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WPA (Works Progress Administration)

WPA dolls are handmade dolls produced in the United States from 1935 to 1942 as part of a federal program to create jobs for women. Some were made as children's toys, while others were produced as visual aids for schools and museums. Most WPA dolls are made entirely of cloth or have paper maché heads on cloth bodies. Some dolls are carved from wood and dressed in fabric clothing.

During the Depression years of the 1930s, the United States government worked to provide jobs and stimulate the economy through a massive federal undertaking called the Works Progress Administration. WPA programs were mostly construction projects. However, a division to create jobs specifically for women resulted in several individually run handicraft programs in states across the country.

WPA programs were not allowed to compete with private industry by selling items to the public. Instead, items were distributed to needy families and sold to museums, hospitals, and schools.

Workers at the Kansas Museum Project in Wichita created 24 pairs of dolls designed to show the changes in American fashion over the years 1607 to 1900. The second series of 24 pairs wore the national costumes of other countries, including Greece and Sweden. They were sold to museums and schools.