Archive for Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Program features WPA dolls

July 11, 2001

Dolls made during the Great Depression as part of the Works Progress Administration will be the topic of the "Know Your Antiques" program next Wednesday at the Watkins Museum in Lawrence.

The program begins at 2 p.m. at the museum, 1047 Massachusetts St.

Billie Aye, a member of the Lawrence Doll Collectors Club of Kansas and the Leavenworth Doll Club; Helene Miller, a member of the Leavenworth Doll Club; and Polly Reed of the Lawrence Doll Collectors Club of Kansas will begin the program by showing some of their own Depression-era memorabilia. Nancy Helmstadter, a member of the Lawrence club, also helped with a display at the museum.Aye and Miller are Tonganoxie residents, while Reed and Helmstadter live in Lawrence.

They also will present a slide show about Milwaukee WPA cloth dolls and their wardrobes. A question-and-answer period will follow.

"We will show 1930s memorabilia," Aye said. "It's going to be a neat program, I do believe. It's something that we enjoy. There's so much information about the WPA project, but so many people don't know that they did dolls and fine arts. Ordinarily these dolls are not on display. They are very, very beautiful."

Aye said that cloth WPA dolls are quite valuable.

"Those dolls are going generally for $1,100 to $1,300 each," she said.

WPA dolls were made in workshops during the Great Depression to teach skills to untrained women.

Many of the WPA dolls and figurines from Watkins Museum's collection will be displayed. Featured are WPA American costume figurines made to be used as learning tools in schools and ones that depict time periods from 1620 through the 1870s. Also on display are pairs of dolls representing various nationalities in native dress.

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