Language of the Fan & Other Thoughts

Book Signing News:

Another busy week awaits me. I’ll be leaving very early tomorrow morning for Quitman, Texas ISD and returning tomorrow night. Friday I’ll have a signing at the Barnes & Noble in Baton Rouge (Perkins store) and at Waldenbooks in Baton Rouge on Saturday, then I’ll likely return home Saturday night. I also found out that my children’s book was nominated for SIBA Book Award by Cherry Books. (Look in list towards bottom),com_fabrik/Itemid,271/ and also for the Cybils Award. See these blogs:

Civil War Program Additions:

After my signing at the Texas Civil War Museum last Saturday, I’ve added some things to my show and tell table for the students who see my program. I now have two packages of Confederate money, a mounted chart of Texas flags during the Civil War, and a friendship fan. According to the museum staff, young girls in the Antebellum South would write the names of their friends on the blades of the fan. I also saw a photo of one on the Internet that looked like it had photos/paintings of friends as/on the blades. However, I couldn’t locate any specific sites that talked about friendship fans. If you know of one, please send it my way. ( I do know that hand fans were common and part of a lady’s attire, and evidently a means of communication. On the site listed below, you can see some Civil War period fans. Below that is the language of the fan:

The fan placed near the heart: “You have won my love”
A closed fan touching the right eye: “When may I be allowed to see you?”
The number of sticks shown answered the question: “At what hour?”
Threatening movements with a fan closed: “Do not be so imprudent”
Half-opened fan pressed to the lips: “You may kiss me”
Hands clasped together holding an open fan: “Forgive me”
Covering the left ear with an open fan: “Do not betray our secret”
Hiding the eyes behind an open fan: “I love you”
Shutting a fully opened fan slowly: “I promise to marry you”
Drawing the fan across the eyes: “I am sorry”
Touching the finger to the tip of the fan: “I wish to speak with you”
Letting the fan rest on the right cheek: “Yes”
Letting the fan rest on the left cheek: “No”
Opening and closing the fan several times: “You are cruel”
Dropping the fan: “We will be friends”
Fanning slowly: “I am married”
Fanning quickly: “I am engaged”
Putting the fan handle to the lips: “Kiss me”
Opening a fan wide: “Wait for me”
Placing the fan behind the head: “Do not forget me”
Placing the fan behind the head with finger extended: “Goodbye”
Fan in right hand in front of face: “Follow me”
Fan in left hand in front of face: “I am desirous of your acquaintance”
Fan held over left ear: “I wish to get rid of you”
Drawing the fan across the forehead: “You have changed”
Twirling the fan in the left hand: “We are being watched”
Twirling the fan I the right hand: “I love another”
Carrying the open fan in the right hand: “You are too willing”
Carrying the open fan in the left hand: “Come and talk to me”
Drawing the fan through the hand: “I hate you!”
Drawing the fan across the cheek: “I love you!”
Presenting the fan shut: “Do you love me?”

According to the link below, there were at least two books published in the 19th century that tutored ladies on the secret language of the fan. Be sure and check it out for yourself and see which of these codes you favor. I suppose men knew about this secret language and made some kind of effort to learn it too.