30 May 1941

30 May 1941

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30 May 1941




German Ambassador to Iraq, Dr Fritz Grobba, flees Baghdad

With the Labor Unions – On the Picket Line

From Labor Action, Vol. 5 No. 21, 26 May 1941, p.ق.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Kind of Union Workers Want

The three-to-one vote of the workers at the Lackawanna plant of the Bethlehem Steel Co. and other victories of the CIO. demonstrate that the workers want to be represented by a union that will FIGHT for them. The workers want unions, but they want unions that do something more than just collect dues, initiation fees and pay death benefits. The workers want something while they are living: HIGHER WAGES, SHORTER HOURS and far better working conditions. Just to carry a union card in one’s pocket, showing that one is a member of something that calls itself a trade union isn’t enough. The union must get results, material results, or it is not much service to labor. Union leaders have to do something more than simply draw fat pay checks and order the membership around.

The results that the CIO has gained in recent weeks further demonstrate the only way to get results from the bosses. All of these gains were won on the picket tine. They didn’t come from the methods advocated by Bill Green: sitting down in the bosses’ offices exchanging cigars and handshaking.

How to Get Something from Ford

Before Labor Action appears again, the NLRB election will have been held at Ford’s. We expect the CIO to defeat the whole combination of Ford, Harry Bennett, the company union and the AFL. Ford’s man Friday, Harry Bennett, has announced that the CIO will win the election and that the company will bargain with the CIO until “hell freezes over.” Harry added, however, that the CIO won’t get anything. Of course, Harry is only trying to solace himself and the old scoundrel who pays him. He isn’t fooling his employees. They can get something from Ford the same way they got it from Bethlehem: put a mass picket line around the plant and keep it there “until hell freezes over.”

Coudert and the Stalinist War Position

A man by the name of Coudert, who is chairman of a legislative committee investigating “subversive” influences in New York City’s schools, says that the “red peril” is greater than the “fascist peril.” “The communist is the confidence man of totalitarianism,” says Coudert, “while the Nazi is the holdup man.” We are not quite certain what Coudert means by “communist.” Presumably he is talking about the Stalinists. At any rate there is something wrong in this picture. If Coudert is correct, then the United States is preparing for war against the wrong people. But even taking Coudert’s position, that “reds” are a danger, it is evident that the bosses are not in agreement with him. Coudert can’t get John D. Rockefeller to agree that Stalin is a greater danger to him than Hitler. John D. knows that it is Hitler that is preparing to grab his 90,000 square miles of oil lands in Iraq. That’s why he is ready for shooting war against Germany. He doesn’t want the German capitalist to grab the wealth through exploitation of the workers of Iraq. John D. wants to do the exploiting and robbing himself so that he can add to the fortune his old man piled up robbing the workers in the U.S.

There is something else too about Coudert. He and his kind prefer fascism to any social order that would strip the bosses of their power and profits. As between socialism and fascism these people will always choose fascism. If the workers fail to learn this, they will have a sad experience before this war is over.

Furthermore. Coudert and the boss class don’t need to worry themselves over the Stalinists “overthrowing the government by force and violence.” All that the Stalinists are concerned with overthrowing today are the groups which actually stand for socialism and the overthrow of capitalism, Stalin and his axmen are the enemies of socialism. The Stalinists claim today that they are against “imperialist war.” This is a lie. They are against the Churchill-Roosevelt camp of the imperialist war. They support the Hitler-Stalin camp.

Should Stalin get the assurance that he can hold on longer by coming over to the side of the United States and England, we will see every Stalinist, all their stooges and hatchet men hugging the flag, chanting the Star Spangled Banner and reciting the Constitution from every street corner.

The Stalinists confuse and betray the workers just as Hillman and his gang confuse and betray the workers. Some militant workers join the Stalinists because they believe that the Stalinists are against the war. These workers don’t understand that the Stalinists are against the U.S. going into the war because Stalin is tied up with Hitler.

There are other workers who go over to Hillman and the patriot-warmongers because they want to escape the Stalinist sell-out. Both groups of workers must learn that the correct road is neither the path to Stalin nor the path to Roosevelt-Hillman. Either of these roads leads into the imperialist war.

The Workers Party and Labor Action set forth week after week the only road for the working class in the United States. This is independent political action of the working class against capitalism, against the present war and for socialism. The Stalinists cannot be for this program because they are in a block with Hitler one of the leading world imperialists.

Casualties of War

Jan 2 1941.
FgOff. Barrett, D.C. 211 Sqn. Equipment Officer.
Died as the result of a car accident in the early hours of New Years Day.
Jan 6 1941.
PltOff. “The Duke” Delaney, L.S. 211 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim L8536.
Sgt.”Vic” Pollard, V. Obs.
Sgt. “Jock” McCord, T.A. Wo/Ag.
The aircraft crashed at Argyrokastron, Greece. Heavily battle damaged in the engagement and with the loss of one engine, the aircraft attempted a belly-landing and struck some boulders and cart wheeled. The crew were killed outright and buried near the village of Kelcyre.
FgOff. “Bobby” Campbell, R.D. 211 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim L1487. P.O.W. Hospitalised, broken leg.
Sgt. Beharrel, J. Obs. Swam ashore. P.O.W.
Sgt. Appleyard, R. Wo/Ag. Swam ashore. P.O.W.
Jan 7 1941.
Sgt. Robson, T.P. 38 Sqn. Wellington.
Sgt. Wilcock, P.F.
Jan 20 1941.
FgOff. “Little” Stuckey, V.A.J. 80 S qn. Gloster Gladiator K7902.
The first fighter plot to be wounded in Greece on the 19 of November 1940. The next day he shot down a S79 over Eleusi’s Bay, but then his aircraft was also hit. He circled round to land at Hassani airfield, the coastal aerodrome at Phaleron then under construction, when just as he was about to land the Gladiator burst into flames and crashed. He was killed instantly. The Greek workers covered the wreckage, as it laid outside the hanger, with flowers — their salute to a hero.
Jan 29 1941.
FgOff. Benson, L.T. 208 Sqn.
Feb 4 1941.
Sgt. Edwards, C.P. 45 Sqn.
Feb 5 1941.
FltLt. Towgood, R.A. 84 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim L4833. Killed.
Sgt. Somerville. Obs. Unhurt.
The air gunner was also unhurt.
The aircraft suffered a failure of the port engine on landing at Minidi airfield with fatal consequences.
Feb 6 1941.
FgOff. Nicholson, A. 84 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim L1393.
PltOff. Day, R.G.C. Obs. Drowned before he could open his dingy.
Sgt. Hollist, A.N. Wo/Ag. Missing without trace.
Feb 13 1941.
PltOff. Hutchinson, J. 11 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim.
Sgt. Adamson, J.F.
Sgt. Jackson, W.T.
Sgt. Traherne, O.L.G.
Feb 14 1941.
PltOff. Loveridge, A.B. 38 Sqn.Pilot Wellington.
Sgt. McClean, A.I.G. Pilot.
Sgt. Moore, T.M.
Feb 15 1941.
PltOff. Wellman, L.C. 37 Sqn. Obs.
Feb 21 1941.
PltOff. Muir, G.C. 37 Sqn. Pilot Wellington.
Feb 24 1941.
PltOff. Green, G.H. 70 Sqn. Pilot Wellington.
Sgt. Baxter, J.L.
Mar 4 1941.
W/Off. Goodchild, H.J. DFM 33 Sqn. Hurricane V7801.
Attacking a convoy of Italian warships, he was dived on by six G50bis and shot down in flames.
Ft.Lt. Cullen, R.N. 80 Sqn. Hurricane V7822.
He was shot down and the aircraft crashed near Himare.
Mar 7 1941.
PltOff. Thomas, D.L. 37 Sqn. Pilot Wellington.
Sgt. Cox, H.H.D.
Sgt. Bolton, J.W. RNZAF
Mar 9 1941.
PltOff. McDonald, R.H. 112 Sqn. Gloster Gladiator N5823.
The aircraft was destroyed in combat over Albania and the pilot baled out badly burnt. He later died of wounds received on 7 May 1941
Mar 13 1941.
FgOff. Banks, E. 112 Sqn. Gloster Gladaitor N5913.
Air-testing guns over Lake Yannina and crashed.
Mar 14 1941.
Sgt. Evans, F. RAAF 37 Sqn. Wellington.
Sgt. Badcott, B. Wo/Ag.
Mar 16 1941.
Cherrington, R.L. Sgt. 37 Sqn. Wellington.
Mar 19 1941.
A/SubLt. Kay, R.C. HMS Glebe.
Mar 26 1941.
SqnLdr. Nedwill, R.J.C. AFC 112 Sqn. Gloster Gladiator N5910.
Killed in a flying accident, a few days after joining 211 Squadron as the new C.O. when his Gloster ploughed into the airfield near Paramythia, from 6,000 feet.
Apr 1 1941.
FltLt. Boehm, D.G. 84 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim.
Sgt. Lee, K.G. Wo/Ag.
The aircraft was involved in an accident near Kiphissia, north of Athens.
7 April 1941.
Sgt. Chipp, H.T.W. 55 Sqn.
Apr 9 1941.
F/Sgt. Nuttall, L. 84 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim.
He was killed in a crash landing, attacking the Prilip-Batoij crossroads.
Apr 11 1941.
Sgt. Crooks, J. 30 Sqn. Wo/Ag.
Apr 13 1941.
FltLt. “Buck” Buchanan, L.B. DFC 211 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim L1434.
SqnLdr. Cryer, L.E. Acting as Observer.
Sgt. Patterson, G. Wo/Ag.
Ordered from Paramythia for the third operation of the day to attack the German troop concentrations on the Florina-Monastir Road, near the Greek-Yugoslavia border. After dropping their bombs, all six aircraft were attacked by German Bf109’s and destroyed within four minutes. The aircraft L1434 crashed into Lake Prespa, Albania at 1607 hours and was recovered in June 1993. The aircraft is now on display in the Tatoi Museam, Athens.
FgOff. Herbert, R.V. 211 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim L4819.
WgCdr. “Paddy” Coote. P.B. Acting as Observer.
F/Sgt. “Jock” Young, W.N. Wo/Ag.
SqnLdr Irvine, A.T. CO 211 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim L8478.
PltOff. Davies, G. Obs.
Sgt. Geary, A.C. Wo/Ag.
FgOff. “Tommy” Thompson, C.E.V. 211 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim L8604.
PltOff Hogarth, P. Obs.
Sgt. Arscott, W. Wo/Ag.
F/Sgt. “Jimmy” James, A.G. 211 Sqn. 2nd Pilot Bristol Blenheim L1539.
He successfully baled out of the aircraft and was reported as missing in action.
Sgt. “Andy” Bryce, A. Obs.
Sgt. “Pongo” Waring, A.J. Wo/Ag.
FgOff. Godfrey, A. 211 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim L8449.
He baled out, lost two fingers.
Sgt. “Peggy” O’Neill, J.B.T. Obs.
Sgt. “Jack” Wainhouse, J. Wo/Ag.
Apr 15 1941.
PltOff. Chetham, C.A.C. 3 Sqn. Pilot.
Throughout the morning of 15 April large numbers of Bf 109s roamed the Larissa Plain strafed Niamata, home of 113 Sqn. All then of its unprotecting Blenheims, fuelled and bombed up for a further raid against the advancing tanks, were wrecked. By this time, only twenty-two work-weary and worn Blenheims were serviceable between 11, 84, and 211 Squadrons in Greece, plus fourteen Blenheim IF’s of 30 Squadron.
When the country finally surrendered on 23 April, 30 Squadron hurriedly airlifted most of its personnel to Crete, with up to thirteen men crammed into each Blenheim for the 180 miles or 45 min haul to Maleme airfield.
During the short but fierce battle of Crete, the remainder of 30 Squadron operated from Maleme for twenty-seven days in appalling circumstances, aided by nine Blenheim IVFs of 203 Squadron, which were flown in from Egypt.
Nos, 14, 45, and 55 Squadrons, with Blenheim Ivs, tried to stem the tide from Egypt (a long 800-mile return haul), but their numbers were depleted in one grim week ending on 27 May. On 21 May, ObLt Homuth, Fw Kowalski and Lt Schmidt, flying Bf 109Es destroyed five out of seven 14 Squadron Blenheims over the Capuzzo-Tobruk road.
On the 25 May 14 Sqn. T2065 V5510 T2003 shot down into the sea off Crete by two Bf109s. All nine men onboard perished.
Apr 18 1941.
SqnLdr. Jones, H.D. 84 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim.
As was his usual practice, the aircraft went off alone to bomb German troop concentrations in the Larissa area, where he was jumped by two Me 110’s and shot down. The aircraft was forced landed in the sea and straffed by Bf 109’s. The local residents buried the crew in the village of Keramidi, under the shadow of the mountain of Mavroun.
F/Sgt. Webb, J. Obs.
Sgt. Keen, H.Wo/Ag.
Apr 19 1941.
Sgt. Murphy, H. 11 Sqn. Bristol Blenheim.
April 20 1941. Battle of Athens.
SqnLdr. “Pat” Pattle, M.E. DFC AND BAR CO 33 Sqn. Hurricane.
The top scoring ace of World War two at the time of his death. During the Battle of Athens, when 3 Hurricane Squadrons took on 120 German aircraft above Athens and Piraeus and destroyed 22 enemy aircraft. With three more aircraft to his credit, he was shot down by a Me 110 over St Eleusis Bay and the aircraft broke up in mid-air.
FltLt. Starlett, H.J. 33 Sqn. Hurricane.
FltLt. “Timber” Woods. W.J. DFC 80 Sqn. Hurricane.
He began his flying career in Malta, towing drones for Naval aviators to shoot at. At the outbreak of war with Italy, he was one of the original pilots to fly Gloster Gladiators, Faith, Hope and Charity. For this action he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and posted to Egypt for a rest. As the invasion of Greece began, he volunteered to fly a reinforcement Hurricane to the beleaguered island
Sgt. Clough, S. 84 Sqn.
Sgt. Wilson, S.E. 84 Sqn.
Flying accident.
Apr 25 1941.
FgOff. Patterson. T.L. 274 Sqn. Hurricane.
Apr 29 1941.
FgOff. Jones, B.S.M. 70 Sqn. Wellington.
Apr 30 1941.
FgOff. Spence, D.J. 274 Sqn. Hurricane.
FgOff. Greenhill, C.F. 274 Sqn. Hutricane.
May 2 1941.
Walsh, D.H.
May 4 1941.
Sgt. Campbell, D.G. 37 Sqn. Obs.
May 6 1941.
Sgt. Cox, W.H. 37 Sqn. Wo/Ag.
May 7 1941.
Sgt. Robinson, D.W. 70 Sqn. Wellington.
PltOff. Hugh, W.E. 38 Sqn. Pilot
May 8 1941.
Lt. Campbell, A.U.M. SAAF 39 Sqn.
F/Sgt. Henry Sqn. Obs.
May 12 1941.
FgOff. English, K.P. 274 Sqn. Hurricane V7820
May 15 1941.
L/T Scott, P.F. RNAS 805 Sqn. FAA Gloster Gladiator N5517
Sgt. Ripsher, C.D. 33 Sqn. Hurricane.
Shot down by a burst of friendly fire from a Bofers gun as he attempted to crash-land his crippled aircraft.
May 16 1941.
Fighter command only 5 aircraft remained, 3 Hurricanes and 2 Gloster Gladiators withdrew at dawn 19th May, the remainder fought as infantry at Malame airfield and Hill 107.
FgOff. Clostre, D.H.J. 274 Sqn. Hurricane.
F/Sgt. Dean, F.H. 274 Sqn. Hurricane.
FgOff. Agazarian, N.C. 274 Sqn. Hurricane.
L/T. Ash, A.H.M. RNAS 805 Sqn. FAA Gloster Gladiator.

6 reinforcements of 73 Squadron Hurricanes dispatched.
PltOff. “Randy” Goodman, G.E. Hurricane W9198. Force landed in desert.
PltOff. Donati. Hurricane V7802. Force landed on return from Crete.
PltOff. Moss, F.M. Hurricane V7879. Force landed on return from Crete.
Sgt. Laing, R.I. Hurricane V7424.
The aircraft was shot up by German snipers and then Bf 110’s and destroyed. He returned the following day “two up” in Goodman’s Hurricane.
PltOff. Goord, R.L. 73 Sqn. Hurricane V7736.
PltOff. Likeman, R.H. 73 Sqn. Hurricane V7764.
Both believed to have been shot down by Royal Navy anti-aircraft fire or ditched in the sea due to lack of fuel.
PltOff. Vincent, P.J. 45 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim.
PltOff. Niven, S.C. RNZAF Obs.
F/Sgt. Thompson, O.B. Wo/Ag.
F/Sgt. Cordy, S.C.
Sgt. Walsh, M.J. 30 Sqn. Hurricane.
F/Sgt. Field, P. RAAF 37 Sqn. Wellington.
May 20 1941.
FltLt. Ross, A.M. 274 Sqn. Hurricane.
L/T. Richardson, H.J.C. RNAS 805 Sqn. FAA Gloster Gladiator.
Dawn 20th May 1941 — 0300 hours. The Battle of Crete.
RAF casualties 71 killed or died of wounds, 9 wounded, 226 Prisoners of War.
May 21 ObLt. Homuth, Fw Kowalski destroyed Bf 109e’s of I/JG27 destroyed five out of seven 14 Squadron Blenheims over the Capuzzo-Tobruk road.
May 23 1941.
Sgt. Field, P. 37 Sqn.
Sgt. McLaren, G. 55 Sqn.
May 24 1941.
FltLt. Walsh, M.J.S. 30 Sqn. Bristol Blenheim
May 25 1941.
Maleme Airfield attacks.
14 Sqn. T2065, T2003, V5510. Shot down into the sea off Crete by two Bf 109’s of II/JG77. All nine men perished.
PltOff. Brown, 14 Sqn. Pilot Bristol Blenheim.
Sgt. Wilson, N.P.M. RAAF
F/Sgt. Young, H.
Sgt. Green, R.A.
May 26 1941.
Two out of three 45 Squadron aircraft fell victim to ObLt Hockner of 6/JG77 in the target area.
Sgt. Thomas, N.A + CREW. T2339
Two men from T2339 taken prisoner.
V5592, escaped only to get lost in the desert on its return, and finally crashed.
PltOff. Robinson, J.Pilot.
Sgt. Crosby, A.E. Wo/Ag.
Rescued after walking for four days.
Sgt. Longstaff, W.B. Obs. Never seen again.
Sgt. South, J.M. 33 Sqn. Hurricane.
May 27 1941.
Six out of nine Blenheims were lost in crashes and collisions in Egypt while taking off or returning from strikes on Maleme, resulting in the death of nine aircrew.
Sgt. Chesman, J. Pilot 55 Sqn. Bristol Blenheim.
Sgt. Callender, D.G. RNZAF 55 Sqn.
Sgt. Martin, E.A. 55 Sqn. El Alamein war cemetery
May 28 1941.
Sgt. “Doug” Davis, D.V. Pilot 211 Sqn. Bristol Blenheim. Crashlanded at Aleppo airfield, Syria.
Sgt. Stalder, L.E. Obs.
Sgt. Trenholm. H. Wo/Ag.
May 29 1941.
PltOff. Dalco, W.G. 38 Sqn. Wellington.
Sgt. Curle, E. Wo/Ag.
Sgt. Middleton, A.E. Pilot.
May 31 1941.
Sgt. Elsdon, I.C. 33 Sqn. Hurricane.
Sgt. Guillou. A. 274 Sqn. Hurricane W9273.
Sgt. Hill, V.E. 274 Sqn. Hurricane.
After a gruelling flight from Egypt with a replacement aircraft, a prowling Me109 hit him over Maleme airfield.
Sgt. Cross, R.A. 33 Sqn. Hurricane.
FgOff. Ketton Cramer, R.T.W. 30 Sqn. Bristol Blenheim.

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Clark County History: Gretchen Fraser, the first woman on the Wheaties box

Pigtailed Gretchen Fraser at the 1948 Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland, was the first out of the chute for the slalom she had to wait, dreading another downhill racer might best her times. But when the judges combined each skier's two runs, hers remained the fastest. (Columbian files) Photo Gallery

Appearing on a red-orange Wheaties box broke a second barrier for a Vancouver woman. She first crushed an Olympic one that admitted her to the elite “breakfast of champions” club. Onetime Vancouver resident Gretchen Fraser (1919-1994) was the first American to win a gold medal in skiing. That victory made her America’s pigtailed sweetheart.

Gretchen Kunigk was born in Tacoma to a German father and a Norwegian mother. For Christmas 1932, when she was 13, she and her brother Bill both received skis. From then on, the family skied the south slopes of Mount Rainier at Paradise Valley ranger station. Once Bill earned his driver’s license, the siblings regularly visited the mountain to hike up the slope and then ski down.

According to Fraser’s friend and biographer, Luanne Pfeifer, Gretchen’s future husband, Don Fraser, competed in the 1936 Olympics on skis he made. Married in 1939, both Frasers qualified for the 1940 Olympics. But World War II canceled the 1940 and 1944 games, delaying the promising Olympians’ chances eight years.

Around the country, Fraser continued her downhill racing and won often. In between races, she appeared in two movies — “Thin Ice” (1937) and “Sun Valley Serenade” (1941). The star, Sonja Henie, an Olympic and international figure skating champion, needed a stand-in for skiing scenes.

In 1948, at nearly 30, Fraser wasn’t a favorite and she barely gained an Olympic spot for St. Moritz, Switzerland. Worse, the women’s team had a quick succession of “foster-coaches,” each teaching different techniques. Inconsistent coaching hampered promising team results until a Swiss slalom specialist was hired for the women.

Back in Vancouver, her husband and others waited by radios for her race. With pigtails flying as she sped down the St. Moritz slopes, Fraser burst the barrier barring Americans from Olympic gold in skiing. She also won a silver medal in the combined downhill and slalom.

Celebrity didn’t tarnish Fraser. She became a mother, promoted skiing and Sun Valley, mentored women skiers, worked with the disabled and earned a pilot’s license. She logged over 3,000 flight hours and co-piloted jets with Chuck Yeager.

“Rosie The Riveter” 1941-1945

Norman Rockwell’s ‘Rosie The Riveter’ cover for the May 29, 1943 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, was the first visual image to incorporate the ‘Rosie’ name.

After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and the full involvement of the U.S. in World War II, the male work force was depleted to fill the ranks of the U.S. military. This came precisely at a time when America’s need for factory output and munitions soared.

The U.S. government, with the help of advertising agencies such as J. Walter Thompson, mounted extensive campaigns to encourage women to join the work force. Magazines and posters played a key role in the effort to recruit women for the wartime workforce.

Saturday Evening Post cover artist, Norman Rockwell, is generally credited with creating one of the popular “Rosie the Riveter” images used to encourage women to become wartime workers.

Rockwell’s “Rosie,” shown at right, appeared on the cover of the May 29th, 1943 edition of The Saturday Evening Post. The Post was then one of the nation’s most popular magazines, with a circulation of about 3 million copies each week. In addition to Rockwell’s Rosie, however, another image would become the more commonly known “Rosie the Riveter” image.

J. Howard Miller's 'We Can Do It!' poster, commissioned by Westinghouse and shown briefly in Feb 1942. Click for copy.

Westinghouse Posters

In 1942, Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller was hired by the Westinghouse Company’s War Production Coordinating Committee to create a series of posters to motivate employees for the war effort. One of these posters became the famous “We Can Do It!” image — an image that in later years would also become known by many as “Rosie the Riveter,” though that was not the intended purpose at its creation. In fact, at the time of the poster’s release the name “Rosie” was in no way associated with Miller’s image. The poster — one of 42 produced in Miller’s Westinghouse series — was used exclusively within Westinghouse and not initially seen much beyond several Westinghouse factories in Pennsylvania and the Midwest where it was displayed for two weeks in February 1943. It was only years later, after the Miller poster was rediscovered in 1982 – some 40 years later, in fact – that his rendering began to be associated with “Rosie The Riveter,” and more importantly, women’s liberation and other causes.

In terms of the origin of Miller’s “We Can Do It!” image, there have been some reports that an actual WWII woman worker may have been used as the source and/or inspiration – either from a photograph or as an in-person studio model. A 1942 wire service photo of one WWII female worker at Alameda Naval Air Base in California dressed in bandanna and work clothes has been suggested as a possible source, but one friend of Miller’s has noted that he rarely worked from photographs.

Both images, however — Rockwell’s and Miller’s — were used to help motivate the WWII workforce, but in Miller’s case, perhaps only at Westinghouse factories. But Rockwell’s “Rosie,” in particular, helped encourage female workers to fill WW II production jobs. Sheridan Harvey of the U.S. Library of Congress has noted: “Rosie’s appearance on the Memorial Day cover of the Saturday Evening Post implied that her work might help save soldiers’ lives.” And in later years, up to present times, both of these images – Miller’s and Rockwell’s – have become iconic symbols of women’s rights struggles and are occasionally adapted for other causes and political campaigns as well. But in any case, it was during the World War II years that “Rosie the Riveter” got her start.

“Rosie the Riveter”
Song Lyrics

While other girls attend their fav’rite
cocktail bar
Sipping Martinis, munching caviar
There’s a girl who’s really putting
them to shame
Rosie is her name

All the day long whether rain or shine
She’s a part of the assembly line
She’s making history,
working for victory
Rosie the Riveter
Keeps a sharp lookout for sabotage
Sitting up there on the fuselage
That little frail can do more than a
male will do
Rosie the Riveter

Rosie’s got a boyfriend, Charlie
Charlie, he’s a Marine
Rosie is protecting Charlie
Working overtime on the
riveting machine
When they gave her a production “E”
She was as proud as a girl could be
There’s something true about
Red, white, and blue about
Rosie the Riveter

Everyone stops to admire the scene
Rosie at work on the B-Nineteen
She’s never twittery, nervous or jittery
Rosie the Riveter
What if she’s smeared full of
oil and grease
Doing her bit for the old Lendlease
She keeps the gang around
They love to hang around
Rosie the Riveter

First, The Song

Rosie the Riveter appears to have come first in song, not in art. In 1942, a song titled “Rosie the Riveter” was written by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb and was issued by Paramount Music Corporation of New York. The song was released in early 1943 and was played on the radio and broadcast nationally. It was also performed by various artists with popular band leaders of that day.

The song, it turns out, was inspired by a newspaper story about a 19-year old female riveter named Rosalind Palmer who worked at the Vought Aircraft Company in Stratford, Connecticut riveting the bodies of Corsair fighter planes. That Rosie – perhaps the first Rosie – was known as “Roz” by friends, and would become Rosalind P. Walter, a famous and long-time benefactor of PBS and WNET in New York. She was born into a prosperous North Shore Long Island family – her father, Carleton Palmer, was president and then chairman of E.R. Squibb and Sons, a drug company made prosperous by WWII penicillin (now part of Bristol Myers Squibb), and her mother, W. Bushnell, a professor of literature at Long Island University. Rosalind, a prep school student who might have gone off to college at Smith or Vassar, instead heeded the WWII call for female workers. Syndicated newspaper columnist, Igor Cassini, took up her story, writing about Rosalind the riveter in his “Cholly Knickerbocker” column. That story, in turn, inspired the songwriters Evans and Loeb – and since it was syndicated in many newspapers — possibly Rockwell too.

The song, meanwhile, became quite popular, particularly one version recorded by the Four Vagabonds, an African-American group — a version that caught on and rose on the Hit Parade. It seems likely that Saturday Evening Post artist Norman Rockwell heard this song, and possibly was influenced by it, especially since he wrote the name “Rosie” on the lunch box in his painting.

In the Post’s cover illustration, Rockwell’s Rosie is shown on her lunch break, eating a sandwich from her opened lunch pail as her riveting gun rests on her lap. A giant American flag waves behind her. Rosie appears content, gazing off into the distance. However, Rockwell portrays her with some important details, from the lace handkerchief visible in her right hand pocket, to her foot placed smack on the cover of Adolph Hitler’s Mein Kampf at the bottom of the painting. But there was also something else in Rockwell’s Rosie.

The “Isaiah Effect”

In early June 1943, after The Saturday Evening Post cover of Rosie had hit the newsstands and had been widely circulated, the Kansas City Star newspaper ran images of Rockwell’s Rosie alongside of Michelangelo’s Isaiah from his Sistine Chapel ceiling painting. The splash in the Star drew a lot more attention to Rockwell’s Rosie. Followers of Rockwell’s illustrations in those years knew well his penchant for touches of humor and satire.

In more recent years, reviewers of Rockwell’s Rosie have added their interpretations and observations. “Just as Isaiah was called by God to convert the wicked from their sinful ways and trample evildoers under foot,” wrote one Sotheby’s curator in a May 2002 review, “so Rockwell’s Rosie tramples Hitler under her all-American penny loafer.”

Rockwell had used a petite local woman as a model for his Rosie — Mary Doyle (Keefe), then a 19 year-old telephone operator — but he took liberties with her actual proportions to make his Rosie appear as a more powerful, Isaiah-like figure.

“Righteousness is described throughout Isaiah’s prophecy as God’s ‘strong right arm’,” continued the Sotheby’s reviewer, “a characterization that must surely have occurred to [Rockwell] as he portrayed Rosie’s muscular forearms.” Rockwell’s Rosie also has a halo floating just above the pushed-back visor on her head. Rockwell’s “Rosie” was later donated to the U.S. War Loan Drive and briefly went on a public tour. Rockwell had fun with his paintings, using some irreverent humor here and there, but also including the necessary serious messages and patriotic tone.

Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post Rosie was widely disseminated during the war. In addition to the magazine’s 3 million-plus circulation, Rockwell’s Rosie was also displayed in other publications, including The Art Digest of July 1, 1943. However, Rockwell’s image of Rosie might have enjoyed an even wider circulation had it not been for the actions of the magazine’s publisher, Curtis Publishing. In 1943, Curtis initially used the phrase “Rosie the Riveter” on posters it distributed to news dealers advertising the forthcoming Post issue with Rockwell’s painting on the cover. However, according to author Penny Colman, within a few days, Curtis sent telegrams to the news dealers ordering them to destroy the poster and return a notarized statement attesting to the fact that they had. Curtis issued its retraction because it feared being sued for copyright infringement of the recently released song “Rosie the Riveter.” Rockwell’s painting of Rosie was then donated to the U.S. Treasury Department’s War Loan Drive, and then went on a tour for public display in various cities across the country.

A ‘Wendy-the-Welder’ in 1940s’ shipbuilding at Richmond, CA.

Real Life Rosies

In June 1943, about two weeks after Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post cover appeared on newsstands, the press picked up the story of a woman worker named Rose Bonavita-Hickey. She and partner Jennie Florio, drilled 900 holes and placed a record 3,345 rivets in a torpedo-bombing Avenger aircraft at the former General Motors Eastern Aircraft Division in North Tarrytown, New York.

Hickey’s feat was recognized with a personal letter from President Roosevelt, and became identified as one of many real-life “Rosie the Riveters.” Other women workers doing riveting — as well as others generally who were filling heavy-industry “men’s” jobs all across the nation – e.g., “Wendy-the-welders,” etc. — also gained media attention during the war years.

WWII-era photo showing Dora Miles and Dorothy Johnson at Douglas Aircraft Co. plant in Long Beach, CA.

“The women worked in pairs. I was the riveter and this big, strong, white girl from a cotton farm in Arkansas worked as the bucker. The riveter used a gun to shoot rivets through the metal and fasten it together. The bucker used a bucking bar on the other side of the metal to smooth out the rivets. Bucking was harder than shooting rivets it required more muscle. Riveting required more skill.”

In early August 1943, Life magazine featured a full cover photograph of a woman steelworker, along with an inside photo-story spread of other “Rosie” steelworkers, some quite dramatic.

The photographs were taken by Margaret Bourke-White, the famous Life photojournalist who was the first female war correspondent and the first woman to be allowed to work in combat zones during World War II.

Life magazine cover photo of August 9, 1943 shows steel-worker Ann Zarik at work with her torch. Click for copy.

Bourke-White had spent much of WWII in the thick of things overseas, but also managed to do domestic stories such as the “Women in Steel” spread, which included at least a dozen photographs displayed in Life’s August 9, 1943 edition. These photos captured women at work in the American steel industry, including some taken at Tubular Alloy Steel Corp. of Gary, Indiana and Carnegie-Illinois Steel Company.

Some of the photos showed the women wielding torches and working on heavy plate and structural steel with sparks flying, with others working amid giant steel caldrons that carried the molten steel. A display of these and other Rosie photographs, culled from the Life magazine archive, can be seen at “The Many Faces of Rosie The Riveter, 1941-1945.”

Need More Women

The government, meanwhile, continued to call for more women in the workforce. They needed women to work in all kinds of jobs, not just those in munitions plants or military-related factory work. By September 1943, the Magazine War Guide was asking magazine publishers to participate in a “Women at Work Cover Promotion.” They wanted publishers and others to push all kinds of employment as vital “war jobs.” Everyday “civilian jobs” were vital, too, not just the factory jobs. The slogan for this promotion was: “The More Women at Work the Sooner We Win.”

Norman Rockwell’s portrayal of American ‘liberty girl’ in her ‘jack-of-all-trades’ mode, capable of doing many kinds of civilian jobs to help the War effort – September 4, 1943, Saturday Evening Post.

Rockwell and The Saturday Evening Post were only part of a much bigger campaign to move women into the workplace. Motion pictures, newspapers, radio, museums, employee publications, and in-store displays were all involved. Some 125 million advertisements were produced as posters and full-page magazine ads.

Fine print reads: ‘Uncle Sam Needs Stenographers. Get Civil Service Information at Your Post Office.’Click for copy.

Some promotional films were produced as well. Hollywood actor Walter Pidgeon, working for the government War Bond effort, made a short film promoting the war effort in which he recruited a real “Rosie the Riveter” worker named Rose Will Monroe whom he met while touring Ford Motor’s Willow Run aircraft factory. The short film was shown in theaters between featured films to encourage viewers to buy War Bonds.

Unrelated to the War Bond effort, a Hollywood movie called Rosie the Riveter was also made in 1944 it was a B-grade romantic wartime comedy made by Republic studios with Jane Frazee as Rosie Warren who worked in an airplane factory.

Female trainees at Middletown, PA, 1944. The Middletown Air Service Command stockpiled parts and overhauled military airplanes. During WWII, Middletown’s workforce grew from 500 to more than 18,000, nearly half of them women.

Women’s Work

The women who responded to “Rosie’s call” during the 1940s’ war years did all kinds of work. In 1942, the Kaiser shipyards opened in Richmond, California, becoming a major shipbuilding center for the war effort. A woman named Bethena Moore from Derrider, Louisina was one of thousands who came to work there. In Louisiana, she had been a laundry worker. A small woman of 110 pounds, Bethena was one of the workers who would climb down into the bowels of ships — sometimes four stories in depth — on a narrow steel ladder, tethered to a welding machine. She did the welds on the ships’ double-bottoms. “It was dark, scary,” she later recounted to a New York Times reporter in October 2000. “It felt sad, because there was a war on. You knew why you were doing it — the men overseas might not get back. There were lives involved. So the welding had to be perfect.”

Woman working inside the tail of a B-17 aircraft at Boeing production line in Seattle, WA, 1940s.
Women working at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, 1940s.
Sante Fe Railroad ad singing the praises of its women workers.

In Michigan, at Ford Motor Co., more than 30 percent of Ford workers in 1943 in the machining and assembly departments were women. Women at Ford plants built jeeps, B-24 aircraft, and tractors. They also became test pilots for the B-24s. And they operated drill presses, welding tools, heavy casting machinery and riveting guns.

The Sante Fe Railroad also used women in war-time jobs. One of the company’s wartime ads explained in part: “…Right now, thousands of Santa Fe women are doing war-vital work to ‘keep-em-rolling’. Many of them are pitching into ‘unglamourous jobs’… greasing engines, operating turntables, wielding a shovel, cleaning roller bearings, working in blacksmith and sheet metal shops. They take pride in their work too!” A small inset box in the ad also read: “Another chapter in the story ‘Working for Victory on the Sante Fe’.”

Marilyn “Rosie” Monroe
June 1945

Marilyn Monroe, before she became a Hollywood star, appeared in a series of airplane factory photos in June 1945 that led to her becoming a model and film star.
Another of David Conover's photos of 19 year-old Norma Jean Dougherty.

Opening The Door

Mexican American women workers on the Southern Pacific Railroad during WW II.

Although many of the jobs held by women during WWII were initially returned to men after the war ended, the workforce would never be the same again. Sybil Lewis, who worked as a Lockheed riveter during those years stated: “You came out to California, put on your pants, and took your lunch pail to a man’s job. This was the beginning of women’s feeling that they could do something more.” Inez Sauer, who worked as a Boeing tool clerk in the war years, put it this way:

“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.’ At that time I didn’t think it would change a thing. But she was right, it definitely did. . . . at Boeing I found a freedom and an independence that I had never known. After the war I could never go back to playing bridge again, being a club woman . . . when I knew there were things you could use your mind for. The war changed my life completely. I guess you could say, at thirty-one, I finally grew up.”

Women at Douglas aircraft plant during WWII.

Women discovered a new sense of pride, dignity and independence in their work and their lives. Many realized their work was just as valuable as men’s, though for years, and to this day, an earnings disparity still exists. During the war years, however, a number of women workers joined unions, gaining major new benefits from labor representation. Black and Hispanic women also gained entry to major industrial plants, factory and other jobs throughout the country. But the fight for equal rights in the workplace and equal pay for women was just beginning, and would be fought over many years following WWII.

America’s working women were praised during the war, but when the war ended they were encouraged to return to homemaking. Click for poster.

The film’s views contrast with some of the popular legends and mythology surrounding the Rosies of WW II, including the fact that many Rosies were denied opportunities to continue working once the war ended. The film is regarded as one of the best accounts of women working in heavy industry in World War II, and also of home-front life during those years. In the film’s first year, some 1 million viewers saw it, a very high number for a documentary. It has also won various film festival prizes and was dubbed into six languages. In 1996, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

Rosie stamp, circa 1999.
‘When America marched off to war, the women marched into the factories,’ says this 1984 movie promo. ‘From then on. nothing was ever the same again.’

Back in the real world, however, thousands of older Rosies who had actually worked in the wartime production frenzy, were getting up in years, and many were recalling their experiences in their wartime jobs. Some were having reunions, while others began communicating with one another. In 1998, the “American Rosie the Riveter Association” was formed in Warm Springs, Georgia and is today headquarterd in Birmingham, Alabama. By 2004 this organization had 1,400-members. In California, meanwhile, something else was afoot: a National Park (follows below the Rockwell sidebar).

Rockwell’s Rosie & Beyond
Rising Value

Over the years, Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter has generally yielded in popularity to the J. Howard Miller/Westinghouse “We Can Do It!” poster girl. Copyright restrictions on Rockwell’s Rosie in subsequent years meant it was less frequently reproduced. The Miller/Westinghouse poster image, on the other hand, was without such copyright limitations, and over the years, appeared in numerous forms — on coffee mugs, magnets, t-shirts, and mouse pads. Still, Rockwell’s original painting had some interesting travels. …By the 1990s, certainly, Rockwell’s body of work had received serious attention of historians and art critics alike… And in the art world, Rockwell’s Rosie enjoyed a considerable following. In the 1940s, after Rockwell’s painting was donated to the government War Bond effort, it went on public tour, as did other works of art during those years. Items on these tours were sometimes offered as prizes in raffles as a way to increase public interest and contributions for the war effort. Reportedly, at one of those events — believed to have been when the painting was displayed at the Strawbridge & Clothier store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Rockwell’s original Rosie was raffled off and won by a Mrs. P. R. Eichenberg of Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania. After that, the painting appears to have been acquired by the Chicago Pneumatic Tool Co. on E. 44th St. in New York city, where it was hung in a display window next to a placard explaining Rosie’s history. Also included in that window display were some riveting hammers identical to the one Rockwell’s painting placed in Rosie’s lap. After its window display, it appears that Rosie was held by Martha Parrish and James Reinish of New York.

“Rockwell’s pictures often honored the American spirit,” wrote Judy Larson and Maureen Hart Hennessey in their 1999 book, Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People. “Particularly during times of crisis, Rockwell created images that communicated patriotism and unquestioned allegiance to the United States.”

Others would write that his Rosie the Riveter was a testament to the indomitable strength of the American spirit during one of the nation’s most challenging times. “Rosie’s cool self confidence, sheer physical might, and unwavering support of her country,” said one, “parallel the strength, determination and patriotism of the American people.”

Sometime in the year 2000, the original Rockwell Rosie painting was sold to an anonymous collector for $2 million. By 2002, that collector decided to sell. In the meantime, Rockwell’s Rosie had been part of an all Norman Rockwell exhibition entitled “Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People,” which had run at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York from November 1999-February 2002. In 2002, Rockwell’s Rosie was sold at Sotheby’s for $4.95 million. Rockwell’s Rosie had illustrated the exhibit brochure’s back cover as well as interior pages. After the exhibition, it was then featured on the cover of Sotheby’s May 2002 American Paintings auction magazine. The auction was held on May 22, 2002. The bidding on Rockwell’s “Rosie the Riveter” painting began at $1.5 million and proceeded in $100,000 increments until it was sold for $4,959,500. The buyers were a husband-and-wife team — Kelly Elliott owner of the Elliott Yeary Gallery of Aspen, Colorado, and her husband, Jason Elliott, a partner in Ranger Endowments Management of Dallas, Texas.

Isabella Keiser, 7, checks out Rosie’s lunch pail. Photo, Leonardo Carrizo, Columbus Dispatch.

Rosie Memorial & Park

Rosie the Riveter Memorial looking out toward Richmond Marina & San Francisco Bay beyond. This site was formerly Kaiser Shipyard No. 2.
Rosie park poster.

“Preservation is not only for parks and wilderness areas,” said Congressman George Miller at the bill’s signing. “We are also committed to using our resources to preserve historic sites that help tell the story of America’s development, and the Rosie the Riveter Home Front National Historical Park will stand as a lasting tribute to these brave women who played such a crucial role in winning the war.” Today, the park includes a number of exhibits on the “homefront” and “Rosie-the-Riveter” contributions to the WWII-era production that took place in Richmond. Other exhibits for the park are also planned.

View toward Bay from hull sculpture looking down walkway. Engraved pavement sections are visible as well as “image ladders” with period photographs & shipyard memorabilia.

The memorial, which includes a sculpture of part of a ship’s hull under construction, evokes the ship building that went on there, with a granite walkway that stretches the length of a Liberty ship the to the water’s edge. The granite walkway includes etched words from women workers. The site also includes “image ladders” with photographs and memorabilia, and a timeline of events on the home front and individual memories of the period.

On the overlook platform at the memorial, in a prominent location, is the following quote for all to read: “You must tell your children, putting modesty aside, that without us, without women, there would have been no spring in 1945.”

Norman Rockwell with Mary Doyle Keefe, the model for the 1943 'Rosie-the-Riveter' Saturday Evening Post cover.

Additional history on the work of Norman Rockwell can be found at “Rockwell & Race, 1963-1968,” and more on Saturday Evening Post cover art is included at “Falter’s Art, Rising”(John Falter covers, 1940s-1960s) and “U.S. Post Office, 1950s-2011” featuring the work of Stevan Dohanos and other Post illustrators.

Thanks for visiting – and if you like what you find here, please make a donation to help support the research and writing at this website.. Thank you. – Jack Doyle

Please Support
this Website

Date Posted: 28 February 2009
Last Update: 15 December 2020
Comments to: [email protected]com

Article Citation:
Jack Doyle, “Rosie The Riveter, 1941-1945,”, February 28, 2009.

Sources, Links & Additional Information

March 1994 issue of Smithsonian magazine features a story on Rosie the Riveter 'the WWII poster icon.'
WW II worker I.D. badge, Redstone Arsenal.
Penny Colman's book, "Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II,” 128 pp, for ages 10 and up. Click for copy.

Transcript of video presentation by Sheridan Harvey, “Rosie the Riveter: Real Women Workers in World War II,” Library of Congress, Washington., D.C., date of presentation not stated.

“Women’s Work,” Click! The Ongoing Feminist Revo-lution (web exhibit),, 2015.

“Northrop Workers Show 35,000 Visitors How Planes Are Built, Los Angeles Times, December 28, 1942, p. A-1.

Norman Rockwell’s “Rosie The Riveter” illustration appears in, The Kansas City Star, June 6, 1943.

Jeannette Guiterrez, “Naomi Parker Fraley, The Original ‘We Can Do It!’ Gal,” Diary of A (site focused on saving Willow Run bomber plant & more), March 11, 2016.

“U.S.O. to Open Women War Workers’ Club,” Los Angeles Times, June 21, 1943, p.13.

Aline Law, “Women Do a Lot to Keep ‘Em Flying Tour of Plane Plant Reveals Proportion High,” Los Angeles Times, November 28, 1943, p. D-13.

“Rosie the Riveter Keeps Her Glamour in Shape Special Beauty Treatments at Douglas Plant Retain Girls’ Looks for After-War Home Life,” Los Angeles Times, October 1, 1944, p. 12.

Article on the Norman Rockwell “Rosie the Riveter” painting, Art Digest, April 15, 1945, p. 18.

“Riveter Rosie Asks Man’s Pay, Woman’s Rights,” Los Angeles Times, December 10, 1944, p. 13.

“Women War Workers Quit Plants in Droves,” Los Angeles Times, December 17, 1945, p. 1.

The Life and Times of Rosie The Riveter, a documentary film produced and directed by Connie Field, 1981.

C. Gerald Fraser, “Rosie’s Life after the War Was Not So Rosy,” New York Times, Saturday, May 2, 1981, p. 13.

Maureen Honey, Creating Rosie the Riveter, Amherst: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1984.

Sherna B. Gluck, Rosie the Riveter Revisited, Boston, Twayne Publishers, 1987.

Laura L. Dresser and Sherri A. Kossoudji, “The End of a Riveting Experience: Occupational Shifts at Ford After World War II,” American Economic Review, May 1992.

“Powers of Persuasion: Poster Art From World War II,” The National Archives, From an Exhibit in Washington, D.C., May 1994 – February 1995.

Penny Colman, Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II, Crown Books, 1995.

Dr. Kaylene Hughes, “Women at War: Redstone’s WWII Female Production Soldiers,” paper originally written by Dr. Kaylene Hughes, Senior Historian, U.S. Army Missile Command Historical Office, for presentation to the U.S. Army Historians Conference, June 1994. The paper was adapted to book-format by Dr. Hughes in early 1995.

Tony Marcano, “Famed Riveter In War Effort, Rose Monroe Dies at 77,” New York Times, June 2, 1997.

National Public Radio (NPR), “Rosie the Riveter” [Re: Rose Monroe’s death], All Things Considered, June 2, 1997.

Megan Garrett, “Folk Hero Rosie The Riveter and Women’s Labor,” Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon, April 23, 1998.

U.S. Army Ordnance Corps. “Rosie the Riveter: More Than a Poster Girl,” October 1, 1998.

Joanne Klement, “Stamp Will Honor `Rosie the Riveter,” Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, November 10, 1998.

M. Paul Holsinger, “Rosie The Riveter,” War and American Popular Culture: A Historical Encyclopedia, 1998.

Judy Larson and Maureen Hart Hennessey, Norman Rockwell: Pictures for the American People, New York, 1999.

Maureen Honey, Creating Rosie the Riveter: Class, Gender, and Propaganda During World War II, University of Missouri Press, 1999.

Shirley Ann Wilson Moore, To Place Our Deeds: The African American Community in Richmond, California 1910-1963, University of California Press, January 2000.

Patricia Leigh Brown, ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Honored in California Memorial,” New York Times, October 22, 2000.

“Rosie Gets Her National Park as Clinton Signs Miller’s Bill,”, Wash., DC, October 25, 2000.

Carol Vogel, “Inside Art: And Rosie’s Still Riveting,” New York Times, April 5, 2002.

James Barron, “The Model for ‘Rosie,’ Without Rivets or Brawn,” New York Times, May 19, 2002.

Dara Mitchell, “Riveting Rosie,” Sotheby’s Auction Preview, American Paintings, 1334 York Avenue, New York, May 22, 2002.

James Barron, “Boldface Names: An Admirer Lands ‘Rosie’,” New York Times, May 23, 2002.

Penny Colman, Letter to the Editor, “It’s Just ‘Rosie’,” New York Times, May 24, 2002.

Jeffry Scott, “Efforts To Recognize ‘Rosie the Riveters’ Picks Up Momentum,” The Atlanta Journal-Con-stitution, December 7, 2004.

“Women in War Jobs – Rosie the Riveter (1942-1945),” Ad

National Park Service Website, Rosie The Riveter / WWII Homefront National Park.

Aerial view of featured sites at Rosie The Riveter National Park.

“Yank, the Army Weekly,”

James J. Kimble and Lester C. Olson, “Visual Rhetoric Representing Rosie the Riveter: Myth and Miscon-ception in J. Howard Miller’s ‘We Can Do It!’ Poster,” Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Vol. 9, No. 4, Winter 2006, pp. 533-569.

“Rosie The Riveter: Wars and Battles, World War II Home Front,”

National Public Radio (NPR), “My Mother’s Story: Dot the Welder,” by Joyce Butler, on Morning Edition by Michael Garofalo senior producer for StoryCorps Sarah Kramer, December 15, 2006.

An excellent collection of “Rosie worker” photographs, culled from the Life magazine archive, is displayed at “The Many Faces of Rosie The Riveter, 1941-1945.”

Margaret Bourke-White, “Women in Steel” (photo-graphs), Life, August 9, 1943.

Carol Vogel, “A Billionaire’s Eye for Art Shapes Her Singular Museum,” New York Times, June 16, 2011.

Roger Hurlburt, “Monroe An Exhibit Of The Early Days Of Marilyn Monroe — Before She Became A Legend — Brings The Star`s History In Focus,” (Florida) January 6, 1991.

“USA Edition, YANK USA 1945,”, (re: note on Marilyn Monroe).

Julie Zauzmer, “Rosie The Riveter, 70 Years Later: Women Who Stepped Into Nontraditional Jobs During World War II Remember Their Work With Pride,” Washington Post, Aug. 11, 2014, p. B-1.

Joseph Berger, “Rosalind P. Walter, the First ‘Rosie the Riveter,’ Is Dead at 95,” New York Times, March 5, 2020.

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With car sales in a free fall from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, GM was losing billions and running out of cash. By the time the company closed its books on 2008 it would be in the red by a staggering $30.9 billion. Chief executive Rick Wagoner led the auto delegation in Washington seeking government funding to save the industry and keep GM out of bankruptcy.

Five years later, after an unprecedented government equity investment, GM is thriving and the Treasury plans to sell its remaining stake in the coming months. With countless articles and books now written about the GM restructuring and turnaround--not to mention three years of trumpeting by the Obama Administration taking full credit for the turnaround's success--the most startling aspect of the prevailing narrative is that the core of how the restructuring really happened, inside GM, is yet to be fully told.

In the popular version of the company's turnaround story, as GM teetered toward liquidation in 2009, an Obama-appointed SWAT team, led by financier Steven Rattner, swept in and hatched a radical plan: Through a novel use of the bankruptcy code they would save the company by segregating and spinning out its valuable assets, while Washington furnished billions in taxpayer funds to make sure the company was viable.

The real GM turnaround story, significant in saving the auto industry and the economy, is contrary to the one that has been published. In fact, the plan that was developed, implemented and then funded by the government was devised inside GM well before President Obama took office. In what follows, the inside story of this historic chapter in American business unfolds, laying bare the key facts.

GM's extraordinary turnaround began long before Wagoner went to Washington in search of a massive loan to keep GM alive. My involvement in that story began in GM's darkest days, five years ago on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2008, when I visited Wagoner at his home that morning, presenting a novel plan to save General Motors.

As a consultant with expertise in restructurings and turnarounds, I had completed a half-dozen assignments at GM over the years. I had worked with Wagoner in 1992 when he became chief financial officer. I was asked to come in for a two-year stint as CEO of GM's National Car Rental, the first time GM had recruited an outsider to lead a turnaround in one of its subsidiaries.

By 2008 I had over 20 years of experience with the auto industry and almost 30 years of working on turnarounds. But for the past eight years I had backed away from business and my firm, AlixPartners, to care for my daughters after the death of my wife. I was essentially "retired." But GM's enveloping crisis and my friendship with Wagoner would bring me out.

Early on that November Sunday I called Wagoner at his home in a Detroit suburb. I asked to see him right away, explaining that I had a new idea that could help save the company.

Three hours later I walked through his front door and into his family room. I knew Wagoner believed GM could not survive a bankruptcy. Studies showed consumer confidence would crash. No one would buy a car from a company that was bankrupt. However, what I knew about the economic crisis and GM's rapidly deteriorating liquidity position told me the company had no choice but to prepare for a bankruptcy.

Yet I agreed with Wagoner. For a global company as big and complex as GM, a "normal" bankruptcy would tie up the company's affairs for years, driving away customers, resulting in a tumultuous liquidation. It had happened to other companies a fraction of GM's size. It would mean the end of GM.

"I don't think the company will survive a bankruptcy," he told me. "And no one has shown me a plan that would allow it to survive a bankruptcy."

"Filing bankruptcy may be inevitable, Rick. But it doesn't have to be a company-killing bankruptcy," I said. "I think we can create a unique strategy that allows GM to survive bankruptcy."

To be sure, my idea, sketched out on a few pages, was provocative. I knew as I pitched it to Wagoner that it might raise eyebrows, if not outright objection, from others who believed their plans would be safer.

In short, I proposed that GM split into two very separate parts before filing: "NewCo," a new company with a clean balance sheet, taking on GM's best brands and operations and "OldCo," the leftover GM with most of the liabilities. All of the operational restructuring to make the new company profitable would also occur before a bankruptcy filing so GM could go through bankruptcy in a matter of days--not months or years with creditors and other litigants fighting over the corporate carcass while the revenue line crashes.

Seeking funding from the government, or any source, we would use Bankruptcy Code Section 363, which allows a company to sell assets under a court-approved sale. Typically, 363 is used to sell specific assets, from a chair and desk to a factory or division, but not the entire stand-alone company. Under this strategy GM could postpone filing a plan of reorganization and a disclosure statement, which consume months and fuel a blizzard of litigation while market share and enterprise value bleed away.

Wagoner listened, challenging every assumption. After discussing it with board members, Rick asked me to come to GM and work on the plan, one of several alternatives GM would consider. I volunteered to help GM on a pro bono basis. But what I could never anticipate was how deep and strong the opposition to my plan would ultimately be.

On Tuesday, Dec. 2, I pulled into GM's Detroit headquarters at 7 a.m. after most of the company's executives had already arrived for work. I was given a small cubicle and conference room on the 38th floor, a spacious but empty place that held GM's corporate boardroom and a warren of cubicles reserved for visiting executives and board members.

Each day I would be the sole person who got off the elevator on 38, one floor down from where Wagoner and his team worked. It was eerie and quiet, the main wall lined with large oil paintings of GM's past chairmen. I'd walk past those gilded frames daily, feeling the full weight of their gaze, reminded of the history and past glory of what had been the most powerful corporation on earth.

Spending 18 hours a day digging through the numbers in GM's filings, I began working in greater detail on the outlines of the plan and making some assumptions on what assets should be transferred to NewCo and what would stay in OldCo, which I dubbed Motors Liquidation. There were thousands of crucial questions that had to be asked and answered with management: Which brands and factories would survive? Which ones would the company have to give up? What would be the endgame strategy? What would be the enterprise value of NewCo? The liquidation value of OldCo?

Wagoner and COO Fritz Henderson were developing three alternative plans. First, they hoped to avoid bankruptcy altogether, believing the government would provide enough funding to bring GM through the crisis. At least two cabinet members in the Bush Administration and others had provided assurances to Rick and board members that government help would be forthcoming.

Second was a "prepackaged" bankruptcy plan being developed by general counsel Robert Osborne with Harvey R. Miller, the dean of the bankruptcy bar and senior partner at Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Under this plan, GM would prepare a reorganization in cooperation with its bond creditors that would take effect once the company went into a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The goal of a so-called prepack is to shorten and simplify the bankruptcy process.

Miller commanded great respect in bankruptcy circles and in the GM boardroom, and for good reason. At the age of 75 Miller was the only attorney in the country who had successfully dealt with as many high-profile bankruptcies. Miller was already in the middle of the largest corporate liquidation ever, at Lehman Brothers.

And third was the NewCo plan, based on years of ?experience at AlixPartners, where we had a major role in 50 of the 180 largest bankruptcies over $1 billion in the past 15 years. GM had also retained Martin Bienenstock, the restructuring and corporate governance leader from Dewey & LeBoeuf, to help develop the NewCo plan as well.

Inside and outside GM, the pressures mounted. Each day the company lost more money and got closer to running out of cash. In Washington several prominent politicians began calling for Wagoner's resignation. On Dec. 7 Senator Chris Dodd, the Connecticut Democrat, told Face the Nation' s Bob Schieffer that Wagoner had to move on.

The next day I went to see Wagoner to offer encouragement and advice. It is not unusual for a CEO to lose his job when his company is forced into bankruptcy and a major restructuring. I'd seen this play out many times before and learned the boss should never volunteer his resignation without first putting in place the things that would help the organization survive. I wanted to help fortify Rick's resolve and keep us all focused on the endgame.

From my perspective Wagoner had been unfairly treated by many politicians and the media. Since taking over as CEO in 2000, working closely with Fritz and vice chairman Bob Lutz, Rick orchestrated large, dramatic changes at the company. They closed GM's quality, productivity and fuel-economy gaps with the world's best automakers, winning numerous car and truck awards. They built a highly profitable business in China, the world's biggest potential car market. They reduced the company's workforce by 143,000 employees, to 243,000. They reached a historic agreement with the UAW that cut in half hourly pay for new employees and significantly scaled back the traditional retiree benefit packages that had been crippling the company, while also funding over $100 billion in unfunded retiree obligations. And he was able to accomplish all these changes without causing massive disruptions among GM's dealers or major strikes with the unions.

Ultimately, those structural changes positioned the company not only to survive but also to bring about the extraordinary turnaround. But now, with the economy and the company in free fall, all of that hard work seemed to be forgotten.

It was late in the day on Dec. 8, around 5:30 p.m., when I walked into Wagoner's office.

"Rick, do not resign or even offer to resign," I told him. "Later you may have to fall on your sword to get the funding deal done with the government, but don't do it until we get the three things we need. If you're going to be killed on the battlefield, we need to make it worth it."

"And what is that exactly?" he pressed me.

"We have to get government funding of $40 billion to $50 billion. Plus, we need an agreement with the government and GM's board to do the NewCo plan. And we must put a qualified successor in place. It must be Fritz and not some government guy. It's going to be painful for you, but you've got to stay on the horse until we get all three."

Wagoner was already there. He had no intention of resigning and was determined to complete his mission. I gave him a bear hug, letting him know he had my full support.

When we gathered for a telephonic board meeting on Dec. 15, the mood was urgent, the tension high. Only two weeks after arriving at GM I was about to present the plan to the board of directors in a conference room outside Wagoner's office. Also on the phone were the company's lawyers and investment bankers.

A Spiderphone was in the middle of the table for what would be a historic meeting of the board. Only three days earlier the Senate had abandoned negotiations to provide funding for the auto industry. Suddenly a free-fall bankruptcy within days loomed large. Consideration of the NewCo plan, now refined with the help of chief financial officer Ray Young and other senior finance staffers, took on greater urgency as we were just two weeks away from running out of cash.

"I know the company has many lawyers and bankers working on other approaches," I said. "I know many of the people doing the work, and I've worked with many of them over the years. But I have an alternative strategy for the board's consideration. I suspect there might be some controversy over it, but I believe this could be lifesaving for General Motors."

After carefully laying out the details and time sequence of the NewCo plan, I drew to a close.

"Well," one director asked over the phone system, "I want to hear what Harvey Miller has to say about this. Is there a precedent for this, Mr. Miller?"

Miller's deep baritone voice filled the room, pointing out that the idea was unorthodox and lacked precedence.

Other attorneys chimed in, claiming the plan oversimplified the situation and there would be major problems with it. Yet another added that this would not be viewed well by the court and doubted any judge would allow it. Collectively, they characterized it as a long shot, discouraging the directors from thinking the plan could ever succeed.

Hearing all the disapproving words amplified from speakers in the ceiling, I felt ambushed by general counsel Osborne, who was strongly advocating for a prepackaged bankruptcy strategy, which he believed was the only way to go. Unbeknownst to me he had previously proposed the idea to GM's board, naively believing GM could complete a prepack bankruptcy in 30 days.

GM's most senior leaders had been working with me on the NewCo plan around the clock. I felt strongly this alternative approach could succeed, and I knew that any other type of Chapter 11 strategy would kill vehicle sales and lead to the demise of GM. Now it seemed as if the NewCo plan could be dead on arrival.

"If the attorneys feel this is a waste of time and corporate resources, I don't know why we would pursue this," stated another director.

A chilling silence descended upon the room, broken by Kent Kresa, the former CEO of Northrop Grumman and a GM board member since 2003.

"I understand this has some risk attached to it, but we're in a very risky state right now," he said. "And I understand it may even be unusual and unprecedented. But it's certainly creative, and quite frankly, it's the most innovative idea we've heard so far that has real potential in it. I think it deserves further consideration and development."

Rick then addressed another lawyer on the call, Martin Bienenstock.

"Well, I've actually studied the problem, too, and there's a way for this to work," said Bienenstock. "Almost all bankruptcies are unique and the Code does allow for the transfer of assets. I can't imagine a judge taking on this problem and not wanting to solve it. We've done a preliminary analysis, and it's not as crazy as it sounds. It's unique and compelling."

"Okay, we've heard both sides of it," Rick said after others spoke, smartly bringing the debate to a reasonable close. "I suggest we continue working to develop both the prepack plan and the NewCo option, while seeking the funding to avoid Chapter 11 if at all possible."

The meeting adjourned without a vote. I left the room disappointed to hear Osborne's legal chorus so dead set against NewCo and surprised their remarks had stopped all real discussion of the plan. But I also was relieved the plan was not completely dead, at least not yet.

Over the next weeks I worked closely with Bienenstock, assistant general counsel Mike Millikin, Al Koch of AlixPartners and GM senior vice president John Smith on the NewCo plan. We huddled dozens of times with Wagoner and Henderson to work out which brands GM would ultimately have to give up (Hummer, Saturn, Saab and Pontiac) and which ones it would keep (Chevrolet, Cadillac, GMC and Buick). Informed debate and deep analysis of structural costs led to decisions about projects, factories, brands and countries.

On Sunday afternoon, Mar. 29, Wagoner called me. It was a call I had hoped would never come--but here it was.

"Jay," he said, "I wanted to give you a heads-up. The Administration wants me to step aside. The President is going to hold a press conference tomorrow morning."

Wagoner told me Henderson would be named CEO.

"What about the bankruptcy?" I asked.

"They're enamored with the 363 NewCo plan. They seem bound and determined to make us file Chapter 11 and do NewCo. . This is really tough," he said.

"I'm so sorry," I said, pausing, "but . you got the money. They're doing the NewCo plan, and Fritz is your successor. . You've succeeded. You got the three things."

Rick responded with resigned acknowledgment, then said, "Please help Fritz in any way you can," before hanging up.

Rick's personal sacrifice was not in vain. Months of hard work had paid off. The assets and liabilities had been selected. The NewCo legal entities and $45 billion tax-loss strategy had been developed. The strategy I pitched to Wagoner in his living room four and a half months earlier was the plan chosen by Team Auto in a meeting on Apr. 3, 2009 in Washington. Treasury agreed to fully fund NewCo with equity, and thus it became the chosen path to save the company.

By late April NewCo implementation was well under way. The bankruptcy filing would occur in New York within weeks. My partner, Al Koch of AlixPartners, would become the chief restructuring officer running OldCo, now officially named Motors Liquidation, Inc. In my notes, I jotted: "My work is finished . impact from this day forward will be negligible. . Treasury's in control. Time to get back to my girls."

On June 1, 2009 General Motors filed for bankruptcy in New York, with $82 billion in assets and $173 billion in liabilities. It was the largest industrial bankruptcy in history. Harvey Miller and his team masterfully defended and guided the NewCo plan through the bankruptcy court, successfully making it their own. New GM exited bankruptcy protection on July 10, 2009--in a mere 40 days, as designed. Fritz called and thanked me.

There would be many other twists and turns to GM's narrative, but the company got its fresh start using the NewCo plan, and the industry was saved with government funding from both Presidents Bush and Obama. In March 2009 President Obama cited a "failure of leadership" as his reason for forcing out Wagoner. In fact, it was Wagoner's exercise of leadership through years of wrenching change and then simultaneously seeking government funding while developing three restructuring plans that put GM in position to survive the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression and complete its turnaround, which, ironically, became a key campaign issue in the reelection of Barack Obama in 2012.

Horse-Riding Librarians Were the Great Depression’s Bookmobiles

Their horses splashed through iced-over creeks. Librarians rode up into the Kentucky mountains, their saddlebags stuffed with books, doling out reading material to isolated rural people. The Great Depression had plunged the nation into poverty, and Kentucky—a poor state made even poorer by a paralyzed national economy—was among the hardest hit.

The Pack Horse Library initiative, which sent librarians deep into Appalachia, was one of the New Deal’s most unique plans. The project, as implemented by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), distributed reading material to the people who lived in the craggy, 10,000-square-mile portion of eastern Kentucky. The state already trailed its neighbors in electricity and highways. And during the Depression, food, education and economic opportunity were even scarcer for Appalachians.

They also lacked books: In 1930, up to 31 percent of people in eastern Kentucky couldn’t read. Residents wanted to learn, notes historian Donald C. Boyd. Coal and railroads, poised to industrialize eastern Kentucky, loomed large in the minds of many Appalachians who were ready to take part in the hoped prosperity that would bring. "Workers viewed the sudden economic changes as a threat to their survival and literacy as a means of escape from a vicious economic trap," writes Boyd. 

This presented a challenge: In 1935, Kentucky only circulated one book per capita compared to the American Library Association standard of five to ten, writes historian Jeanne Cannella Schmitzer,. It was "a distressing picture of library conditions and needs in Kentucky," wrote Lena Nofcier, who chaired library services for the Kentucky Congress of Parents and Teachers at the time.

There had been previous attempts to get books into the remote region. In 1913, a Kentuckian named May Stafford solicited money to take books to rural people on horseback, but her project only lasted one year. Local Berea College sent a horse-drawn book wagon into the mountains in the late teens and early 1920s. But that program had long since ended by 1934, when the first WPA-sponsored packhorse library was formed in Leslie County.

Unlike many New Deal projects, the packhorse plan required help from locals. "Libraries" were housed any in facility that would step up, from churches to post offices. Librarians manned these outposts, giving books to carriers who then climbed aboard their mules or horses, panniers loaded with books, and headed into the hills. They took their job as seriously as mail carriers and crossed streams in wintry conditions, feet frozen in the stirrups. 

Carriers rode out at least twice a month, with each route covering 100 to 120 miles a week. Nan Milan, who carried books in an eight-mile radius from the Pine Mountain Settlement School, a boarding school for mountain children, joked that the horses she rode had shorter legs on one side than the other so that they wouldn't slide off of the steep mountain paths. Riders used their own horses or mules-—the Pine Mountain group had a horse named Sunny Jim—or leased them from neighbors. They earned $28 a month—around $495 in modern dollars.

The books and magazines they carried usually came from outside donations. Nofcier requested them through the local parent-teacher association. She traveled around the state, asking people in more affluent and accessible regions to help their fellow Kentuckians in Appalachia. She asked for everything: books, magazines, Sunday school materials, textbooks. Once the precious books were in a library’s collection, librarians did everything they could to preserve them. They repaired books, repurposing old Christmas cards as bookmarks so people would be less likely to dog-ear pages.

Soon, word of the campaign spread, and books came from half of the states in the country. A Kentuckian who had moved to California sent 500 books as a memorial to his mother. One Pittsburgh benefactor collected reading material and told a reporter stories she'd heard from packhorse librarians. "Let the book lady leave us something to read on Sundays and at night when we get through hoeing the corn," one child asked, she said. Others sacrificed to help the project, saving pennies for a drive to replenish book stocks and buy four miniature hand-cranked movie machines.

When materials became too worn to circulate, librarians made them into new books. They pasted stories and pictures from the worn books into binders, turning them into new reading material. Recipes, also pasted into binders and circulated throughout the mountains, proved so popular that Kentuckians started scrapbooks of quilt patterns, too.

In 1936, packhorse librarians served 50,000 families, and, by 1937, 155 public schools. Children loved the program many mountain schools didn't have libraries, and since they were so far from public libraries, most students had never checked out a book. "'Bring me a book to read,' is the cry of every child as he runs to meet the librarian with whom he has become acquainted," wrote one Pack Horse Library supervisor. "Not a certain book, but any kind of book. The child has read none of them."  

"The mountain people loved Mark Twain," says Kathi Appelt, who co-wrote a middle-grade book about the librarians with Schmitzer, in a 2002 radio interview. "One of the most popular books…was Robinson Crusoe.” Since so many adults could not read, she noted, illustrated books were among the most beloved. Illiterate adults relied on their literate children to help decipher them.

Ethel Perryman supervised women's and professional projects at London, Kentucky during the WPA years. "Some of the folks who want books live back in the mountains, and they use the creek beds for travel as there are no roads to their places, " she wrote to the president of Kentucky's PTA. “They carry books to isolated rural schools and community centers, picking up and replenishing book stocks as they go so that the entire number of books circulate through the county "  

The system had some challenges, Schmitzer writes: Roads could be impassable, and one librarian had to hike her 18-mile route when her mule died. Some mountain families initially resisted the librarians, suspicious of outsiders riding in with unknown materials. In a bid to earn their trust, carriers would read Bible passages aloud. Many had only heard them through oral tradition, and the idea that the packhorse librarians could offer access to the Bible cast a positive light on their other materials. (Boyd’s research is also integral to understanding these challenges)

"Down Hell-for-Sartin Creek they start to deliver readin' books to fifty-seven communities," read one 1935 newspaper caption underneath a picture of riders. "The intelligence of the Kentucky mountaineer is keen," wrote a contemporary reporter. "All that has ever been said about him to the contrary notwithstanding, he is honest, truthful, and God-fearing, but bred to peculiar beliefs which are the basis of one of the most fascinating chapters in American Folklore. He grasped and clung to the Pack Horse Library idea with all the tenacity of one starved for learning."   

The Pack Horse Library ended in 1943 after Franklin Roosevelt ordered the end of the WPA. The new war effort was putting people back to work, so WPA projects—including the Pack Horse Library—tapered off. That marked the end of horse-delivered books in Kentucky, but by 1946, motorized bookmobiles were on the move. Once again, books rode into the mountains, and, according to the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Kentucky’s public libraries had 75 bookmobiles in 2014—the largest number in the nation.

About Eliza McGraw

Eliza McGraw is the author of Here Comes Exterminator! which is about the 1918 Kentucky Derby winner. She lives in Washington.

Decades before fast-food chains got the idea to supersize their fries and sodas, the bedding industry set out to upsize mattresses.

Even into the 1940s, Americans slept primarily on twin or double beds. Occasionally, the mattress industry promoted the idea of purchasing two new twins&mdasha not-so-subtle way of getting consumers to buy twice as much bedding. Frankly, the idea never got much traction.

Midway through the decade, manufacturers began to introduce larger mattresses (later called and standardized as &ldquoqueen&rdquo and &ldquoking&rdquo), but the bigger beds didn&rsquot make much of an impact on the market until the 1950s.

&ldquoWe attempt to show the customer that he needs a bigger mattress and spring,&rdquo said William London, owner of Cleveland-based London Furniture & Carpet Co. in a November 1954 article in Bedding Merchandiser magazine. &ldquoWe point out to the reluctant ones that for a few additional dollars more than he had budgeted, he can assure himself comfortable sleeping.&rdquo

An unidentified manufacturer helped spread the bigger bed message.

The retailer did a good business in supersize mattresses priced from $69 to $79. &ldquoThe customer is advised it will cost him only one dollar more each additional inch of length,&rdquo London said. Same deal for a wider bed: $1 more for an extra inch across.

A number of forces were merging to create demand for roomier mattresses, among them the fact that Americans were getting larger themselves. An October 1963 article in Bedding magazine reported that in 1900, only 4% of adult men in the United States were 6 feet or taller. By 1959, the number was 20% and women were growing taller at similar rates.

Then there were the post-war economic booms: Consumers were eager to outfit those big houses in the sprawling suburbs with new furniture.

Bedding magazine featured this herculean promotion on the April 1956 cover.

Finally, bedding manufacturers had allies in wanting to significantly boost sales of mattresses, particularly the supersizes. After a hiatus of several years, the National Association of Bedding Manufacturers brought back Better Sleep Month in 1961 and enlisted the help of several groups&mdashthe United States Steel Corp., the Latex Foam Rubber Council of the Rubber Manufacturers Association and the Cotton Batting Institute&mdashto support and promote it. Those groups represented many companies that ramped up production capacity during the wars and wanted to keep those factories busy while meeting the needs of the burgeoning middle class.

&ldquoWhat this country needs is larger beds and smaller cars&mdashand we already have the latter. But in bedding, width is now even more important than length. Too many people are still sleeping two in a &lsquofull-size&rsquo bed that provides only 27 inches&mdashor crib space&mdashfor each person,&rdquo J. Paul Fanning, NABM secretary and general manager said during a meeting held in May 1961 to discuss further revisions to bedding-size standards to include both &ldquoconventional&rdquo and &ldquooversize&rdquo mattresses, foundations and frames. That line comparing full-size beds to cribs was a winner, repeated regularly by the industry in PR efforts.

The mattress industry encouraged consumers to upgrade to larger bedding in September 1962 with &ldquoMeasure Your Mattress Month.&rdquo

The next year, the industry went even bigger&mdashpardon the pun&mdashto encourage consumers to upgrade to new, larger-size bedding. NABM deemed Better Sleep Month &ldquoMeasure Your Mattress Month&rdquo with a &ldquoBuy Bigger, Sleep Better!&rdquo tagline and planned one of the largest industry PR efforts ever. Again, the outside groups offered both financial and tactical support and were joined by others, including Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., Bethlehem Steel and the National Retail Furniture Association. There was an enormous multimedia push with press kits sent to more than 2,500 newspapers and magazines and scripts prepped for TV and radio stations nationwide. Manufacturers and retailers were encouraged to create their own promotional events, tied to the industry&rsquos larger message.

The campaign was an enormous success: In 1953, king-size bedding represented less than 1% of overall bedding sales in the United States, according to an article in the October 1963 issue of Bedding. In 1961, it had risen to 5.5% and just a year later, it accounted for 10% of sales. Big gains, indeed.

Watch the video: Best of FIR - एफ. आई. आर - Ep 42 - 30th May, 2017 (July 2022).


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