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Fanning Politics and Patriotism

Admiral George Dewey Fan
Paper, wood
Gift of Margaret E. Whitney St. Peter (1960.127.3)

After winning the Battle of Manila (Philippines) on May 1, 1898 during the Spanish-American War, Admiral George Dewey became an American hero. This fan, made in his honor, probably belonged to Alberta Kata (Dixon) Finch (b. 1867) of Superior, Wisconsin.

Admiral George Dewey Fan - detail
Martha Washington Fan
Manufacturer: Mexico
Paper, wood
Gift of Kilbourne (Wisconsin Dells) Public Library (1953.418)

This fan was made as a souvenir of the Women's Pavilion of the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, an event held to mark the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The Women's Pavilion emphasized the contributions of women to American progress.

Martha Washington Fan - reverse
Cigar Cockade Fan
c. 1925
Manufacturer: Japan
Paper, wood
Gift of Helen Louise Allen (1949.439)

The patriotic cockade cigar fan was introduced at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and like other novelty fans it could be used by men, women, and children. This fan may date from decades later; its "Made in Japan" label started to appear on Japanese exports by law in 1921. It may have been handed out to women during a political campaign, in the way that real cigars were given to men.

Cigar Cockade Fan - closed

What is this?

Richard and Pat Nixon Fan

This self-styled fan and flyswatter is made from a printed paper band, featuring an old photograph of Richard and Pat Nixon, stapled around folded pages from the sports section of the November 16, 1973 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle. The name and place of the dealers' contact printed on the fan may be fictitious, and "E.O.B." may be a reference to the Executive Office Building in Washington, DC. We are not certain whether this fan was intended to be pro-Nixon or anti-Nixon. If you have any information about this fan, please notify the Curator of the Costume & Textiles at

Richard and Pat Nixon Fan - detail
Adlai Stevenson Fan
Manufacturer: Madison, Wisconsin
Paper, wood
Gift of Edwin R. Bayley (1965.237.65)

James E. Doyle (1915-1987), father of the current governor, authorized and paid for the manufacture of this fan as part of the "Draft Stevenson Campaign" (chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt) to rally support for his friend, Adlai E. Stevenson (1900-1965) of Illinois, as Democratic presidential nominee in 1960. Stevenson had lost two previous bids for the presidency. This fan makes use of two catchy puns and includes the word "cool," which became a popular slang term in the 1950s.

Adlai Stevenson Fan - reverse
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