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Rosie the Riveter is a legendary cultural icon representing American women in the workplace. Initially, she personified women who worked in factories during World War II, filling the roles of male workers who had left to serve in the war overseas. However, today Rosie's status as an icon has grown to serve as a symbol for all American women, including feminism and female empowerment.
During World War II, women were expected to become a key resource for the military by creating munitions and supplies for the American war effort. According to Rosie and the U.S. government, it was their patriotic duty to enter the workforce.
First popularized in early 1943 by a hit song of the same name, the idea of Rosie the Riverter quickly caught on with the American public. Famed illustrator Norman Rockwell contributed to her surge in popularity when his depiction of Rosie graced the Saturday Evening Post cover on Memorial Day, May 29, 1943. The cover image was so popular the magazine loaned it to the U.S. Treasury Department for the duration of the war. Rockwell's version of Rosie was the predominant image of that era.
However, it was another iconic illustration from the period that would leave an indelible mark on U.S. history. In 1942, artist J. Howard Miller was chosen by the Westinghouse Company's War Production Coordinating Committee to create a series of posters for the war efforts. Originally, his "We Can Do It" poster was intended for private use only in an attempt to boost morale at Westinghouse factories. It was only shown to a few employees and had no association with Rosie the Riveter. Nearly four decades later, the rediscovered poster became famous and synonymous with Rosie and women's empowerment, although that had not been its original intent.
Item No. HIS-R7005218-1-RTR-BOB