Mary Doyle Keefe was 92 when she passed away today. Keefe was 19 when she was paid $10.00 to pose for two mornings in Arlington, Vermont for the artist Norman Rockwell. Working as a telephone operator, Mary had no idea that when her image was printed on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, on May 29, 1943, that she would become a wartime symbol of the American woman on the home front.
“Other than the red hair and my face, Norman Rockwell embellished Rosie’s body, I was much smaller than that and did not know how he was going to make me look like that until I saw the finished painting.” Keefe said in a 2012 interview with the Hartford Courant.
Rockwell’s “Rosie the Riveter” is often confused with the popular image created to sell war bonds of a woman flexing her arm with the slogan “We Can Do It.”