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“We Can Do It!” is an American wartime propaganda poster produced by J. Howard Miller in 1943 for Westinghouse Electric as an inspirational image to boost worker morale. The poster is generally thought to be based on a black-and-white wire service photograph taken of a Michigan factory worker named Geraldine Hoff.

J. Howard Miller’s “We Can Do It!” poster from 1943

J. Howard Miller’s “We Can Do It!” poster from 1943

The poster was seen very little during World War II. It was rediscovered in the early 1980s and widely reproduced in many forms, often called “We Can Do It!” but also called “Rosie the Riveter” after the iconic figure of a strong female war production worker. The “We Can Do It!” image was used to promote feminism and other political issues beginning in the 1980s. The image made the cover of the Smithsonian magazine in 1994 and was fashioned into a US first-class mail stamp in 1999. It was incorporated in 2008 into campaign materials for several American politicians, and was reworked by an artist in 2010 to celebrate the first woman becoming prime minister of Australia. The poster is one of the ten most-requested images at the National Archives and Records Administration.

Another poster by J. Howard Miller from the same series as “We Can Do It!”

Another poster by J. Howard Miller from the same series as “We Can Do It!”

Miller is believed by many to have based the “We Can Do It!” poster on a monochrome United Press International (UPI) photograph taken of Ann Arbor, Michigan, factory worker Geraldine Hoff in early 1942 when she was 17. The photograph of Hoff shows her wearing a polka-dotted bandana on her head, standing up and leaning over a metal-stamping machine, and operating it with her hands at thigh level firmly on the controls. Hoff left her factory job soon after the publicity photograph was taken; she heard that the metal-stamping machine had injured the hand of the previous operator, and she did not want to ruin her ability to play the cello. She obtained a new job as a timekeeper for another factory.

If Miller was inspired by the UPI photograph at all, he freely re-interpreted it to create the poster, putting Hoff’s right hand up in a clenched fist, her left hand rolling up the right sleeve. Miller turned Hoff’s head to face the viewer, and made her more muscular. He also put a Westinghouse employee identification badge on her collar. Hoff knew nothing of this; she was unaware that Miller was making a poster. She married in 1943 to become Geraldine Doyle.

In 1942, Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller was hired by the Westinghouse Company’s War Production Coordinating Committee to create a series of posters for the war effort. One of these posters became the famous “We Can Do It!” image—an image that in later years would also be called “Rosie the Riveter”, though it was never given this title during the war. Miller is thought to have based his “We Can Do It!” poster on a United Press International wire service photograph taken of Ann Arbor, Michigan, factory worker Geraldine Hoff (later Doyle), who was 17 and briefly working as a metal-stamping machine operator. The intent of the poster was to keep production up by boosting morale, not to recruit more women workers. It was shown only to Westinghouse employees in the Midwest during a two-week period in February 1943, then it disappeared for nearly four decades. During the war, the name “Rosie” was not associated with the image, and it was not about women’s empowerment. It was only later, in the early 1980s, that the Miller poster was rediscovered and became famous, associated with feminism, and often mistakenly called “Rosie The Riveter”.

Norman Rockwell’s image of “Rosie the Riveter” received mass distribution on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on Memorial Day, May 29, 1943. Rockwell’s illustration features a brawny woman taking her lunch break with a rivet gun on her lap and beneath her Penny loafer a copy of Hitler’s manifesto, Mein Kampf. Her lunch pail reads “Rosie”; viewers quickly recognized this to be “Rosie the Riveter” from the familiar song. Rockwell, America’s best-known popular illustrator of the day, posed his model to match the Sistine Chapel ceiling image of the prophet Isaiah, painted by Michelangelo in 1509. Rockwell’s model was a Vermont resident, 19-year-old Mary Doyle who was a telephone operator near where Rockwell lived, not a riveter.

Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military. Rosie the Riveter is commonly used as a symbol of feminism and women’s economic power.

The term “Rosie the Riveter” was first used in 1942 in a song of the same name written by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb. The song was recorded by numerous artists, including the popular big band leader Kay Kyser, and it became a national hit. The song portrays “Rosie” as a tireless assembly line worker, doing her part to help the American war effort. The name is said to be a nickname for Rosie Bonavitas who was working for Convair in San Diego, California. The idea of Rosie resembled Veronica Foster, a real person who in 1941 was Canada’s poster girl for women in the war effort in “Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl.”

Although women took on male dominated trades during World War II, they were expected to return to their everyday housework once men returned from the war. Government campaigns targeting women were addressed solely at housewives, perhaps because already employed women would move to the higher-paid “essential” jobs on their own, perhaps because it was assumed that most would be housewives.

Cover of the published music to the 1942 song

Cover of the published music to the 1942 song

Propaganda was also directed at their husbands, many of whom were unwilling to support such jobs. Most women opted to do this. Later, many women returned to traditional work such as clerical or administration positions, despite their reluctance to re-enter the lower-paying fields. However, some of these women continued working in the factories.

The individual who was the inspiration for the song was Rosalind P. Walter, who “came from old money and worked on the night shift building the F4U Corsair fighter.” Later in life Walter was a philanthropist, a board member of the WNET public television station in New York and an early and long-time supporter of the Charlie Rose interview show.

Rosie the Riveter became most closely associated with another real woman, Rose Will Monroe, who 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 for the U.S. Army Air Forces. Monroe was asked to star in a promotional film about the war effort at home. The song “Rosie the Riveter” was popular at the time, and Monroe happened to best fit the description of the worker depicted in the song. “Rosie” went on to become perhaps the most widely recognized icon of that era. The films and posters she appeared in were used to encourage women to go to work in support of the war effort.

In 1982, Doyle saw the “We Can Do It!” poster reproduced in a magazine article, possibly “Poster Art for Patriotism’s Sake”, a Washington Post Magazine article about posters in the collection of the National Archives. Doyle immediately recognized it as an image of herself, though she had never seen it before.

A propaganda poster from 1942 encouraging unity between labor and management of GM

A propaganda poster from 1942 encouraging unity between labor and management of GM

In subsequent years, the poster was re-appropriated to promote feminism. Feminists saw in the image an embodiment of female empowerment. The “We” was understood to mean “We Women”, uniting all women in a sisterhood fighting against gender inequality. This was very different from the poster’s 1943 use to control employees and to discourage labor unrest.

Smithsonian magazine put the image on its cover in March 1994, to invite the viewer to read a featured article about wartime posters. The US Postal Service created a 33¢ stamp in February 1999 based on the image, with the added words “Women Support War Effort”. A Westinghouse poster from 1943 was put on display at the National Museum of American History, part of the exhibit showing items from the 1930s and ’40s.


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Gherman Titov

A Soviet cosmonaut who, on 6 August 1961, became the second human to orbit the Earth aboard Vostok 2, preceded by Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1.

Alan Shepard

An American naval aviator, test pilot, flag officer, NASA astronaut, who in 1961 became the second person, and the first American, to travel into space.

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Yuri Gagarin

The first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961.

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Valentina Tereshkova

The first woman to have flown in space, having been selected from more than four hundred applicants and five finalists to pilot Vostok 6.

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Framed & Collapsible

Gherman Titov

A Soviet cosmonaut who, on 6 August 1961, became the second human to orbit the Earth aboard Vostok 2, preceded by Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1.

Alan Shepard

An American naval aviator, test pilot, flag officer, NASA astronaut, who in 1961 became the second person, and the first American, to travel into space.

Jim Lovell

A former NASA astronaut and a retired captain in the United States Navy, most famous as the commander of the Apollo 13 mission.

Pavel Popovich

A Soviet cosmonaut who was the 4th cosmonaut in space, the 6th person in orbit, and the 8th person who have flown in space.


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[marker address="13/2 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne VIC 3000"]Envato (FlashDen Pty Ltd) 13/2 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 (03) 9023 0074 ‎ · envato.com[/marker]
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Rosie the Riveter

R

osie the Riveter is a cultural icon of the United States, representing the American women who worked in factories during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who were in the military. Rosie the Riveter is commonly used as a symbol of feminism and women’s economic power.

Cover of the published music to the 1942 song

Cover of the published music to the 1942 song

The term “Rosie the Riveter” was first used in 1942 in a song of the same name written by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb. The song was recorded by numerous artists, including the popular big band leader Kay Kyser, and it became a national hit. The song portrays “Rosie” as a tireless assembly line worker, doing her part to help the American war effort. The name is said to be a nickname for Rosie Bonavitas who was working for Convair in San Diego, California. The idea of Rosie resembled Veronica Foster, a real person who in 1941 was Canada’s poster girl for women in the war effort in “Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl.”

Although women took on male dominated trades during World War II, they were expected to return to their everyday housework once men returned from the war. Government campaigns targeting women were addressed solely at housewives, perhaps because already employed women would move to the higher-paid “essential” jobs on their own, perhaps because it was assumed that most would be housewives. One government advertisement asked women “Can you use an electric mixer? If so, you can learn to operate a drill.”:160 Propaganda was also directed at their husbands, many of whom were unwilling to support such jobs. Most women opted to do this. Later, many women returned to traditional work such as clerical or administration positions, despite their reluctance to re-enter the lower-paying fields. However, some of these women continued working in the factories.

T

he individual who was the inspiration for the song was Rosalind P. Walter, who “came from old money and worked on the night shift building the F4U Corsair fighter.” Later in life Walter was a philanthropist, a board member of the WNET public television station in New York and an early and long-time supporter of the Charlie Rose interview show.

A propaganda poster from 1942 encouraging unity between labor and management of GM

A propaganda poster from 1942 encouraging unity between labor and management of GM

Rosie the Riveter became most closely associated with another real woman, Rose Will Monroe, who 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 for the U.S. Army Air Forces. Monroe was asked to star in a promotional film about the war effort at home. The song “Rosie the Riveter” was popular at the time, and Monroe happened to best fit the description of the worker depicted in the song. “Rosie” went on to become perhaps the most widely recognized icon of that era. The films and posters she appeared in were used to encourage women to go to work in support of the war effort.

At the age of 50, Monroe realized her dream of flying when she obtained a pilot’s license. In 1978, she crashed in her small propeller plane when the engine stalled during takeoff. The accident resulted in the loss of one kidney and the sight in her left eye, and ended her flying career. She died from kidney failure on May 31, 1997, in Clarksville, Indiana, at the age of 77.

According to the Encyclopedia of American Economic History, “Rosie the Riveter” inspired a social movement that increased the number of working American women from 12 million to 20 million by 1944, a 57% increase from 1940. By 1944 only 1.7 million unmarried men between the ages of 20 and 34 worked in the defense industry, while 4.1 million unmarried women between those ages did so.


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Miller is believed by many to have based the “We Can Do It!” poster on a monochrome United Press International (UPI) photograph taken of Ann Arbor, Michigan, factory worker Geraldine Hoff in early 1942 when she was 17. The photograph of Hoff shows her wearing a polka-dotted bandana on her head, standing up and leaning over a metal-stamping machine, and operating it with her hands at thigh level firmly on the controls. Hoff left her factory job soon after the publicity photograph was taken; she heard that the metal-stamping machine had injured the hand of the previous operator, and she did not want to ruin her ability to play the cello. She obtained a new job as a timekeeper for another factory.

“We Can Do It!” is an American wartime propaganda poster produced by J. Howard Miller in 1943 for Westinghouse Electric as an inspirational image to boost worker morale. The poster is generally thought to be based on a black-and-white wire service photograph taken of a Michigan factory worker named Geraldine Hoff.

The poster was seen very little during World War II. It was rediscovered in the early 1980s and widely reproduced in many forms, often called “We Can Do It!” but also called “Rosie the Riveter” after the iconic figure of a strong female war production worker. The “We Can Do It!” image was used to promote feminism and other political issues beginning in the 1980s. The image made the cover of the Smithsonian magazine in 1994 and was fashioned into a US first-class mail stamp in 1999. It was incorporated in 2008 into campaign materials for several American politicians, and was reworked by an artist in 2010 to celebrate the first woman becoming prime minister of Australia. The poster is one of the ten most-requested images at the National Archives and Records Administration.

If Miller was inspired by the UPI photograph at all, he freely re-interpreted it to create the poster, putting Hoff’s right hand up in a clenched fist, her left hand rolling up the right sleeve. Miller turned Hoff’s head to face the viewer, and made her more muscular. He also put a Westinghouse employee identification badge on her collar. Hoff knew nothing of this; she was unaware that Miller was making a poster. She married in 1943 to become Geraldine Doyle.

The “We Can Do It!” poster was used by the Ad Council for its 70th anniversary celebration.

The “We Can Do It!” poster was used by the Ad Council for its 70th anniversary celebration.

In 1942, Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller was hired by the Westinghouse Company’s War Production Coordinating Committee to create a series of posters for the war effort. One of these posters became the famous “We Can Do It!” image—an image that in later years would also be called “Rosie the Riveter”, though it was never given this title during the war. Miller is thought to have based his “We Can Do It!” poster on a United Press International wire service photograph taken of Ann Arbor, Michigan, factory worker Geraldine Hoff (later Doyle), who was 17 and briefly working as a metal-stamping machine operator. The intent of the poster was to keep production up by boosting morale, not to recruit more women workers. It was shown only to Westinghouse employees in the Midwest during a two-week period in February 1943, then it disappeared for nearly four decades. During the war, the name “Rosie” was not associated with the image, and it was not about women’s empowerment.

.