Museum logo

Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Object Name Fan
Date ca. 1880-1890
Description Folding fan. Cream silk leaf with hand-painted yellow and blue flowers and reddish-brown leaves. Grain painted wood sticks and guardsticks. The guardsticks are beveled at the top. Bone washer at rivet. Metal loop. Probably made in the United States. Possibly made by the The Allen Fan Factory of Braintree, Massachusetts. Fan is in its original satin-covered box.
(Keywords: Fashion, Accessory, Floral, Victorian, New York)
Acquisition Gift of Mrs. Charles G. Stiles
Ownership and History The subdued colors and restrained decoration on this fan give it a modest character.

This fan has been attributed to The Allen Fan Factory of Braintree, Massachusetts. Among the features of Allen fans were the off-center painting of the leaf design (perhaps intended to be seen with the fan partially open), and the sticks that are painted to resemble wood grain. The use of grain-painted sticks was developed by Allen's predecessor, Edmund Soper Hunt, who also patented machinery for the mass production of fans. The sticks may be made of hornbeam, a tree found in the region south of Boston; hornbeam was favored by the local fan makers because it was a hard wood that took well to staining or graining.

This fan was presented to the Staten Island Historical Society in 1942 by Mrs. Charles G. Stiles (nee Florence Lucille Kennedy). The fan may have belonged to Mrs. Stiles' mother, Marie Alice Bush, who married T. Livingstone Kennedy in 1880. Mrs. Kennedy was active with a number of Staten Island charities, and was a founder of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Earliest Date 1880
Latest Date 1890
Maker Allen Fan Factory (attributed)
Material Silk/Wood
Subjects Fans
Lexicon Sub-category Personal Gear
Associated People Kennedy, Marie Alice (Bush) (Mrs. T. Livingstone Kennedy)
Catalog Number C02.0315
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.