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Object Name Fan
Date 1910-1925
Description Feather fan of white ostrich feathers. Bone sticks with incised and pierced decoration; mother-of-pearl veneered guardsticks. Riveted at bottom, with metal loop. Made in the United States. Fan retains its original cardboard box with printed label on cover: "CAWSTON OSTRICH FEATHERS / FROM THE CAWSTON OSTRICH FARM / SOUTH PASADENA, CALIFORNIA /...."
(Keywords: Fashion, Accessory, Early Twentieth Century, New York)
Acquisition Gift of the County of Suffolk, New York
Ownership and History The downy tufts of this fan would waft gently at the slightest movement of its owner. It may have belonged to Elila E. Williams Smith (1890-1970), who lived in Rossville and Tottenville (Staten Island) in her youth and later resided on Long Island. The fan came to the Staten Island Historical Society with materials from the estate of her husband, Albert Smith.

Fans like these were fashion accessories more than tools for cooling. They were designed for dramatic effect, and allowed a woman to gently arouse attention with a simple flick of the wrist.
Earliest Date 1910
Latest Date 1925
Subjects Fans
Lexicon Sub-category Personal Gear
Associated People Smith, Elila E. (Williams)
Catalog Number 86.001.0020.A-B
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Fan Association of North America (FANA), 2011. (
Legal Status Images and text in this database are copyrighted by the Staten Island Historical Society unless otherwise noted. Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.