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Mourning Time

Painted Black Silk Fan
Silk, wood, and paint
Gift of Evelyn Huggins (1979.15.1)

During the Victorian and Edwardian eras women usually adhered to rigid mourning customs that required them to wear black in specific materials for specific lengths of time depending on their relationship to the deceased. Though etiquette manuals detailed what type of jewelry, hats, handkerchiefs, and underwear were appropriate, they did not mention fans. Still, Mrs. Ellen M.S. Hawley (b. 1835) of Evansville, Wisconsin gave this appropriately black fan to her neighbor, Lulu Blanche (Devereaux) Dixon (1866-1947), who was mourning the death of her husband Albert in 1909.

Painted Black Silk Fan - detail
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