Real-Life Rosie the Riveter Is Dead at 86

Geraldine Hoff Doyle's face became Rosie the Riveter's
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2010 12:08 PM CST
Geraldine Hoff Doyle inspired this poster during World War II.   (Wikimedia Commons)

(Newser) – Meet the real Rosie the Riveter. The woman who inspired the "We Can Do It!" poster during World War II that was embraced as a feminist symbol in the 1980s is dead at age 86, reports the New York Times. Geraldine Hoff Doyle was working in a Michigan factory in 1942 when a UPI photographer took her photo. The image became the inspiration for the subsequent poster—which Doyle didn't know until she recognized herself in a magazine in 1982.

Her daughter tells the Times that while the face is her mom's, the arms are a fiction. “She didn’t have big, muscular arms,” says Stephanie Gregg. “She was 5-foot-10 and very slender. She was a glamour girl. The arched eyebrows, the beautiful lips, the shape of the face—that’s her." In fact, Doyle quit the factory job after two weeks because she was afraid she'd damage her hands and be unable to play the cello.
(Read more obituary stories.)

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