Ann Hull’s Fan
This intricate folding fan belonged to Ann McCurdy Hart Hull, the wife of Isaac Hull, USS Constitution’s first victorious captain in the War of 1812. Originally invented in Japan, the folding fan, or handheld fan, made its way to Europe in the 15th century by way of Portuguese explorers traveling in Japan and China. From the 1600s through the 1800s, the folding fan became a requisite accessory and affectation for most wealthy women, but the style and elaborate nature of more expensive fans made it a significant status symbol as well. Ann Hull’s fan is particularly detailed. The wooden sticks are carved and the blades of the fan are made from individual silk pieces designed to look like feathers. Each piece is embroidered where it attaches to the stick. There is a delicate silk lanyard with a tassel on the end, allowing for easy carrying on one’s the wrist.