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The
"We Can Do It!" message was  commissioned
 to boost morale for women working  in manufacturing
during WWII!


The mother of this webmaster was 25 in 1941 working at Hayes in
Grand Rapids, Michigan



The photographer below, of Geraldine Doyle was used by J. Howard Miller, a graphic artist at Westinghouse, for the poster which was aimed at deterring strikes and absenteeism.

The poster was not widely seen until the 1980s when it was embraced by the feminist movement as a potent symbol of women's empowerment.

Geraldine Doyle, who inspired the
 "WE CAN DO IT!" poster during World War II passed away at the age of 86,
on Sunday December 26, 2010,
 in the city of Lansing, Michigan.

Geraldine Doyle was married for 66 years to dentist Leo Doyle. They had six children, 18 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
The US female factory worker who inspired the poster named "We Can do It" poster, was 17 year old Geraldine Doyle. She took a job at a metal pressing plant near Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1942 at the height of World War II. She was photographed for the image at a factory. The photo was commissioned to boost morale for women working in manufacturing at the time.

Doyle was photographed wearing a red and white polka-dot bandana at a metal factory in Michigan. It is said she left her position at the factory two weeks after the photograph was taken when she learned another worker injured her hand performing the same job and was worried she'd lose the ability to play the cello.

The image featuring Doyle flexing her bicep beneath a rolled-up shirt sleeve helped to prompt women in the US to take positions in manufacturing and replace male workers serving in the military.

It wasn't 1982 that Geraldine realised she was the inspiration for the Rosie character, an icon of the feminist movement in the US, until she spotted a reproduction of the poster and said "Look! That's me!" said her daughter.

While Geraldine recognised her red and white polka dot bandana, the strong arm held up in a fist wasn't hers. "That was the artists pumping up the muscles, she was 5-10, very slender. She always liked to be glamorous. She really did live the 'We Can Do It!' idea, She had a real go get 'em attitude." Geraldine's daughter.

Geraldine was quick to correct people who thought she was the original Rosie the Riveter. Another Michigan woman, Rose Will Monroe, was the best-known "Rosie" after being featured in a wartime promotional film about female factory workers. Geraldine never wanted to take anything away from all the Rosie the Riveters who were doing the riveting. 

Geraldine Doyle  -  1942


Rose
Will Monroe, was born in Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1920 and moved to Michigan during World War II. She worked as a riveter at the Willow Run Aircraft Factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan, building B-29 and B-24 bombers.  Monroe was asked to star in a promotional film "The Story of Willow Run" about the war effort at home, and was featured in a poster campaign.

Rosie the Riveter appears to have come first in song, not in art. In 1942, a song titled “Rosie the Riveter” was written by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb and was issued by Paramount Music Corporation of New York. The song was released in early 1943 and was played on the radio and broadcast nationally. It was also performed by various artists with popular band leaders of that day. The song became quite popular, particularly one version recorded by the Four Vagabonds, an African-American group — a version that caught on and rose on the Hit Parade. It seems likely that Saturday Evening Post artist Norman Rockwell heard this song, and possibly was influenced by it, especially since he wrote the name “Rosie” on the lunch box in his painting.   

Norman Rockwell’s ‘Rosie The Riveter’ cover for the May 29, 1943 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, was the first visual image to incorporate the ‘Rosie’ name.
 image from http://www.pophistorydig.com/?p=877

Nearly all media persons use the "WE CAN DO IT" poster for Rosie the Riviter".

See the: WWII Page