Claudio Janni Collection, 1920s-1990s
Accession #: 2002.209
The Claudio Janni Collection features the Sam Lucchese boot pattern book which is an exceptional work of art with pages of designs for boot covers and patterns. Accompanying the book are several photographs, advertising cards, two catalogs, and 35mm slides of boot designs.
Two brief biographies for Sam Lucchese and Claudio Janni are included below.
Sam Lucchese, bootmaker and real estate broker, was born in Sicily in 1868. He immigrated to the United States in 1883 with his brothers. Upon his arrival in San Antonio, Texas, he and his brothers opened the Lucchese Boot and Shoe Factory. Lucchese took a very practical approach to the making of boots, stressing quality, quantity, and cost efficiency. He was always eager to implement the newest machines and techniques for increasing production, according to Samuel J. Lucchese, his grandson. In 1923 Sam Lucchese suffered a stroke that forced him to turn over the daily management of the boot factory to his son, Cosimo. In 1929 he suffered yet another stroke at his home and died. He was survived by his wife, Frances (Battaglia), and seven children, including a daughter, Josephine Lucchese, who was a nationally known opera singer. The bootmaking business continued for two more generations until his grandson sold the Lucchese Boot Company in 1970 to Blue Bell, Incorporated, the parent company of Wrangler.
History of Lucchese Boot Company. (link)
Lucchese, Sam, with Tad S. Mizwa. A Lifetime with Boots. Houston: Cordovan, 1983.
Ramírez, Elizabeth C. “Lucchese, Sam.” The Handbook of Texas Online, Texas State Historical Association. (link)
Ramírez, Elizabeth C. Footlights across the Border: A History of Spanish-Language Professional Theatre on the Texas Stage. New York: Lang, 1990.
Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Vertical Files: Josephine Lucchese; Sam Lucchese.
Claudio Janni is from Rome, Italy, where he spent most of his life. It was in 1963 when he met his future wife, Arleen, that Claudio found himself moving to New York after they married. He worked at the Parsons School of Design for the fashion industry, which led to a job in Nashville in the 1970s where Janni worked with Lucchese Boots and Wrangler Boots. In 1981 he moved to Arlington, Texas, to work with Justin Boots. While working for Lucchese, Janni met actors such as John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara, Mickey Mantle, and Dale Robertson. After retiring from boot design and fashion, Janni pursued oil painting. He has studied at Conte Verde School of Art and attended the Nuova Italia Art Institute. His paintings are described as being reflective of the true color of Italy. While he has extensively traveled throughout Italy, his paintings focus on Venice, Tuscany, and the Amalfi Coast, especially the canals of Venice. Janni has had exhibitions in Rome, Venice, and Florence, including galleries in the United States.
Claudio Janni. Artist Website. (link)
Summers, Angie. “Spirit of Italy and Texas captured in man’s work.” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Sunday, February 3, 2008. Edition: Arlington, Section: Advance Metro, Page BB1. (link)
Scope & Content Note
The photographic content of the collection consists of three black-and-white photographs of Claudio Janni in addition to fifteen 35mm Kodachrome color slides from the 1950s of some boot designs. Advertising material for Lucchese Boot Company includes a brochure from 1978, and advertising cards and a catalog, both from 1990. The book A Lifetime With Boots (1983) written by Sam Lucchese with Tad S. Mizwa has been cataloged and included in the Library Catalog.
The most unique piece of this collection is the Sam Lucchese Pattern Book of designs created by Lucchese during the 1920 to 1970s. The book was in such poor condition upon receipt that it was sent to a conservator for repairs and conservation needs. Excerpts from the conservator’s report are included in the Processing section of the Guide. The newly conserved pattern book is labeled as box 2, while the original binder and pages are stored in box 3. The 105 35mm color slides taken by the conservator document both before and after conservation efforts for each page of the Lucchese Pattern Book and are stored in box 1. The images are not yet on the Image Archive Database but can be viewed in person at the Dickinson Research Center.
Director Chuck Rand conducted a nearly hour-long interview with Claudio Janni on November 18, 2002, in the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Education Department classroom. The video was recorded by Kris Nelson. The interview was originally recorded on a DVCAM videotape, and dub copies on VHS and Betacam-SP have been made. The interview can be viewed by researchers in the Dickinson Research Center by appointment.
The collection was accessioned on November 18, 2002, as a purchase from Claudio Janni. Shortly after, the Lucchese Pattern Book was sent to a conservator. The rest of the items were organized and described in 2002. The guide was written and updated online by Archivist Laura Anne Heller on April 7, 2010.
Excerpts from the conservator’s report are included below:
“Description: Boot pattern book; 49 pages with boot patterns mounted on both sides of each page. The pages were placed in a three ring binder. Binder pages are poor quality Bristol paper. Boot patterns are made from various colored construction-type papers. The papers have been layered with cutout design, and have design elements drawn in pencil. Three pages are missing the applied pattern. Four loose patterns are in the back of the binding. Each pages is 9×11 inches (width x height).
“Condition On Receipt: The binding is in poor condition. It has been soaked in liquid causing the entire binding structure to tear apart and rust. The last several pages in the binding have heavy accretions of grime and mold. Individual pages are browned and brittle due to inherent acidity. Further damage from contact with liquids and the binding structure has caused numerous tears and losses in every page. The colored paper patterns (some patterns use as many as three colored papers) were adhered to the pages using rubber cement. The rubber cement is now failing with age, causing the patterns to drop off the pages. The patterns and pages are severely stained from contact with the rubber cement adhesive. The brittleness and acidity in the colored papers combined with the mechanical nature of the binding has caused many of the patterns to tear or cutout part of the pattern to fall off. Two pages have inscriptions; one in pencil “Conger design,” one in blue ink “Block design.” Two facing pages have part of their design drawn directly onto the album paper.
“Treatment: Collated the pages and photographed (color slides) each page. Removed the patterns from each page and reduced rubber cement adhesive on the patterns with organic solvents. As patterns were removed it became apparent that many of the patterns had been remounted onto the original page or repositioned using various adhesives including water soluble adhesive and PVA type adhesive. The patterns were locally surface cleaned and treated to reduce adhesive accretions including rubber cement and water soluble adhesives. The patterns and pages were mended and reinforced where necessary using Japanese kozo paper with wheat starch paste adhesive. The treated patterns and pages were mounted onto new archival, acid and lignin free, 80 lb., album paper (Gaylord), which are 10×12.5 inch (slightly larger than original pages). The new scrapbook cover and slip case are also made from acid-free materials (Gaylord). Pages were numbered by collation at the bottom edge. Numbers on the reverse of the patterns were noted at the top margin of pages. Whole pages with inscriptions or drawings were mounted onto new album pages. The four loose patterns were mounted onto pages at the end of the album.” – Written by Eileen C. Clancy, A.B., M.A.C.; Denver, Colorado; October 29, 2004.
The Claudio Janni Collection is the property of the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Literary right, including copyright, belongs to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, with the exception of copyrighted artwork images and published literary works, which are the property of the respective copyright holders. It is the responsibility of the researcher, and his/her publisher, to obtain publishing permission from individuals pictured, relevant copyright holders, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. It is advisable for researchers to discuss their proposed research with staff prior to visiting the Center.
Claudio Janni Collection, Box ##, Folder ##, Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Series 1: Claudio Janni Collection (Location 0075) –
|Box/Folder #||Accession #||Folder Title/Description|
|Box 01||Photographs, Slides, Brochure, Catalog, Advertising Cards pertaining to the Lucchese Boot Company and Claudio Janni|
|01/01||Photographs, circa 1982-1998. |
|2002.209.3.1||Claudio Janni. Portrait. 1983. Photograph, b&w, 9×7 in. |
|2002.209.3.2||Claudio Janni, Designer & Director of Product Development. Lucchese, Since 1983. Business portrait. 1998. Photograph, b&w, 10×8 in. |
|2002.209.3.3||Claudio Janni and man holding a boot. Circa 1982. Photograph, b&w, 8×10 in. |
|01/02||Kodachrome 35mm slides, color, circa 1950s. |
|2002.209.4.01||Brown boots with black and white pattern. Slide, color, 35mm.|
|2002.209.4.02||Dark brown boots with tan pattern. Slide, color, 35mm.|
|2002.209.4.03||Brown boots with tan and white pattern. Slide, color, 35mm.|
|2002.209.4.04||Brown boots with tan pattern. Slide, color, 35mm.|
|2002.209.4.05||Red boots with red and green pattern. Slide, color, 35mm.|
|2002.209.4.06||Tan boots with “Sun and Soil” pattern. Slide, color, 35mm.|
|2002.209.4.07||Brown boots with initials “J.W.W.” Slide, color, 35mm.|
|2002.209.4.08||Black boots with Texas flag and “Antonio” design. Slide, color, 35mm.|
|2002.209.4.09||Brown boots with tan pattern. Slide, color, 35mm.|
|2002.209.4.10||Tan boots with “Sun and Soil” pattern. Slide, color, 35mm.|
|2002.209.4.11||Black boots with initials “R.A.” Slide, color, 35mm.|
|2002.209.4.12||Red boots with a parrot pattern. Slide, color, 35mm.|
|2002.209.4.13||White boots with a tan pattern and “Kathy.” Slide, color, 35mm.|
|2002.209.4.14||Red, White, and Blue boots with “H-Y.” Slide, color, 35mm.|
|2002.209.4.15||Dark brown boots with white and blue pattern. Slide, color, 35mm.|
|01/03||35mm Color Slides of Lucchese Pattern Book. |
|2002.209.5.001-.105||Color 35mm slides, 2003. Slides were taken by conservator to document before and after conservation of each pattern book page. |
|01/04||Brochure/Catalog, Circa 1978. |
|2002.209.6||Lucchese Boot Company, Div. Blue Bell, Inc. 1226 E. Houston St., San Antonio, Texas 78205. Since 1883. Color and black-and-white catalog of boots and boot patterns. Circa 1978. |
|01/05||Advertising Cards, circa 1990. |
|2002.209.7.01||Stingray Raja Design. Lucchese Boots & Accessories. Circa 1990. Card, color, 5×7 in. |
|2002.209.7.02||Peanut Brittle. Lucchese Boots & Accessories. Circa 1990. Card, color, 5×7 in. |
|2002.209.7.03||Firenze. Lucchese Boots & Accessories. Circa 1990. Card, color, 5×7 in. |
|01/06||Catalog (in binder), circa 1990s. |
|2002.209.8||Lucchese Boot Catalog in three-ring binder and hard cover. Men’s and Ladies’ boot designs. 121 numbered pages. |
|Box 02||2002.209.1||Sam Lucchese Pattern Book (designs), circa 1920s-1970s. Conserved pages (49) stored in blue cloth binder in box 2. Original binder and pages in box 3. NOTE: In the case of disorder of pages, refer to order in conservation slides, Box 01. Folder 03. Description of book’s condition and conservation efforts are detailed in Processing section of Guide.|
|Box 03||2002.209.1||Original binder and pages for Sam Lucchese Pattern Book, circa 1920s-1970s.|
|Library Stacks||2002.209.2||A lifetime with boots by Sam Lucchese; with Tad S. Mizwa. Cordovan Corporation,  88 p.: ill.; 28 cm. Design by John Hillenbrand; Production by Graham Ward. Reprinted from twelve installments in Western outfitter magazine, July 1980 through June 1981. [Cataloged in Library Catalog]|
Series 2: Claudio Janni Collection, Interviews (Moving Images Stacks) –
|Catalog #||Folder Title/Description|
|DVC00010||Claudio Janni interview, November 18, 2002 [videorecording] / National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center; interviewer, Chuck Rand; videographer, Kris Nelson. 2002. Recorded in the classroom of Education Department, November 18, 2002. The interview was originally recorded on a DVCAM videotape. 1 videocassette (51 min.) : sd., col. ; 1/4 in. Claudio Janni, boot designer and developer, talks about his life and career as a designer, especially his relationship with Sam Lucchese and the Lucchese Boot Company. [Cataloged in Library Catalog]|
|VC02440||VHS dub of a DVCAM original, DVC00010. [Cataloged in Library Catalog]|
|VC02441||Betacam-SP dub of a DVCAM original, DVC00010. [Cataloged in Library Catalog]|