Americas Art

Americas Fan Museum

This is the International Fan Collector’s Guild Museum, an artistic listing of fans from all over the world.  Each fan is listed by geographical location, and we have listed as much information about each fan as is available.

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Native American

The fan is used in two different ways by Native American Indians, It depends on the Dance that is being done. The first is, If a Brave drops or a feather comes loose from the costume.

The dance is stopped, a medicine man is called and with the dancers create a air currant to lift the feather from the ground, (it can not be “just” picked up) the Brave must pay the medicine man and the other dancers for the help in restoring the feather.   This is sometimes very expensive.

The second way is that a young women (squaw) will use the fan to tap a Brave on the head to join her in a dance.

North America

Movie Star Fan – given out at theater in the 1920’s, photo litographed on flat cardboard; 7-3/8″ (18.7cm) high by 13-1/8″ (33.3cm) wide.  Six stars (Aileen Pringle, Carmel Myers, Claire Windsor, Norma Shearer, Blanche Sweet and Mae Murray. Printed and copyrighted by E.W. E.D.R. Browne, New York. 1972b.jpg, Versa shows ads for the town of Lyndhurst, NJ.   Condition is a 7-8 out of 10; creasing at bottom bow at at the head of “Comedy’, some dirt.

“Mamma Says “20 Mule Team Borax Softens Hard Water”, Girl in bonnet carrying doll and borax to shower-bath. Chromolithograph on round cardboard. Copyright by Pacific Coast Borax Co.; c1910; 1968b.jpg, Versa shows four “20 Mule Team Products” also chromolithographed. Litography by American Litographic Co. Fan is 8-1/32″ (20.5cm) in diameter; the stick extends 4-3/4″ (12.2cm) below the fan. The stick reinforces the back of the fan resulting in a total stick length of 10-15/16″ (27.8cm). The stick is ½” (1.22cm) wide and ¼” (.65cm) thick with all four edges with 1/16″ (.32cm) fillet. Condition is 9.5 out of 10 – minor dirt and edge wear.

Rendered by Frank J. Mace
watercolor and graphite on paper, .430 x .500 m (16 15/16 x 19 11/16 in.)
Index of American Design

From the Tour: Costumes from the Index of American Design

The folding fan was probably invented in Japan in the seventh century. Examples of fans from the East were brought into Europe during the Crusades. Folding fans were common as costume accessories by the eighteenth century and were introduced to America as early as 1732. During the colonial period, Boston was a fan-making center.

This fan from about 1860 is constructed of black wood supports decorated with red and gold flowers. The upper portion is a colored engraving of fashionable young women and men amusing themselves in the countryside.

In addition to the beauty of this accessory, the way a fan was used indicated something of a woman’s social grace. The English writer Joseph Addison, in his work The Spectator, compared a lady’s skill with a fan to a man’s use of a sword.