Category Archives: Original Rosies

Historical profiles of women welders of the past.

Where’s Rosie?

If  you’ve ever watched a family tour around town with a Flat Stanley, or if you’ve done it yourself, you know how much fun it can be–and what a great excuse for getting silly!

A couple years ago my friend Ralph had a visit from Flat Stanley, courtesy of his nephew, and we took Flat Stanley on a tour of downtown San Diego.  We even made him some sunglasses.

Well the AFL-CIO’s Union Plus program is getting in on the flat fun too with their Where’s Rosie campaign and you can play along!

On the Union Plus website there’s a dowloadable Rosie the Riveter that you can print out and take along with you on vacation–there’s an interactive map where you can upload your photos and see where else Rosie has been.  So far she’s been to Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Delaware, D.C., Virginia, California, Oregon, and Florida…

Where will you take Rosie??

Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center Opens

If you’re a fan of Rosie the Riveter and plan on being in the Bay Area…  the long awaited Visitor Education Ceter at the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historic Park opened  its doors to the public in a grand celebration on Saturday, May 26, 2012.

From the official blessing and singing of the Star Spangled Banner at 10:00am to the ribbon cutting for the new Bay Trail wayside signs at the historic shipyard, and park ranger led tours, there were be programs for visitors of all ages.

Curators from the Cal Berkeley Regional Oral History Office were on hand to meet candidates for the Oral History of the WWII Home Front project. Some of these interviews are posted online, and if you’re a die hard Rosie fan, you’ll want to check them out. Here’s an excerpt:

The new Rosie the Riveter Visitor Center education is located in the historic “Oil House” at 1414 Harbour Way South, suite 3000, Richmond, CA 94804.

The building’s restoration was made possible by a public/private partnership between the National Park Service, the City of Richmond, and Orton Development Inc. Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects and Dalzell Corporation were responsible for the actual design and restoration/construction work. This architectural team has won a number of awards for the restoration of the adjacent Ford Assembly Building complex.

Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park was established in 2000 to preserve and interpret the stories and sites of our nation’s home front response to World War II. Park sites are spread throughout Richmond, CA and up until now, the park has had limited visitor services and no visitor center.

Even though the women who worked in the factories during WWII are called “Rosie the Riveters” many had other kinds of fabrication jobs– like welding!

  • Helyn Potter worked at the Curtis Wright Aircraft Plant making parts for the P-40 War Hawk for $1.10 an hour!
  • Mary Brancato welded tail pipes for the B29 airplanes at Davis Westholt in Wichita.
  • Susan Page welded at the shipyards for Western Pipe and Steel in South San Francisco.

And remember, if you’re carrying on the tradition of Rosie the Riveter, we’d like to feature you in our “New Rosie” column.


Photos courtesy of National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.

Geraldine Doyle: We Can Do It model

Geraldine Doyle, who inadvertently served as the model for the We Can Do It campaign, passed away on December 26, 2010 in Michigan.

In 1942 at the age of 17 she had worked briefly in a factory pressing metal. It was there that she met J. Howard Miller, the graphic artist who created the We Can Do It campaign.  (I briefly looked for a photo of Geraldine Doyle, but to no avail– perhaps one will turn up in the news or on the internets in the upcoming days)

Our condolences to her family…

This iconic image is often misidentified as  Rosie the Riveter…  an illustration by Norman Rockwell for a 1943 magazine cover of the Saturday Evening Post (as shown here).

What I like about the image (actually both images) is that they show women as strong with a can-do attitude and a willingness to work hard.

UPATE:  The Washington Post has a link to the original photo taken by Miller (red polka dot bandana and all- though its in black and white), and the LA Times has a stunning photo of Geraldine Doyle as well.