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Object Timeline

1939

  • Work on this object began.

2016

  • We acquired this object.

2021

  • You found it!

Sample Portfolio, Applied Design, 1939

This is a Sample portfolio. It was printed by Milwaukee Handicraft Project and made for The Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project. It is dated 1939 and we acquired it in 2016. Its medium is cotton and its technique is block printed on plain weave. It is a part of the Textiles department.

The Milwaukee Handicraft Project's block printing unit developed as an off-shoot of the bookbinding unit, when the designers there decided to decorate their book covers with linoleum block prints. This quickly evolved into the creation of printed yardage. The designs were drawn by the art-trained designer/ foremen, and carved by the workers. With a strong commitment to quality design, the MHP developed a review process to ensure that the work was of high quality. Samples of the printed textiles were included in an educational portfolio for high schools and colleges.
Since WPA projects were charged with stimulating the economy while not competing with private industry, the primary clients for these goods were publicly-funded institutions, including schools and hospitals. The project created model rooms to display their selection of woven and printed textiles, rugs, draperies, and furniture items, and published a 90-page catalogue for national distribution. The block-printed fabrics sold for 70 cents per yard, and hung as curtains in many Wisconsin schools. Sales were ultimately made to public institutions in all 50 states, and a local reporter called it “The Project that Made Milwaukee Famous.” The designs were also exhibited at the World’s Fair in New York in 1939, and at the Art Institute of Chicago.

This object was donated by American Textile History Museum. It is credited American Textile History Museum Collection.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 45.7 × 35.6 cm (18 × 14 in.)

Cite this object as

Sample Portfolio, Applied Design, 1939; Printed by Milwaukee Handicraft Project ; cotton; H x W: 45.7 × 35.6 cm (18 × 14 in.); American Textile History Museum Collection; 2016-35-89-1/11

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108711723/ |title=Sample Portfolio, Applied Design, 1939 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=9 May 2021 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>