Rose Monroe “Rosie the Riveter” (1920-1997)
Rose Will Monroe, died at the age of 77 in Clarksville, Indiana. Rose Monroe became the real face behind the famous World War II poster girl when Hollywood actor Walter Pigeon discovered her in an aircraft parts factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Pigeon had gone to the factory to shoot a promotional film and found there was a riveter named Rose at the factory. The song “Rosie the Riveter,” inspired by a Long Island women named Rosalind Walter, had already been a hit and the “We Can Do It” poster had become the worldwide symbol of women working in the defense industry. So Rose Monroe became nationally known on screen as the real life “Rosie the Riveter.”
Rose Monroe was a widow with two children who, along with millions of other women, joined the workforce during the Second World War. Her daughter testifies to Rose’s toughness, “There were nine brothers and sisters, she was the one who was a tomboy who could use tools. She could do everything.” After the war, Rose carried on working; driving a cab, operating a beauty shop, and founding Rose builders, a construction company.
During the war, Rose had hoped to learn to fly and transport aircraft parts around the nation, but she was not permitted to fly because she was a single mother. However, in her 50’s Rose achieved her dream by earning a pilot’s license.
– information from New York limes 6/2/97
Copyright Off Our Backs, Inc. Oct 1997
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