We can do it!
December 31, 2010 5:31 AM   Subscribe

Time for a break, Rosie. All the day long, Whether rain or shine She’s part of the assembly line. She’s making history, Working for victory Rosie the Riveter

Unknowingly leaving a legacy that goes beyond the iconic image of her with her sleeves rolled up. Geraldine Hoff Doyle passed away in Lansing Michigan on December 26, 2010, at the age of 86.

Widowed with two children, Geraldine came from Kentucky to Michigan during World War II and began work at the Willow Run Aircraft factory, she was only on the job for two weeks when fear of a hand injury, which would prevent her from playing the cello, led her to quit.

Geraldine was 17 years old when the photo of her was taken that was later used in creating the poster that inspired countless women to roll their own sleeves up and assist in the war effort. The photo was taken by a wire service photographer and was converted into a war poster by graphic artist J. Howard Miller.

It wasn't until 1984 that Geraldine became aware of the fact that she was the model for that poster. Since then, a memorial and a girls program have been named after Rosie. (the Memorial has it's own archive of submitted photos of women working during the War!)

Another victim of Michigan's failing economy, the Willow Run Plant which played a huge part in both Michigan's manufacturing business and the war effort (Walter Reuther had stated, "Like England's battles were won on the playing fields of Eton, America's were won on the assembly lines of Detroit."), was closed for good three days before Geraldine died.
posted by HuronBob (16 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Damn fine post!
posted by nomadicink at 5:34 AM on December 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've never felt as close to Boeing, as I do now.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 5:45 AM on December 31, 2010

She had never noticed the poster before, she said, because she was too busy living her life.

Now that's most admirable of all.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 6:35 AM on December 31, 2010

Her life story was riveting.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:35 AM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Like England's battles were won on the playing fields of Eton.

Where heroes like Philby, Burgess, McLean and Blunt learned all they needed to know about good sportsmanship and sodomy.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:06 AM on December 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

What a great story. My Grandmother Rose is my own role model as she truly was a Rosie riveting during WWII in Kansas City, Missouri.
posted by haunted by Leonard Cohen at 7:49 AM on December 31, 2010

I wish I could see the rest of the machine she's operating. It looks like a large manual mill.
posted by TrialByMedia at 8:39 AM on December 31, 2010

So I am curious, as an Ypsi kid: she is said (first link, and other articles/tweets) to have worked at an Ann Arbor factory during WWII, but I imagine that it was the WR factory (with higher probability) as that is where a huge chunk of work was done. However, along the southern part of State Rd. in A2 (Pittsfield Twp.) there are some rather large industrial sites where she could have worked...

Thus the question: did she work in A2 or in WR? There's a significant geographic distance (and US-23, a major interstate) between the two.

Other than the historical clarification:

posted by JoeXIII007 at 9:01 AM on December 31, 2010

posted by Faint of Butt at 10:30 AM on December 31, 2010

Thank you, Mrs. Doyle. For your whole life, including the part of it we strangers got to see.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:34 AM on December 31, 2010

Whats interesting is that the poster was about women rolling up their sleeves and working hard on the war effort, she actually quit after a couple weeks because she was worried about injuring her hands, and instead went to work at a bookstore.
posted by delmoi at 11:38 AM on December 31, 2010

A personal hero.
posted by Scientist at 11:47 AM on December 31, 2010

Joe - according to the NPR Story here they claim it was the factory near Ann Arbor as well. It's interesting to note she only worked at the plant for 2 weeks as she was afraid of damaging her hands. She played cello.
posted by Nauip at 1:48 PM on December 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks Nauip, and forgot to thank HuronBob for linking to that flickr set from inside the plant. Was part of a HS Robotics team for 4 years out there, and they never really took us for a tour of the renovated part of it, unless it was a day I was not there and at work/school.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 1:57 PM on December 31, 2010

posted by psylosyren at 4:48 PM on December 31, 2010

Joe... was that a WR HS team?

And, I think that most folks who don't live in the area consider Ypsi as part of Ann Arbor... I've drawn the conclusion that she worked at the WR Bomber plant....
posted by HuronBob at 7:40 PM on December 31, 2010

« Older The Gold standard   |   "He might have read the document when he was tired... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments