6 vols: I. Surface Patterns; II. Surface Patterns; III. Motifs; IV. Border Designs; V. Motifs; VI. Supplement, comprising a suite of portfolios containing 72 total examples of matted blockprinted textiles in a wide variety of patterns and styles, including figures, animals, birds, botanical, and geometric designs, the back of each matte stamped "WPA Handicraft Project #7040, Milwaukee Wisconsin, Sponsored by Milwaukee County and Milwaukee State Teachers College", the inside front cover of portfolios 1-4 and 6 labeled "This portfolio was made by the Milwaukee Handicraft Project, Sponsored by Milwaukee County and Milwaukee State Teachers College, Wisconsin WPA", portfolio five stamped "WPA Handicraft Project #8601, Milwaukee Wisconsin, Sponsored by Milwaukee County and Milwaukee State Teachers College". Portfolios 1-3 folio, 4-6 elephant folio. Green cloth-covered boards portfolios, contents loose as issued. Milwaukee (Milwaukee WPA Handicraft Project) n.d. (circa 1935). Ex-library copy with bookplates, labels to covers, rubber ink stamps to portfolios and mattes, and pencil acquisition notations to mattes.
After President Roosevelt passed the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act in 1935, Harriet Pettibone Clinton, the District Director of the Women's Division of the WPA in Milwaukee County, was determined to create a program to employ the large numbers of unskilled and unemployed women. Whereas women were usually offered lower-paying gender-specific jobs such as childcare and clerical work, Clinton wanted to employ women to make handicrafts. She contacted a colleague, art teacher Elsa Ulbricht of Milwaukee State Teacher's College, and together they created the Milwaukee WPA Handicraft Project. The project's aim was "to make by hand household articles of wood, paper, yarn and cloth. The objects made will be distributed to relief families, nursery schools serving relief families and publicly owned institutions." The blockprinting division issued these portfolios of textiles as samples to advertise the work they were capable of doing. From 1935 to 1942, the MHP employed over 5,000 women and minorities, breaking important gender and color barriers and bringing notoriety to Milwaukee. Book ID: 48655