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SPECIAL OCCASION FANS

Fans as Wedding Accessories

Enlarge Monochromatic white fan with carved sticks and ostrich feathers at tips. White ribbon tied at base.

White Ostrich Feather Fan, 1879

Ostrich feathers, celluloid. Gift of Bessie T. Fricke.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1962.1.2

White Ostrich Feather Fan, 1879

From around 1880 to 1930 folding ostrich feather fans were stylish accessories, especially for formal and evening events. Caroline Swinnerton (born ca. 1859), carrying the newest fashion in fans, used this one at the wedding of her cousin, Lucy Thayer, to Joseph P. McGuire in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Caroline may have been a bridesmaid.


Enlarge Monochromatic white satin and lace fan with carved sticks and alternating pattern.

White Satin and Lace Fan, 1870

Silk, lace, ivory. Gift of Mrs. J.V. Quarles.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1955.3614a

White Satin and Lace Fan, 1870

Mary A. Thomas (1850-1933) of Chicago, Illinois used this fan at her wedding to Emory Levi Grant, a lumber dealer from Kenosha, Wisconsin.


Enlarge White fan with carved sticks and painted with an assymetrical pattern of pink, yellow and blue delicate long-stemmed wild flowers.

Painted White Satin Fan, 1891

Silk, ivory, paint. Gift of Helen Ruth Warner.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1947.1384

Painted White Satin Fan, 1891

By the end of the 19th century, white satin fans, sometimes painted with flowers, were reserved for brides. Mary Elizabeth McIntyre (1864-1931) of Koshkonong, Wisconsin used this white satin fan at her wedding to Andrew J. Warner, a farmer from Whitewater, Wisconsin, on March 25, 1891.

Enlarge Close up of painted flowers in pink, yellow, blue and grey.

Fan Detail


Enlarge Ivory fan with carved ivory sticks, silk panels, and gold sequins applied in diamond and T shapes.

Ivory and Silk Gauze Fan, 1857

Ivory, silk, sequins. Gift of Elizabeth Marshall.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1945.772.1

Wedding Ensemble with Fan, 1857

These articles were used by Emma Hager (1829-1872) at her wedding to Samuel Marshall, cofounder of M&I Bank, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 6, 1857.

Emma matched the items featurd here for her wedding day. The ensemble includes the ivory and silk gauze fan, the tan and off-white striped silk wedding dress (Silk. Gift of Elizabeth Marshall. Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1945.974) and silk net bonnet with wax orange blossoms (Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1946.558).

Enlarge Close up of carved ivory sticks on fan.

Fan Detail

Enlarge Front detail of tan and off-white striped silk wedding dress. Gift of Elizabeth Marshall. <br />Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1945.974.

Wedding Dress, 1857

Enlarge Bonnet, silk net, wax orange blossoms. Gift of Elizabeth Marshall. <br />Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1946.558.

Wedding Bonnet, 1857

Enlarge Full view of front of dress without coat. Tan and off-white striped silk wedding dress. Gift of Elizabeth Marshall. <br />Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1945.974.

Front of Dress

Enlarge Full view of front of dress with coat. Tan and off-white striped silk wedding dress. Gift of Elizabeth Marshall. <br />Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1945.974.

Wedding Coat


Enlarge Tall stick fan with pink ostrich feathers and pink ribbon.

Pink Ostrich Feather Fan, 1893

Ostrich feathers, celluloid. Gift of Anita Hazelwood Erickson.
Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1945.764

Wedding Ensemble with Fan, 1893

This ensemble was worn by Frances E. Merrill (b. 1860) of Merton Township, Waukesha County, Wisconsin, at her wedding to Albert Rudberg, a veterinary surgeon. The wedding probably was held in Chicago, Illinois.

Frances matched the items featured here for her wedding day. The ensemble includes the pink ostrich feather fan, the off-white, light blue, and pink striped wedding dress (Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1945.930) and off-white silk shoes (Wisconsin Historical Museum object # 1946.701a-b).

Enlarge Full front view of silk pink and blue striped wedding dress.

Wedding Dress

Enlarge Side view with train of wedding dress.

Back of Dress

Enlarge Up close view of bodice of silk pink and blue striped wedding dress.

Dress Detail

Enlarge Off white silk and leather wedding shoes with a two-inch heel and shoe laces.

Wedding Shoes

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