The woman behind the iconic Rosie the Riveter poster, citing “We Can Do It!” has died at 86.
Geraldine Hoff Doyle was 17 years old when she was spotted in a Michigan metal factory wearing the now infamous red polka-dot bandanna. After being photographed by Union Press International that day, the photo was later used by the U.S. War Production Coordinating Committee to create the image we know today.
Daughter Stephanie Gregg says of her mother, “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.”
Gregg explains to The New York Times that though it was her mother’s face on the poster, the muscular arms were not hers.
Despite the popularity of the image, Doyle never noticed her famous face until spotting it in a “Modern Maturity” magazine in 1984 Gregg tells the Lansing State Journal, “She said, ‘This is me!'”
In 2002 Doyle was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Historical Center and Hall of Fame. Former director Gladys Beckwith says, “Rosie the Riveter is the image of an independent woman who is in control of her own destiny, [Doyle] was a gracious, beautiful woman. Her death is the passing of an era, ad we need to take note of that. We need to respect what she stood for.”
No doubt her image will live on in pop-culture for many years to come.