Sunday, February 24, 2013

Photo Archives - African American Women & the Language of the Fan



Apparently, during the Victorian era, fans had a language of their own.

Alvan S. Harper (1847-1911) Tallahassee c 1884 State Library and Archives of Florida

1 The fan placed near the heart: “You have won my love”
2 A closed fan touching the right eye: “When may I be allowed to see you?”
3 The number of sticks shown answered the question: “At what hour?”

Alvan S. Harper (1847-1911) Tallahassee c 1884 State Library and Archives of Florida

4 Threatening movements with a fan closed: “Do not be so imprudent”
5 Half-opened fan pressed to the lips: “You may kiss me”
6 Hands clasped together holding an open fan: “Forgive me”

Alvan S. Harper (1847-1911) Tallahassee c 1884 State Library and Archives of Florida

7 Covering the left ear with an open fan: “Do not betray our secret”
8 Hiding the eyes behind an open fan: “I love you”
9 Shutting a fully opened fan slowly: “I promise to marry you”

Alvan S. Harper (1847-1911) Tallahassee c 1884 State Library and Archives of Florida

10 Drawing the fan across the eyes: “I am sorry”
11 Touching the finger to the tip of the fan: “I wish to speak with you”
12 Letting the fan rest on the right cheek: “Yes”

Alvan S. Harper (1847-1911) Tallahassee c 1884 State Library and Archives of Florida

13 Letting the fan rest on the left cheek: “No”
14 Opening and closing the fan several times: “You are cruel”
15 Dropping the fan: “We will be friends”

Alvan S. Harper (1847-1911) Tallahassee c 1884 State Library and Archives of Florida

16 Fanning slowly: “I am married”
17 Fanning quickly: “I am engaged”
18 Putting the fan handle to the lips: “Kiss me”

Alvan S. Harper (1847-1911) Tallahassee c 1884 State Library and Archives of Florida

19 Opening a fan wide: “Wait for me”
20 Placing the fan behind the head: “Do not forget me”
21 Placing the fan behind the head with finger extended: “Goodbye”

Alvan S. Harper (1847-1911) Tallahassee c 1884 State Library and Archives of Florida

22 Fan in right hand in front of face: “Follow me”
23 Fan in left hand in front of face: “I am desirous of your acquaintance”
24 Fan held over left ear: “I wish to get rid of you”

Alvan S. Harper (1847-1911) Tallahassee c 1884 State Library and Archives of Florida

25 Drawing the fan across the forehead: “You have changed”
26 Twirling the fan in the left hand: “We are being watched”
27 Twirling the fan I the right hand: “I love another”

Alvan S. Harper (1847-1911) Tallahassee c 1884 State Library and Archives of Florida

28 Carrying the open fan in the right hand: “You are too willing”
29 Carrying the open fan in the left hand: “Come and talk to me”
30 Drawing the fan through the hand: “I hate you!”
31 Drawing the fan across the cheek: “I love you!”
32 Presenting the fan shut: “Do you love me?”