In a time before air conditioning, particularly in the south but also in the midwest during the summer, churchgoers used fans to stay cool in church. Although made of simple cardboard with a plain wood handle, the fans are wonderful complexes of meanings and images. One side featured a religious image, either a well-known painting of a biblical scene-the work of Warner Sallman was particularly popular-or a generically religious contemporary scene, like rural church or a still life with Bible.
The other side had the advertisement of the local company that supplied the fans. Funeral homes and insurance companies appear to have been common sponsors; these companies must have seen church-going women as particularly good potential customers.
These fans come from the collection of Lillian Fleming of Gainesville, Georgia.
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