Inspiration for ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Poster Dies at 96

Rosie the riveter poster / Wikimedia Commons


A California waitress who inspired the iconic "Rosie the Riveter" poster died on Saturday at the age of 96.

Naomi Parker Fraley, who was only recently identified as the "real" Rosie, passed away in Longview, Wash., the New York Times reported.

Fraley, like many women during WWII, went to work after the Japanese invaded Pearl Harbor. She first saw the poster J. Howard Miller created while she was working at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, Calif., and thought it resembled her.

In 2010, Fraley was attending a reunion event when saw the newspaper photograph of the woman the Rosie poster was believed to have been based on, and immediately knew it was her.

Photo that inspired "Rosie the Riveter" / Wikimedia Commons


"I couldn’t believe it," Fraley told the Oakland Tribune in 2016. "I knew it was actually me in the photo."

Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai tweeted out a message in recognition of Fraley on Tuesday, sharing a picture of the real Rosie with the iconic poster.

For decades before, a Michigan woman named Geraldine Hoff Doyle had been believed to be the woman wearing work clothes and polka dot bandana in the picture. However, in 2016, Seton Hall University Professor James Kimble published an article called "Rosie’s Secret Identity," which debunked Doyle’s claims and identified Fraley as the real Rosie.  

In the original photo obtained by Kimble, the caption read, "Pretty Naomi Parker looks like she might catch her nose in the turret lathe she is operating." 

Joe Blankenship, Fraley’s son, said he’s glad his mom got the recognition she deserves after so many years.

"I grew up with this woman, so she was special to me because of who she was," Blankenship said.

Katelyn Caralle

Katelyn Caralle   Email Katelyn | Full Bio | RSS
Katelyn Caralle is a media analyst at the Washington Free Beacon. Before joining Free Beacon, Katelyn worked as a Digital Strategy Intern at The Heritage Foundation. She graduated from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2016 where she served as Editor-in-Chief of The Voice.

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