French Advertising Hand Fan

Paper Fan with Off-Balance Ski Image, circa 1920

This paper fan features a circa 1920 advertisement for a French brand of chocolate, “Chocolat Mignot.” The chocolate was sold at the “Comptoirs Français,” which was a French “bazaar company,” according to François Caron, author of the 1979 book An Economic History of Modern France. The chocolate may have been named for Édouard Mignot, the founder and owner of the “Comptoirs Français.”  The image on the front of the paper fan is a comic illustration of an off-balance, out of control skier in plus-fours and argyle socks, with the mountains behind him.

Paper fans became a major vehicle for commercial advertising beginning in the 1890s, according to Pamela Gerish Nunn, author of the article “Fine Art and the Fan, 1860-1930.” These fans, generally made of paper, “could be given away to patrons or potential customers,” and were “meant to be topical and thus ephemeral.”

This fan is part of the “Ski Collection,” a special collection of rare books, posters,  magazines, and ephemera relating to all aspects of skiing. For more information about the collection, please contact the Curator of Special Collections and Archives, Katherine Crowe.

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