Saturday, August 24, 2013

Remembering Geraldine Hoff Doyle "Rosie the Riveter" July 31, 1924 - December 26, 2010

Something that brings a great deal of pride to our family is the fact that my late mother in law, Gloria Dallau, was a "Rosie the Riveter" during World War II.  After high school, she was employed at the Fisher Body Bomber manufacturing plant in Cleveland, Ohio and her job was working on B-29 Aircraft.  During the war, there were thousands of women just like her who were extremely important in the outcome of the United States success in winning the war.

A woman by the name of Geraldine Hoff Doyle is believed to be the real life model for the World War II era poster "We Can Do It" that represented the embodiment of the iconic World War II character "Rosie the Riveter."

Geraldine was born in Inkster, Michigan.  Her dad died at an early age and her mother
Geraldine Doyle as Rosie the Riveter
a composer.  Following Geraldine's graduation from Ann Arbor Michigan High School, she worked as a metal presser in the American Broach & Machine Company in Ann Arbor.  During World War II, the men went off to war and women replaced them on the manufacturing assembly lines.  Geraldine was an accomplished cello player and was concerned that her job would effect her hands and decided to stick to music and give up her job in the factory.  However, one day while she was still working in the plant, a United Press International photographer took her picture.  A graphic artist by the name of J. Howard Miller saw the photograph and decided to work on the image for Westinghouse Company's War Production Coordinating Committee and it continues to be the famous image of Rosie the Riveter that continues to represent her as seen today.

The Rosie the Riveter poster, "We Can Do It" didn't become widely known until the 1980's because earlier it was used for internal Westinghouse project use.  Doyle, herself, didn't know she appeared on the poster until 1984 when she came across an article in "Modern Maturity" magazine.  The original photograph was used by Time-Life books for a publication called "The Patriotic Tide: 1940-1950 that was printed in 1986.  Geraldine's image appeared with her red and white bandana covering her hair and the sleeves of her uniform rolled up showing her bulgy biceps that represented the strength  of the American woman.

The Rosie the Riveter character based on Doyle and other World War II women who worked in factories to support the war effort remains an icon and appeared on a 1999 postage stamp by the US Postal Service.

Geraldine Doyle funeral program
Geraldine Hoff Doyle died on December 26, 2010 in Lansing, Michigan from complications of arthritis.  She was 86 years of age.

A memorial service was held at 4pm on January 8, 2011 at the Tiffany Funeral Home in Lansing, Michigan (funeral program pictured).

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