowledge or forethought reveal a truth which they themselves do not understand.
And there are those who have the truth within them, but they tell it not in words.
In the bosom of such as these the spirit dwells in rhythmic silence.When you meet your friend on the roadside or in the market place, let the spirit in you move your lips and direct your tongue.
Let the voice within your voice speak to the ear of his ear;
For his soul will keep the truth of your heart as the taste of the wine is remembered
When the colour is forgotten and the vessel is no more.”

Khalil Gibran

 

July 30th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Day Dream

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“Don’t quit your day dream”, said the unicorn.

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July 29th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Travel

navigation
“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu
navigation

 

July 28th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Beauty

Central Park 2013
“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”- Sigmund Freud
Central Park 2013

 

July 25th, 2014 by Monica Murgia

Photo Diary: Fearless

Star

“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”- Sarah Williams

Star