L2010.42.20 Milwaukee WPA Handicraft Project Horse, about 1939
Milwaukee WPA Handicraft Project Horse, about 1939
59 x 41 in.
Collection of Eleanor Bingham Miller L2010.42.20
This appliquéd coverlet was one of several patterns produced during the Great Depression by Milwaukee's WPA Handicraft Project. The design, known as Horse, was produced in quantity and originally cost $1.25.
During the Depression, the Federal Works Progress Administration (known after 1939 as the Work Projects Administration) developed many programs aimed at providing employment. The WPA Handicraft Project in Milwaukee employed unskilled women (and some men) to make everything from toys to woven fabrics to appliquéd quilts and coverlets. The products were sold across the country to federal, state, and local government offices, hospitals, orphanages, and other agencies. The workforce in the Milwaukee project was racially integrated, perhaps the only WPA program in the country so organized.