Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles from the Library of Congress in Washington, D. C. Rosie the Riveter is the female icon of World War Two. She is the home front equivalent of G I. Joe. She represents any woman defense worker, and for many women, she's an example of a strong competent for mother. Many of us have an image in our minds when we hear Rosie the Riveter, don't you? The woman in the bandanna rolling up the sleeve on a raise bent arm. The artist Norman Rockwell is closely associated with Rosie, but how many of you have heard of J. Howard Miller yet? It was Miller who created this image. I found something unexpected when I turned to Norman Rockwell's Rosie. It appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on May 29th 1943 the Memorial Day issue. This was not the tidy image in my mind. This Rosie is brawny and larger than life. In my surprise that the two images I decided to look into the development of the myth of Rosie the Riveter. The chronology isn't always clear, but it seems that about 1942 an artist a Westinghouse named J. Howard Miller created we can do. It probably is part of his company's war work. The federal government encouraged industries to try to get more people to Goto work We can do It initially had no connection with someone named Rosie. The next step in the rosy myth was apparently the song Rosie the Riveter by Red Evans and John Jacob Lobe, released in early 1943. Some of the lyrics go all the day long weather, rain or shine. She's a part of the assembly line. She's making history. Working for victory. Rosie the Riveter keeps a sharp lookout for sabotage. Sitting up there on the fuselage, that little girl will do more than a male will. D'oh! And skipping to the end. There's something true about Red, white and blue about Rosie the Riveter. So you have this song appearing in early 1943. Then a few months later, on May 29th you get the Rockwell cover. It seems likely that Rockwell had heard the song since he wrote the name Rosie on the lunch box in his picture. This was a big boost to the rosy story in the 19 forties. The circulation of the Saturday evening post was about four million, and when a Rockwell drawing was going to be on the cover, they published extra issues. He was the most popular illustrator in the country. Two weeks after his cover appeared on news stands, the press picked up the story of a woman named Rose Hickey. She and her partner drove a record number of rivets into the wing of a TBM Avenger at a Tarrytown, New York, plant. Other women named Rose gained media attention. Before the end of the war, Rose Monroe, a Riveter in Michigan, made a film about selling war bonds and then a commercial movie called Rosie the Riveter. Civil Lewis, an African American riveter for Lockheed aircraft in Los Angeles, gives this description of riveting. The women worked in pairs. I was the Riveter, and this big, strong white girl from a cotton farm in Arkansas worked as the bunker. The river used a gun to shoot, rivets through the metal and fasten it together. The bugger used a bucking bar on the other side of the metal to smooth out the rivets. Bucking was harder than shooting rivets. It required more muscle, riveting, required more skill. While the Rockwell image was widely disseminated during the war. Later, copyright restrictions meant it was less frequently reproduced. The Miller image was without such restraints and appears everywhere. Mugs, magnets, T shirts and mouse pads. I'd like to take a close look at the Rockwell illustration. This is a good picture to read. I was first struck by the fact that she is big and dirty. She's oversized with working class Braun. She wears goggles and a shield. In reality, it's unlikely that she would have warned both. The leather armband provides protection on the job. She has no wedding ring on her lapel. You can see various pins for blood donation, victory, her security badge. She's wearing overalls. Women didn't wear pants in public much before World War two, but during the war it became common to see women on the way to and from work in overalls or trousers. She's wearing loafers. Only after July 1943 were safety shoes with metal toes produced for women. There had been no need to manufacture these shoes in women's sizes before, because women didn't customarily work in dangerous jobs where such shoes were needed. Most women were their own shoes, she cradles a very large, riveting gun in her lap, and it links visually Adolf Hitler's book Mine Cuff beneath her feet. The implication is clear. Through her defense job, she will help to crush Hitler. The American flag background red, white and blue adds to the patriotism off the cover. Rosie is powerful, competent and womanly, but there are contradictions in the image. She's masculine. Look at the size of her arms, which are really focus of the cover. She's working with a very large and heavy riveting gun. She's dirty. She's doing a man's job. She's wearing overalls. Men's clothes. Yet she's feminine. She's wearing rouge and lipstick makeup. It's essential to women's mental health, according to some articles of the time. Her compact and handkerchief peek out of her pocket. She has nail polish on her curly red hair and upturned nose. Femine izer. Her visor almost looks like a halo, providing an angelic side to this strong woman. She is depicted eating like these real women and activity linked with the home and does showing her domestic side women food home. She isn't seen working. When the image appeared that 1943 Memorial Day, some viewers recognized a model for Rosie. Look at this, Michelangelo's prophet Isaiah. From the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the resemblance is remarkable. I like the way he put her ham sandwich in his hand. Today. Few people catch the Michelangelo connection, but the images of Rosie continued to be very common. In recent years, scholars have shown interest in more than the myth. They wondered who were the real women we lumped together Under this easy phrase, aural historians have tracked down some of the World War two women defense workers and recorded their tails. One collection is 45 volumes long. When I went looking, I found plenty of facts about these women. The big changes that brought them into war work began in 1942 men. We're going to war and industries were switching to war production when in need, Industries decided they were willing to hire women. After all, they wouldn't get drafted. At first, there was lots of reluctance on parts of managers, husbands, male workers and many women, too. Where did the women workers come from? It seems they came from three main groups. First, women already working changed to the higher paying patriotic defense jobs. So many women left laundries in 1942 that 600 closed. The second group included women who had worked but lost their jobs during the Depression or when their factories converted from civilian toe war work. And the third group, which attracted the most attention, was first time workers. About six million women entered the workforce for the first time. Many of these were married white, middle class women who had to be encouraged to go out toe work. Working outside the home was a new idea for them to motivate them. Between 1942 in 1944 there was what's been called an intense courtship of women by employers and government. The U. S. Office of War Information produced a magazine, War Guide, which gave publishers of magazines, ideas, information and slogans for their publications. This was a government led effort to recruit women workers to get women out of the home. Magazines were to write articles that appealed to the desire for glamour and good pay, but even more to patriotism women, you could hasten victory by working and save your man. Rosie's appearance on the Memorial Day cover of the Saturday Evening Post implied that her work might help save soldiers. Lives for September 1943 the magazine war guide recommended that all magazines participate in a women at work covered promotion. This was to emphasize that many kinds of employment, not just defense and factory work, were war jobs. The guide gave examples such as women, grocery clerks, elevator operators, telephone operators, farmers, ticket agents and many others, saying that if women didn't do them quote, our civilian life would break down. These were necessary civilian jobs, and women were to be urged to take them. The slogan for this promotion was, the more women at work, the sooner we win. For its part in this campaign, the Saturday Evening Post turned again to Norman Rockwell. Rockwell showed a Liberty girl with the tools of a great many civilian jobs. This woman in patriotic clothes is a nurse, a farmer, a conductor, a mechanic, a telephone operator and many other things. Most people aren't familiar with this image, which appeared only three months after Rosie. It just hasn't resonated the same way. There is still much debate on the long term effects of women's war work on the position of women after the war did their working. So the seeds of the second wave of feminism maybe. But Betty for Dan's feminine mystique isn't published till 1963. Did women return to their homes and families and become 19 fifties TV mothers like June Cleaver on Leave It to Beaver Know the number of working women never again fell to pre war levels. The recognition that middle class married women could work and run a home was significant, of course, poor women had always done so. The women themselves tell us some of the effects. My mother warned me when I took the job that I would never be the same, she said. You will never want to go back to being a housewife At that time, I didn't think it would change a thing. But she was right. It definitely did. At Boeing, I found a freedom and independence that I had never known. After the war, I could never go back to playing bridge again. Being a club woman when I knew there were things you could use your mind for, the war changed my life completely. I guess you could say at 31 I finally grew up minus our Boeing tool clerk. You came out to California, put on your pants and took your lunch pail to a man's job. This was the beginning of women's feeling that they could do something more simple. Louis Lockheed Riveter. You, too, can do something more rosy. Story continues, and you can contribute to it. If you know a Rosie the Riveter, a woman war worker, you can interview her for the Library of Congress through the Veterans History Project in the American Folklife Center. The library is gathering aural histories and other personal narratives and documents of those involved in America's wars, both in the military and on the home front. See the Veterans History website to listen to their stories and to learn how to collect their oral histories. You will help ensure that we never forget the real Rosie's who contributed to our victory in the Second World War. This has been a presentation of the Library of Congress.