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Souvenirs from Near and Far

London Coronation Fan and Box
Manufacturer: England
Silk gauze, spangles, ivory
Gift of Jessie Thomas Knapp (1945.763)

This fan probably belonged to Jessie Knapp (b. 1855) of Menomonie, Wisconsin, wife of lumber company owner Henry Eno Knapp. Noted world travelers, the Knapps probably acquired this fan during one of their trips. London's Grosvenor Hotel (now known as the Victoria Thistle Hotel) had these fans made to commemorate the coronation of King George V, held on June 22, 1911.

London Coronation Fan Box - detail
London Coronation Fan - detail
London Coronation Fan - detail
Milwaukee Braves Fan
Manufacturer: Japan
Silk, paint, wood
Gift of Dr. Lief and Betty Erickson (1986.17.2)

Serving the dual purpose of comfort and remembrance, souvenir fans had become a common sight at ballparks by the mid-twentieth century.

Wisconsin State Capitol Fan
Manufacturer: Japan
Silk, paint, wood
Gift of Mrs. Emil Dreger (1969.436.52)

This fan was made as a souvenir of the completion of the construction of the current Wisconsin State Capitol in 1917. Like all Japanese exports of the period, the fan is marked "Nippon." Note the fan maker's misspelling of "Madison" as "Madiscon."

Lacquered Brisé Fan and Box
c. 1837
Manufacturer: China
Wood, lacquer, ribbon
Gift of Harriet B. Steel (1984.339.7)

Dr. Thomas Steel (1809-1891) of Scotland worked as a surgeon aboard an "East Indiaman" ship in 1836, then lived for six months in China, where he acquired this fan. After returning to Britain, he moved to Genesee, Wisconsin. Steel probably bought this fan for his sister, Lillias Steel (born c. 1821), who eventually moved to Genesee to live with him.

Brisé fans, like this one of lacquered wood, never became fashionable in China, but the Chinese still made them for the European market. These fans, which frequently depicted scenes of daily Chinese life, became very popular in Europe at the end of the eighteenth century. That popularity ended around the time Dr. Steel acquired this fan. It is interesting to note that even though Dr. Steel was in China and could have purchased a true Chinese fan, he still chose to buy one made for European tastes.

Lacquered Brisé Fan - detail
Lacquered Brisé Fan Box - detail
Paris Exposition Fan
Manufacturer: France
Cloth, wood
Gift of Elizabeth Greene Upham Davis (1956.1671)

This fan depicts the event it was made to commemorate -- the 1878 Exposition Universelle held in Paris, France. The fan belonged to Elizabeth Smith (Jacques) Upham (1815-1888) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born in Wilmington, Delaware, Elizabeth had moved to Milwaukee in 1838 with her husband, attorney Don Alonzo Joshua Upham. Mrs. Upham probably did not attend the Exposition in Paris, and this fan may have been a gift to her.

Paris Exposition Fan - detail
Columbian Exposition Fan
Manufacturer: Italy
Paper, wood
Gift of Lisetta Graves Lautz (1975.124.28)

Lisetta Dorothea (Patzlaff) Horsfall (1859-1923) of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin acquired this fan, along with many other souvenirs, when she visited Chicago's Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Columbian Exposition Fan - detail
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