Geraldine Hoff Doyle, the real-life model for an iconic World War II ‘Rosie the Riveter’ poster, died in Lansing, Michigan on December 26, 2010 at the age of 86.
In 1942, the attractive 17-year-old teen found work as a metal presser in a Michigan factory. A photo taken by a wire service photographer was turned into a war poster by graphic artist J. Howard Miller, who keyed in on that photo to re-image Doyle’s likeness.
Ironically, the young woman only last two weeks as a day laborer before quitting because she feared a hand injury would prevent her from playing her cello. She subsequently met and married dentist Leo Doyle. Their union lasted 66 years. He died in early 2010.
The photo was used for an internal project at Westinghouse and wasn’t widely distributed until the 1980’s as a prop for women’s equality in the workplace.
Geraldine didn’t know anything about the poster until 1984 when she happened upon the original photograph in a 1940’s back issue of Modern Maturity magazine — known today as AARP The Magazine.
The iconic likeness appeared on a 1992 postage stamp as part of a World War II series produced for the U.S. Postal Service.
Doyle is survived by five children, 18 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
See the real ‘Rosie’ from a vintage photo below:
Photo: Modern Maturity