'Rosie the Riveter' Dies at 96

January 23, 2018

The woman who was credited as the inspiration for the Rosie the Riveter poster during World War II passed away last Saturday, according to CNN and her daughter-in-law Marnie Blankeship.

Naomi Parker Fraley worked at a factory at Alameda Naval Station during the war, one of thousands of women who put down their dish towels and picked up power tools to do the necessary jobs left behind when men left for the war. Click here for the video interview with Naomi's son Joe Blankenship.

While working there, a press photographer asked to take her picture, which later was translated by artist J. Howard Miller to the "We Can Do It!" poster as part of the Westinghouse Co.'s War Production Coordinating Committee series of inspirational posters for the war effort. The poster originally was only displayed to Westinghouse employees in the Midwest during a two-week period in February 1943 and was brought to mass media attention again in the 1980s.

 The original photograph of Fraley, left, shows her riveting in heels.

More than 310,000 women worked in the U.S. aircraft industry in 1943, making up 65 percent of the industry’s total workforce compared to just 1 percent in the pre-war years. However, the women rarely earned more that 50 percent of what their absent male counterparts made for doing the same job.

For more about Rosie, click on the History Channel's Rosie the Riveter page.