June 25, 1924
The Real-Life Rosie the Riveter is born.
Rosalind Walter *first* inspired female patriotism during WWII (and beyond).
Rosalind “Roz” Walter
- Born in 1924, she grew up in Long Island & Connecticut attending prep schools.
- At 19, she began working the night shift as a riveter (drilling fasteners) on WWII fighter planes at a factory.
- To establish how much women should get paid, the factory timed Roz while she worked. She broke all the men's records, resulting in equal pay for men & women in the factory.
- In 1942, two men wrote a song called “Rosie the Riveter” after an article highlighting her work was published.
“All the day long,
Whether rain or shine,
She’s a part of the assembly line.
She’s making history,
Working for victory,
Rosie the Riveter.
Keeps a sharp lookout for sabotage,
Sitting up there on the fuselage.
That little girl will do more than a male will do.”
From the 1942 song "Rosie the Riveter.”
Why It Matters
- In 1942, *many* attempted to depict “Rosie The Riveter” as a way to recruit American women to traditionally male jobs due to a wartime labor shortage.
- The image we *now* associate with “Rosie The Riveter” (1943 “We Can Do It!” poster) was NOT inspired by Roz, but by another woman working in a factory during WWII.
- Another popular WWII "Rosie The Riveter" poster was painted by Norman Rockwell. It depicted a 19-year-old phone operator holding a rivet gun & eating a sandwich.
The wartime image of "Rosie The Riveter" was only used for a few weeks by a private company in 1942 but gained popularity in the 1980s.
Roz passed away last year at 95 years old. She was a lifelong philanthropist and well known for her support of public programming. She was the largest individual supporter of NYC's local PBS station.
READ MORE ABOUT ON THIS DAY: https://www.loc.gov/item/today-in-history/june-25/
FOR MORE ABOUT HER LIFE: Her NYT Obituary
NORMAN ROCKWELL'S POPULAR 1943 "ROSIE THE RIVETER" POSTER
by Jenna Lee,