‘Rosie the Riveter': Identity Revealed as Naomi Parker Fraley
Rosie the Riveter, the feminist symbol of the late 20th century, was modeled after war worker Naomi Parker Fraley, who died in January 2018.
The New York Times published an obituary for Fraley, who died at the age of 96, in Longview, Washington.
Naomi Parker Fraley, better known as the inspiration behind the iconic #RosieTheRiveter poster, recently passed away at the age of 96. Rosie inspired thousands of women who worked in factories and shipyards during #WWII and continues to inspire us all! pic.twitter.com/3DWbqxT2Ro— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) January 24, 2018
“I didn’t want fame or fortune. But I did want my own identity.”
Before Fraley came to be identified as the real Rosie the Riveter, thanks to the six-year scholarly research by Dr. James J. Kimble, the media has credited another woman as the inspiration behind the famous poster.
In honor of International Women’s Day we celebrate all of the strong and courageous women today and everyday. Remembering Naomi Parker Fraley, the inspiration behind the iconic feminist Rosie the Riveter. Naomi was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921! pic.twitter.com/YSP9EQY2G1— OKPOP (@OKPOPTulsa) March 8, 2018
Geraldine Hoff Doyle, from Michigan, had claimed – albeit in good faith – that she was Rosie and the media accepted it without much investigation.
When Doyle died in 2010, obituaries honored her as the woman behind the influential image.
A year after Doyle’s death, Fraley came across a photo of a woman at the lathe during a reunion of female war workers at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California.
#NaomiParkerFraley, the real inspiration for #RosietheRiveter, has died at the age of 96. Another woman, Geraldine Hoff Doyle, had claimed to be the inspiration after misidentifying a photo of a woman she thought resembled her, but the real identity was discovered in 2016. pic.twitter.com/abFnTtH5Ob— HOTCHKA (@Hotchka) January 24, 2018
The woman was identified in the caption as Geraldine Doyle.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Fraley said in a 2016 interview. “I knew it was actually me in the photo.”
She wrote to the National Park Service, which responded by asking for her help in determining “the true identity of the woman in the photograph.”
Rest in Peace Naomi Parker Fraley aka Rosie The Riveter.— 𝐡(𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐞)𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐞𝐧🎃 (@elleIouise) February 3, 2018
The face of the "we can do it" morale campaign which was used after the attack on Pearl Harbour to encourage the women she worked with to work "harder". she passed away 20/01/2018 aged 96. pic.twitter.com/s1KJGxcHhI
THE ORIGINAL PHOTO
Dr. Kimble went on a six-year investigation to identify the woman at the lathe. He stumbled upon a copy of the photo from a vintage-photo dealer, and it had the photographer’s original caption.
Dated March 24, 1942, the photo bore the caption: “Pretty Naomi Parker looks like she might catch her nose in the turret lathe she is operating.”
This week we lost two Deviant Women, the real Rosie the Riveter, Naomi Parker Fraley, and pioneering feminist sci-fi and fantasy author, Ursula K. Le Guin. Vale Naomi and Ursula, and thank you! pic.twitter.com/SVEppSx0cg— Deviant Women (@DeviantWomen) January 24, 2018
In 2016, Fraley’s connection to Rosie became public. She said in an interview, “I didn’t want fame or fortune. But I did want my own identity.”
Fraley was survived by her son on, Joseph Blankenship; four stepsons, Ernest, Daniel, John, and Michael Fraley; two stepdaughters, Patricia Hood and Ann Fraley; two sisters, Mrs. Loy and Althea Hill; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and many step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren.