In spite of my plans to downsize and stop collecting, mourning fans have caught my attention. They don't take up much room, really.
Men and ladies of any time before air conditioning had a fan handy. Ladies made them a fashion accessory. The fan could be very fancy or very simple. I imagine that my ancestors, the Rockefellers, would have had a very beautiful fan, perhaps made with feathers or lighted gilded with a decoration, while other ancestors such as the Carrolls would have had a simple fan. I am sure they would have just one simple fan that would be used for many different funerals.
When the time period for mourning was a year and a day you just had to have a fan that was black to match your daily attire. If you could afford a lovely fan you would purchase one. If you couldn't you might paint one that you already had. Long mourning periods were for women while men wore a black armband and went about their daily routine. Men usually wore dark clothing so their regular fan would be proper. Simplicity and solemnity was necessary to mourning so a mourning fan would be plain black, but some would have a ever so slight decoration.
In the 1908 Sears catalogue you could purchase a lovely black silk fan for 25 cents. The simple mourning fan I bought cost $9.00, the one I really wanted was $35.00. As I checked on line to find more mourning fans many are being sold for hundreds of dollars.
No laundry or dinner today, Dear. I am off to the antique stores!