Rosie The Riveter’s Birthday

June 23, 2023
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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 three years ago, 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,

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