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Unsung for seven decades, the real Rosie the Riveter was a California waitress named Naomi Parker Fraley. Kimble, the quest for Rosie, which began in earnest in 2010, “became an obsession,” as he explained in an interview for this obituary in 2016. Fraley, who had worked in a Navy machine shop during World War II.

Over the years, a welter of American women have been identified as the model for Rosie, the war worker of 1940s popular culture who became a feminist touchstone in the late 20th century. Fraley, who died on Saturday, at 96, in Longview, Wash., staked the most legitimate claim of all. It also ruled out the best-known incumbent, Geraldine Hoff Doyle, a Michigan woman whose innocent assertion that she was Rosie was long accepted. Doyle’s death in 2010, her claim was promulgated further through obituaries, including one in The New York Times. Kimble, an associate professor of communication and the arts at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, reported his findings in “Rosie’s Secret Identity,” a 2016 article in the journal Rhetoric & Public Affairs. Fraley’s door at long last.“The women of this country these days need some icons,” Mrs. “If they think I’m one, I’m happy.”The confusion over Rosie’s identity stems partly from the fact that the name Rosie the Riveter has been applied to more than one cultural artifact.

Howard Miller, it depicts a young woman, clad in a work shirt and polka-dot bandanna. ”(In 2017, The New Yorker published an updated Rosie, by Abigail Gray Swartz, on its cover of Feb. It depicted a brown-skinned woman, sporting a pink knitted cap like those worn in recent women’s marches, striking a similar pose.)Mr.

Miller’s poster was never meant for public display.

But because her claim was eclipsed by another woman’s, she went unrecognized for more than 70 years.“I didn’t want fame or fortune,” Mrs. The first was a wartime song of that name, by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb.

Fraley told People magazine in 2016, when her connection to Rosie first became public. It told of a munitions worker who “keeps a sharp lookout for sabotage / Sitting up there on the fuselage.” Recorded by the bandleader Kay Kyser and others, it became a hit.

The image piqued the attention of women who had done wartime work.

It was published widely in the spring and summer of 1942, though rarely with a caption identifying the woman or the factory. Doyle saw a reprint of that photo in Modern Maturity magazine. Ten years later, she came across the Miller poster, featured on the March 1994 cover of Smithsonian magazine. Doyle’s claim per se that he found suspect: As he emphasized in the Times interview, she had made it in good faith.That image, she thought, resembled the woman at the lathe — and therefore resembled her. There the matter would very likely have rested, had it not been for Dr. What nettled him was the news media’s unquestioning reiteration of that claim.By the end of the 1990s, the news media was identifying Mrs. He embarked on a six-year odyssey to identify the woman at the lathe, and to determine whether that image had influenced Mr. In the end, his detective work disclosed that the lathe worker was Naomi Parker Fraley. Parker’s work took him, living in New York, Missouri, Texas, Washington, Utah and California, where they settled in Alameda, near San Francisco.“But I did want my own identity.”The search for the real Rosie is the story of one scholar’s six-year intellectual treasure hunt. The “Rosie” behind that song is well known: Rosalind P.It is also the story of the construction — and deconstruction — of an American legend.“It turns out that almost everything we think about Rosie the Riveter is wrong,” that scholar, James J. Walter, a Long Island woman who was a riveter on Corsair fighter planes and is now a philanthropist, most notably a benefactor of public television.

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Another Rosie sprang from Norman Rockwell, whose Saturday Evening Post cover of May 29, 1943, depicts a muscular woman in overalls (the name Rosie can be seen on her lunchbox), with a rivet gun on her lap and “Mein Kampf” crushed gleefully underfoot.

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