Rosy the Riveter dead at 92

Rosy the Riveter by Norman Rockwell, Saturday Evening Post cover, May 29, 1943

Rosy the Riveter by Norman Rockwell, Saturday Evening Post cover, May 29, 1943

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.

Image often incorrectly cited as 'Rosy the Riveter'.

Image often incorrectly identified as ‘Rosy the Riveter’.

“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.”

Images, War and Remembrance

(Originally blogged November 8, 2009)

Buying images for a publication can be prohibitively expensive. I wish I had known about the Library of Congress image archives when I wrote my book Forties Fashion. They have a phenomenol collection and it’s copyright free! In keeping with Remembrance Day here are some superb images of women in factories during World War II from the Library of Congress archives. These are American images, but of course, scenes just like these were occurring around the world during the war and on both sides of the conflict.