Paper Dolls

 Paper Dolls: stories from women who served


The collaboration began with a call for story submissions sent to women currently and formerly serving in the U.S. military. They were asked to share a story told through their military uniform. Responses came from as far as Afghanistan and as close as San Francisco, all of them accessing memories of their personal experience.

Submissions were edited and each uniform item referenced in the stories was illustrated by Annemaree Rea. From dress uniforms to deployment gear, combat boots to dress pumps, the stories covered every branch of service from those who served in the sixties to those who are still serving today. Many of the authors responded to an invitation to come to Shotwell Paper Mill and participate in the process of creating the book. Production commenced. We created handmade paper from military uniforms, many of which are described and/or worn by the authors. The paper was dried, cured, and cut to size for screen printing. The subtle details of the rank insignia and buttons were colored by hand. Each story was typeset by hand using metal type and printed letterpress.  Over half the authors came to set their type, connecting them to the book on a deeper level.


My story is one out of twenty and we all share a common thread. The most inspiring part of this project is that through that common thread we are now one historical narrative.~Star Lara, U.S. Army I feel so incredibly moved by the diversity of the stories, and physically connected to the work because I helped make it.~Kelly McFarland U.S. Navy


Available as a hand made limited edition or as a commercially printed trade edition which includes a handmade paper doll.

To see how we made the book click here.



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Special Collections

Paper Dolls can be viewed at the following special collection libraries:

John E. Jaqua Law Library
Printmaking Center of New Jersey
Illinois Wesleyan University-Ames Library
Michigan State University
University of Illinois
Mills College
University of Colorado Libraries
Arizona State University
Carnegie Mellon Lafayette College
The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Thomas J. Watson Library
Royal Military College of Canada
Illinois State University
Rhode Island School of Design
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Library of Congress
Carnegie Mellon
San Francisco Public Library
Scripps College-Ella Strong Denison Library