I. Miller

I. Miller

Location:New York, New York, United States of America
I. Miller was owned by Israel Miller.

Israel Miller was born in East Prussia, near the Polish border to a shoemaker in 1866. He immigrated to New York in 1890 at the age of 24. He had previously been work for four years as a cutter and designer in Paris. In New York, he was employed by John Azzimonti and worked at a cobbler's bench in Union Square.

Mr. Miller was wont to attribute his success to a “lucky dollar” he found in Union Square. One morning in 1893, shortly after he had formed a partnership with a man who had been soliciting orders for custom shoes. Miller, who had no orders on hand and whose wife and four children were hungry, was walking along Union Square. He saw a $1 bill lying in the street. Picking it up, he hurried home and the family had a meal. When he got back to his shop, a man came in and ordered a pair of shoes. From then on orders came in, and as success came to him, Mr. Miller laid it to the $1 bill, which he called his lucky piece.

I. Miller bought a building in Time Square, which he had remodeled in 1926 by architect Louis H. Friedland. The decorative sculpture on the building’s façade, by sculptor Alexander Stirling Calder, was a tribute to the theatrical profession with statues depicting Ethel Barrymore as Ophelia (drama), Marilyn Miller as Sunny (musical comedy), Rosa Ponselle as Norma (opera), and Mary Pickford as Little Lord Fauntleroy (film). Miller also included an inscription beneath the cornice that reads “The Show Folks Shoe Shop Dedicated To Beauty In Footwear.”

In the mid 1950’s the I. Miller Shoe Company hired artist Andy Warhol on a retainer as their chief illustrator, which provided the revitalization it badly needed. Warhol, who was a commercial illustrator prior to becoming a pop artist, was also doing advertising work for Tiffany & Co. and Henry Bendel at the time.

Israel Miller retired from the management of I. Miller & Sons, an $8,000,000 company with sixteen retail shops in New York, 200 agencies throughout the United States, and two shoe factories in 1926. Miller died in Paris in August 1929 at 63 years old.