Milwaukee: Milwaukee WPA Handicraft Project, [193?]. First edition. Hardcover. Elephant folio (19 x 25"). 10 loose framed plates, as issued. Original olive cloth portfolio with title label on front cover. String ties.
This extremely rare portfolio was made by the Milwaukee Handicraft Project, one of the most successful and innovative Works Progress Administration (WPA*) projects in the US, which employed thousands of people, teaching them to make a variety of handmade wooden and cloth articles.
This fifth volume (of a series of six) is devoted to motifs, and contains 10 splendid motifs in vibrant colors on linen. Each piece is taped on heavy cardstock (as issued) with paper frame overlays, and has a typed title label taped at lower margin of mount:
Mother Goose A, B & C (3); Tyrolean; Circus Montage A, B & C (3); Country Schoolhouse; Madeira; and Dykstra Plaid.
Verso of cardstock with stamp "WPA Handicraft Project # 7040, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sponsored by Milwaukee County and Milwaukee State Teachers College."
Ex-library copy with thin paper strip with typewritten title and library inventory number attached with non-abrasive tape along front joint. Some age wear, with moderate discoloration and age-toning to cloth. Ex libris and library barcode as well as publishers bookplate on inside of front cover. Abrasion on bookplate. Slight age toning to outer edges of cardstock. Portfolio in overall good- to good, interior in good+ to very good, plates in very good condition. g to vg. Item #20270
* The WPA (Works Progress Administration) was a government sponsored project developed in the early 1930's to help remove hundreds from the welfare rolls and to provide many workers with the training and skills they needed to qualify for jobs in the private sector. It was Milwaukee's response to the Great Depression which hit America in 1929. At some stage over 1300 unskilled poor women produced work for the program making useful artistic items such as draperies, dolls, toys, furniture, prints, books, costumes and rugs. The project improved the quality of life of children and adults in Milwaukee by producing materials of exceptional design, outstanding quality and lasting educational value. Unfortunately the program was discontinued in 1943 mainly as a result of the economic recovery that took place in the United States.