• Beth Kilgo

Real Rosie the Riveter dies at 96

Naomi Parker Fraley, 96, died Jan. 21 2018, in Longview, Wash., after her battle with cancer. For more than 70 years, she went unrecognized as the model for Rosie the Riveter.

“I didn’t want fame or fortune,” Mrs. Fraley told People magazine in 2016. She just wanted people to know it was her, not the other women who claimed to be the inspiration.

Dr. James Kimble, who became interested in finding the real inspiration for the image after another woman claimed to be Rosie in 2010, found Fraley after a six-year search.

Fraley was born in Tulsa, Okla., and worked at the Naval Air Station in Alameda after the attack on Pearl Harbor. There, according to Fox News, “A photographer happened to be going through and taking pictures and he glommed on to her,” her daughter-in-law Marnie Blankenship told KATU.

The picture of Parker Fraley above was widely published in 1942, and it is believed that J. Howard Miller used that picture as inspiration; since there was rarely any caption saying what factory the picture was taken in, nor Parker Fraley’s name attached to the image, this opened the door for women to step in and falsely claim to be “Rosie.”

The famous poster “was never supposed to see the light of day,” according to Fox News; however, “a copy of it came to light in the early 1980’s.” Soon, it became a symbol for feminism and the female depicted in the image became known as Rosie the Riveter.

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