Rosie the Riveter
You probably already know that Rosie the Riveter was not a real woman, but a symbol of the many woman who went to work to support the war effort. A real woman was found to be the model for the Rosie who led the campaign to bring women to the workforce, she was Naomi Parker Fraley. But the protagonist of my song is a hybrid woman I made up after reading many interviews with women who worked during that time. Two of the women who inspired me were:
Phyllis McKey Gould, a welder in Richmond, California who said "You moved the welding rod in tiny, circular motions, making half-crescents. If you did it right, it was beautiful. It was like embroidery.”;
Inez Sauer, who worked as a Boeing tool clerk, who said “My mother warned me when I took the job that I would never be the same. She said, ‘You will never want to go back to being a housewife.’
I read about them and other women here: http://www.pophistorydig.com/topics/rosie-the-riveter-1941-1945/
More quotes from Inez Sauer as well as from Sybil Lewis, a fascinating riveter who spoke about being an African-American worker encountering segregation on the job in California, are here:
When I was in Berkeley for a show in June 2018 I visited the Rosie the Riveter Historical Park in Richmond, which has a wonderful and extensive exhibit. It's definitely worth visiting if you're in the Bay Area.