One of the most popular accessories for women in the 19th century were fans. Holding a fan to stir the air around you were not only a means to cool yourself down, but also a fashion statement. This beautiful white fan is constructed of carved ivory sticks and guard sticks (the two end pieces). It is assembled with silk organza, which is embellished with appliqued lace and hand painted daisies. This fan was owned by Nevada First Lady Mary Frances Colcord, wife of Governor Roswell Colcord, who served from 1891 – 1895. The Roswell’s were married in Virginia City in 1868 and this could have been used in their wedding ceremony. It was donated by their daughter, Stella in 1941, the year the Nevada State Museum opened to the public.
Jan Loverin, M.A. is the Curator of Clothing and Textiles at the Marjorie Russell Textile and Clothing Research Center.