Rosie's gone, but her legacy lives on
July 8, 2009 6:19 AM   Subscribe

Rosalie Kunert, the inspiration behind the iconic Rosie the Riveter, passed away June 28 at the age of 86. Rosie's can-do spirit was captured in an ad campaign by J. Walter Thompson and sponsored by the Office of War Information and War Manpower Commission, designed to inspire other women to join the workforce during WWII. It worked - to the tune of two million new women on the job.

You've seen the "We Can Do It" Rosie poster, and even the action figure, but you may not have seen Norman Rockwell's Rosie, backed by the stars and stripes, with a steel lunchbox and her foot resting on Mein Kampf.

To continue inspiring girls in non-traditional careers, Rosie's Girl's is a three-week summer program that teaches middle-school girls about welding, carpentry, and most of all, self-confidence. Rosie's Girls started by Vermont Works for Women, but has spread to California, South Carolina, and Cincinnati, thanks to Hard-Hatted Women and other trade industry supporters.
posted by tizzie (16 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
posted by DU at 6:22 AM on July 8, 2009

D'oh. That's not previously.
posted by DU at 6:25 AM on July 8, 2009

All the day long, whether rain or shine
She's a part of the assembly line
She's making history, working for victory
Rosie (brrrrrrrrrrr) the Riveter

I will now have this song stuck in my head all day, but I will consider it a tribute.

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posted by Spatch at 6:26 AM on July 8, 2009


R.I.P., Rosie (brrrrr) the Riveter.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:26 AM on July 8, 2009

Well, gosh. What're the odds of that.

posted by duende at 6:34 AM on July 8, 2009


Apparently, it's riveting day on the Blue
posted by kcds at 6:35 AM on July 8, 2009

posted by kathrineg at 6:37 AM on July 8, 2009

posted by teferi at 6:55 AM on July 8, 2009

I strongly recommend the documentary The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter, an excellent examination of the effect of pooling the female workforce in WWII. Riveting indeed!
posted by Acey at 7:00 AM on July 8, 2009

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posted by zarq at 7:11 AM on July 8, 2009


An inspiration everywhere for little girls who liked power tools more than they liked Barbie Dolls. Way to go, Rosie.
posted by jeanmari at 7:53 AM on July 8, 2009

Not to take anything away from Ms. Kunert, but Wikipedia thinks the original Rosie the Riveter was Rose Will Monroe, of Pulaski County, KY.
posted by aught at 7:55 AM on July 8, 2009

I never knew Rosie the Riveter was based on an actual person. I'd seen Norman Rockwell's Rosie (it was a jigsaw puzzle we did last summer). Her proportions are weird and Mein Kampf is a little over the top, but I do like the sassy red socks. Rockwell also did a Rosie to the Rescue cover.

There's a weird Leave It to Beaver gap between Rosie the Riveter and the feminist movement in the early 1960s. The whole phenomenon (including "Wendy the Welder") is evidence that women's contribution to the war effort was appreciated, but when the war ended it was "OK, ladies, back to the kitchen!"

A young Marilyn Monroe was a Rosie the Riveter. The many faces of Rosie the Riveter is a collection of Life magazine photos.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:19 AM on July 8, 2009

The Rosie the Riveter National Park is about 20 minutes away from me in Richmond. A bunch of info on the park with some pics of the Kaiser shipyards is on this site (scroll below Obama's speech). I've been, it's a really nice park with lots of info incorporated into the memorial and onto the site itself.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:43 AM on July 8, 2009

I hadn't seen the Rockwell painting before. I love it.

Thanks for that, tizzie.
posted by spitefulcrow at 2:52 PM on July 8, 2009

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