Posts filed under LABOR HISTORY

Will the Real Rosie the Riveter Please Stand Up (Or, Better Yet, Sit and Enjoy a Well-Earned Lunch Break)

Courtesy of labor historian Erik Loomis, here's an informative background piece on Rosie's origin.

Among other points, Loomis reminds us that the "We Can Do It" image most often associated with Rosie today (lower left) is not the original. In fact, the "We Can Do It" Rosie has some troubling not-so-worker-friendly origins in a company propaganda campaign by the Westinghouse Corporation.

The original Rosie portrait (upper right) was the creation of Norman Rockwell, and appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1943.

Both Rosies have become iconic, and the "We Can Do It" image's corporate associations have long been buried under a bigger and better message of self-empowerment for women.

But Rockwell's Rosie is the original. And she looks it, too, in a distinctly American way. Rockwell could get a bit schmaltzy at times, but his best work, including Rosie, captures a unique combination of the heroic and the wise-ass, displayed in a single attitude. His Rosie poses proudly in front of the flag, holding a classic profile. But she's not going to drop that sandwich, either! And who's gonna tell her she has to? There's no doubt she's earned it.

Posted on September 28, 2015 and filed under LABOR HISTORY.

Great Recent Labor Reporting In Words and Pictures

If you missed it earlier, take some time to check out this great Seattle Times piece featuring women working in traditionally male trade jobs. Interviews and stories by Susan Kelleher, photo work by Bettina Hansen.

The women and the jobs featured range from ironworker to electrician to wild-land firefighter, and include a couple of original "Rosie the Riveters" who got their start at Boeing back during World War Two. The story helps show both how far women have come (see illustration above) and the challenges they still face.

There's also a bonus "Behind the Byline" piece by Bettina, in which she talks about the equipment and approach she used to create the photos. It's a nice extra, interesting both from a technical point of view, for photography buffs, but also very much in keeping with the labor theme; literally, the story of the work that goes into creating what you see.

The piece was originally published in the September 6, 2015 edition of Pacific NW, the Seattle Times Sunday magazine supplement. If you've a mind to get yourself a nice glossy-paper original, the helpful folks in back issues can be contacted here.

Posted on September 24, 2015 and filed under SEATTLE TIMES, LABOR HISTORY.