COPY-Impact of 1940 cotton mattress program recollected

Associated Press - September 8, 2009 2:44 PM ET

POCAHONTAS, Ark. (AP) - Amid the fun, games and food at the Randolph County Fair was a display of antiques that included a hand-sewn mattress made during a tremendous government program in 1940.

Anna Cook told fairgoers over the weekend that the program had the dual purposes of finding a market for surplus cotton and providing a comfortable place to sleep for the nation's poorest residents.

Families earning less than $400 per year were eligible to receive 50 pounds of cotton, ticking and needles. That was enough for one mattress, though families of 5 were eligible for a second mattress. County extension agents taught residents how to sew their mattresses. In Arkansas, 50,000 of the mattresses went into homes, part of 1.1 million sewn nationwide.

Information from: KAIT-TV,

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