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SOUVENIR FANS

Souvenirs from Near and Far

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London Coronation Fan and Box, 1911

Manufactured in England. Silk gauze, spangles, ivory. Gift of Jessie Thomas Knapp.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1945.763

London Coronation Fan and Box, 1911

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.

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Box Detail

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Fan Detail

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Fan Detail


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Lacquered Brisé Fan and Box, ca. 1837

Manufactured in China. Wood, lacquer, ribbon. Gift of Harriet B. Steel.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1984.339.7

Lacquered Brisé Fan and Box, ca. 1837

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 ca. 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 18th 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.

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Fan Detail

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Box Detail


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Paris Exposition Fan, 1878

Manufactured in France. Cloth, wood. Gift of Elizabeth Greene Upham Davis.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1956.1671

Paris Exposition Fan, 1878

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.

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Columbian Exposition Fan, 1893

Manufactured in Italy. Paper, wood. Gift of Lisetta Graves Lautz.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1975.124.28

Columbian Exposition Fan, 1893

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.

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Fan Detail


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Wisconsin State Capitol Fan, 1917

Manufactured in Japan. Silk, paint, wood. Gift of Mrs. Emil Dreger.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1969.436.52

Wisconsin State Capitol Fan, 1917

Souvenir fans serve the dual purpose of comfort and remembrance.

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."


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Milwaukee Braves Fan, 1953-1958

Manufactured in Japan. Silk, paint, wood. Gift of Dr. Lief and Betty Erickson.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1986.17.2

Milwaukee Braves Fan, 1953-1958

Serving the dual purpose of comfort and remembrance, souvenir fans had become a common sight at ballparks by the mid-20th century.

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