My grandmother Fannie’s Fan

Grandmother Fannie’s Fan today.

Only the skeleton remains. It used to be covered with gossamer thin white material with little sparkling threads, like the fan below. All rotted away now.

The fan once looked similar to this one.  Click photo to see another fan.
Fannie Turner before marriage - 1909.
Fannie Turner before marriage – 1909.

I wonder if she carried the fan when she was married.

29 thoughts on “My grandmother Fannie’s Fan

  1. The link to “Photos of 1800s African American women & Church Hand Fans + the Courting Language of the Fan” is incorrect, but I found it by searching for the title.

    Fans on a stick are popular giveaways at the Minnesota State Fair. This year a TV station has one that has “I AM A FAN” printed on it.

  2. Even in skeleton form, the fan inspires the imagination. The portrait is beautiful. Fannie looks the perfect blend of intelligence and femininity.

  3. It must have been a lovely fan in its day. I can just imagine those glittering threads sparkling in the light as she fanned herself.

  4. So sad that grandmother Fannie’s fan has disintegrated. But at least you have photos of it and the skeleton is an heirloom.

    1. Sherri, I don'[t actually have a photograph of the fan. I was lucky enough to find a similar one online. When it was whole I had no idea it would disintegrate.

  5. It would have been a beautiful fan in its day. I hadn’t really thought about it before but a personal fan would have been required before the days of air conditioning!

  6. And, of course, your grandmother Fannie is a Fan, too — just like my great-grandmother, Frances Sabin Gould, who was known to all in the family as “Fan.”

  7. A fascinating post on fans, with such a personal touch – in its day your grandmother’s fan would have been lovely. I must admit I had not thought of fans still being used, forgetting their importance in hot climates.

  8. A simple but striking post, Kristin. The fan skeleton makes a good metaphor for life. The photo of Fannie is a fine portrait. Maybe for her graduation?

  9. That first photo strikes a chord with me. I can remember handling a skeleton of a fan like that but I can’t remember where or when. Thanks for that.

  10. I have a fan from my Mom from the 1950s. I’m not sure if she used it, I have to ask her. Thanks Kristin for showing!

  11. The skeleton fan provides such a wonderful metaphor for the effects of time on all things material and the ability of photographs to overcome the impact of time.

  12. Fantastic!
    Kristin something very moving about this Image.You could say that Time has reveled the strength hidden within? (clumsily put,but you get my drift..)
    The photo shows what was once hidden……..
    And Fair Play To the fan’s owner for keeping it.
    It also set me wondering what the modern equivalent is ? Perhaps.Today.We hide our modesty behind a mobile phone? a Poor Substitute in My Opinion!
    (*Sorry to you and all for being AWOL for so long here*)

    1. I wish I had framed it when I first got it. I don’t think there is a modern equivalent. Sometimes I wonder about the modesty too.

      You don’t have to apologize for being missing, I’ve been sort of missing myself this summer.

  13. Interesting that you have kept the skeleton of the fan, thanks for your contribution to what has been an interesting topic this week. I still see fans used today at the dances we go to.

  14. What a lovely, thoughtful pose Fannie is striking. It’s sad about the fan disintegrating but fabrics do get more fragile with age (don’t we all?). Thank you for the link to those beautiful, elegant ladies and their fans.

  15. And my whole life I thought fans were just something to use to get the air moving on humid days. Heaven knows what I’ve been saying.

  16. Thank you for sharing Kristin. I learned something, I never thought about how historic the fan is. Beautiful pictures! I bet your grandmother did carry that fan on her wedding day. 🙂

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