What Is the Real Rosie the Riveter Story?

by Matilda Butler on January 23, 2018

Post #89. Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

According to news reports today, the real Rosie the Riveter has just died at the age of 96.

But wait a minute. Just a few years ago, newspapers reported that Geraldine Doyle, the real Rosie the Riveter, had died. We even wrote a blog post about her that we called: Geraldine Hoff Doyle: We Take Our Hats (Oops, Bandanas) Off to You

But Before We Go On…
Articles are announcing the death of Naomi Parker Fraley, the woman who is currently thought to be the inspiration for J. Howard Miller’s now-famous “We Can Do It” poster. But before we carry our own article, we want to propose that the real story is how Rosie the Riveter lives on in all the strong, empowered, courageous women in history, in the present, and in the future.

We cannot write this post without acknowledging the strength of the current #METOO movement and the broader recognition of the vital need for women’s voices in positions of power. Who would not become emotional seeing the gymnasts read their statements condemning their coach-abuser. Who would not cheer the women who have stepped up to run for political office. Who would not be ashamed for the tolerance of men who failed to promote women, who paid women less than men in the same job, who used their power to silence women. Who would not acknowledge that men have emotionally and sexually abused women in marriages and relationships as well as at work.

No more.

Women are speaking up and out. We must all do what we can. We all need to show our inner Rosie the Riveter. We need everyone to know that “We Can Do It!”

Today, we are again reminded of Abigail Adams’s March 31, 1776 letter to John Adams where she wrote these words of admonition:

…remember the ladies…all men would be tyrants if they could.

We appreciate the Rosie the Riveter icon for reminding us of our inner powers that we express.

Now, Here’s the Story about Naomi Parker Fraley

Naomi Parker was a sister-Oklahoman. She was born in Tulsa in 1921 to Esther Leis and Joseph Parker. Naomi, along with her parents and seven siblings moved around the country until finally calling Alameda home. In 1942, just months after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Naomi and her sister Ada began work at the nearby Naval Air Station.

One day, an Acme photo agency photographer took a picture of Naomi while she was working at a lathe. That photo was published in the Oakland Post-Enquirer.

Decades later, James Kimble, a professor of communication at Seton Hall University in New Jersey researched the “We Can Do It!” poster that eventually became a feminist symbol. He knew of the photograph that was thought to be Geraldine Doyle but could not find a copy of it that included the original caption. Thanks to the Internet, he eventually found an antique newspaper dealer and was able to have a specific date, a place, and text. The article, published March 24, 1942, said:

“Pretty Naomi Parker looks like she might catch her nose in the turret lathe she is operating.”

The article went on to say, that women wore “safety clothes instead of feminine frills…And the girls don’t mind - they’re doing their part. Glamour is secondary these days.”

When Kimble went in search of Naomi Parker, he assumed she had died. But much to his surprise, he found that she was alive and well and living (once again) in Alameda. Kimble, upon the advice of his wife (women are so smart), made an appointment to meet Naomi (then Naomi Parker Fraley) and brought her a bouquet of flowers. She was thrilled that someone acknowledged her story that she was the face behind J. Howard Miller’s poster.

And now we have another part of the Rosie the Riveter story.

May All the Rosie the Riveters and Their Spirit of Empowerment, Courage, and Strength Flourish Forever.

PS We so like the strength in Abigail Adams’s words that we have just created a feminist tee showing Abigail as a young woman along with her quote. If you are interested, here’s a link to our Stand With Woman etsy store where we are selling the Abigail Adams t-shirt and other feminist items.


Stand with Women

by Matilda Butler on December 1, 2017

Post #88. Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Over the past 10 years, Kendra and I have talked with women about their life experiences, we’ve coached women who wanted to write their memoirs, and we’ve developed products as an outgrowth of the collective memoir we wrote about women born during WW2 — women who are often referred to as the “First Woman To” Generation.

So many of the stories we hear are intertwined with stories of abuse and sexual harassment in all its forms–from family members, boyfriends, husbands, employers, co-workers, etc. These are individual stories until there becomes a movement, a public statement from so many women that their stories become a collective story. There will be progress and there will be setbacks to bring about change, to stop the abuse and harassment. But no matter what, we Stand with Women.

Kendra and I have a much longer history of involvement in women’s issues than the past 10 years–more than 80 years if you combine them. And while we anticipate helping women at many levels in the coming years, we’ve decided that one thing we can do right now is to create a series of products that will allow all of us to show we support strong, courageous, empowered women…much as we have done with our Rosie the Riveter line of products.

We will soon be announcing the opening our of STAND WITH WOMEN store on etsy. This is an outgrowth of our years of involvement in women’s issues. Although our store isn’t officially open, we are posting a few products as specials. We are currently designing new enamel pins, socks, and t-shirts.

If you have a favorite feminist quote, or your own statement that you would like us to consider for our line of t-shirts, please send us an email at: Matilda(at)RosiesDaughters(dot)com. Or, you can put your quote in the Comment box at the end of this post.

While we are complete our design work, we thought you might be interested in some specials based on our “We Can Do It!” Rosie the Riveter product line. I’ve listed them below. You will notice that each of these has a price lower than on our RosiesLegacyGear etsy store. We’ve done this to celebrate our soon-to-be-official Stand With Women store.

(1) A special on 4 “We Can Do It!” FEMINIST MUGS that is 60% OFF. These are fabulous to use or to give.


(2) A 25% OFF offer on our “We Can Do It!” socks. These are the ones we call Rosie’s Toesies. I don’t know how long we’ll continue this low price, so you might want to go check them out. They make great stocking stuffers and Secret Santa gifts.


(3) Our retro style Rosie the Riveter AUTHENTIC PIN lets you show the world you are a strong, independent, empowered woman. In celebration of the anticipated opening of our STAND WITH WOMEN Etsy store, we are offering this pin at a 50% DISCOUNT for a limited time. We continue to sell it at its regular price on our RosiesLegacyGear etsy store. So this is just a special for visiting our soon to be opened store.


We hope you’ll share our Stand With Women news with your friends and family and join us today in celebrating Rosie the Riveter and all the strong, courageous, empowered women everywhere.


Top 5 Halloween Costume Tips

by Matilda Butler on October 10, 2017

Post #87. Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Who will you be this Halloween?

October is here and that means Halloween will arrive soon. Thinking about your Halloween costume? We’ve got five Halloween costume tips for you:

Tip #1: Be sure your costume is comfortable. Some costumes look great when you are standing in front of the mirror, but what about when you are at work that day or going to a party in the evening, or walking with your children while they trick or treat?

Tip #2: Make sure you are safe in your costume. Some masks make it difficult to see and elaborate headdresses can hinder your ability to move around safely. Long costumes may get in the way when you climb steps or want to dance and long sleeves that hang down over your hands can be a problem when it is time to snack or eat a meal.

Tip #3: Let your costume help you make a statement. You want others to recognize your costume and know that it is a reflection of who you are and your values.

Tip #4: Consider how your costume might work with your group of friends or your children. Find something that can be appropriate for different ages.

Tip #5: Decide on a cost effective costume. How about a costume with elements you can incorporate into your wardrobe after Halloween is over? Avoid costumes made of cheap materials that just end up being thrown away or stashed forever in the back of your closet.

We’ve got a costume that meets all of these Halloween considerations. It’s our newly released ROSIE THE RIVETER HALLOWEEN COSTUME KIT.

[Click here to see our costume, available in our store on etsy.]

Meeting Tip #1: Rosie’s Costume Kit provides all the accessories for a definitely comfortable outfit. This is what Rosie and millions of working women wore to their jobs in factories during World War II.

Meeting Tip #2: Safety was critical during WW2 as well as today. Rosie the Riveter’s bandana was important to keep her hair away from machinery. She wore boots or workshoes. No high heels that may trip you up on a Halloween evening.

Meeting Tip #3: Halloween is a great time to make a statement about who you are and what matters to you. Rosie the Riveter is a symbol of strength, courage, and empowerment. That’s a fabulous message to share with friends, co-workers, family, and even strangers who see you in your “We Can Do It!” costume.

Meeting Tip #4: Group costume. Rosie and her colleagues all dressed similarly. You can do the same thing. You and a friend, or several friends, might all go as Rosie the Riveter. Or how about you and your daughter? We even have a great photo of a mother and son. It’s never too early to show respect for strong women.

Meeting Tip #5: Cost effectiveness. Some costumes have become quite expensive and are usually a one-time use garment. This year, consider a Rosie costume that has high quality elements that you can use over and over again.

Actually our Rosie Costume Kit (check it out here) is currently on sale and provides BIG savings. The individual items are a $70 value that we regularly sell for $59.97. As a HALLOWEEN SPECIAL, the Costume Kit is just $39.97 this month. However, we do sell the items individually and we’ve included those links below.

With our ROSIE THE RIVETER COSTUME KIT, all you need to add is a pair of blue jeans from your drawer and a blue workshirt from your closet. You’ll be a Rosie the Riveter just as she is shown in the “We Can Do It!” poster.

Here’s what our Rosie the Riveter Costume Kit includes:


• Full-size, 100% COTTON
• 27″ x 27″ (perfect for tying Rosie style, or for wearing around your neck anytime of the year)
• Same size as the bandanas MANDATED by Department of the Army in WWII for WOW (Women Ordnance Workers)
• Random polka dot pattern researched to be just like the one Rosie wore in the famous “We Can Do It” poster
• Fabric dyed just of us to be ULTRA SOFT…And a joy to wear all year long

If you want just the bandana without the entire kit, here you go.


• Made using 3-dimensional, molded and embossed metal
• Hand-colored using enamel cloisonné technology (each one is slightly different, part of the hand process)
• Designed with a photo-etched screen print of Rosie’s image covered with clear coating
• Sized with 1.25″ diameter (just like Rosie’s original)
• Attached with single post/butterfly clutch fastener
• Unique, historically accurate, retro Rosie collar pin designed using an actual Westinghouse Electric Service employment badge, just like the one Rosie would have worn to work each day
• No one else has anything like this. You’ll feel like a real Rosie wearing this employment badge
• And wear it on your work shirt for Halloween and on your dress, sweater, vest or jacket all year long

If you just want this historically accurate WWII pin, here you go.

BTW: We wear ours all the time on shirts, sweaters, jackets, vests. It’s a great conversation starter. Our local postal clerk has worn hers on her jacket everyday for the past two years.


• 80% combed cotton, 17% nylon and 3% spandex
• Women’s, Men’s, Toddlers/Youths sizes (you choose)
• Norman Rockwell’s famous Saturday Evening Post cover of May 29, 1943 shows Rosie the Riveter wearing red socks. That made socks a must-have accessory.
• We added a few polka dots, figuring these were her second pair and so much more fun to wear than plain red. These are a NEW item and no one else has anything like this.
• And these are perfect for wearing with your favorite slacks or skirt throughout the year

If you want to purchase just these socks, here you go.

Want to see a little video about these super cute Rosie’s Toesies? Check it out!


These are totally authentic accessories–all things you can expect Rosies to have in their pockets during World War II: metal rivets, World War II ration tokens and a 1943 steel penny

If you are going to be Rosie, you definitely want these great authentic accessories:

• 3″x4″ Red and white polka dot organza drawstring bag
• Small handful of real machinist rivets (we’ve made our own mix of various sizes and grab a handful for each order). Plus Authentic 1943 steel penny (probably used during WW2 by a Rosie or her family) and ration tokens (necessary for purchases and handled by a Rosie during the war).
• Perfect to keep in your pocket and pull out when someone mentions your costume. Show them the rivets Rosie used, a steel penny only made in 1943, and a ration token given in change)
• Two Rosie the Riveter Temporary Tattoos! Fun, fun, fun.
• After Halloween, you might want to frame and display the 1943 penny and ration tokens…real World War 2 memorability.
• Descriptive card giving you a bit of historic information

We sell these separately as well as include them in your Rosie Costume Kit. Click here to order.


• This is a fun little printed cookbook filled with recipes, history and pictures of WWII posters designed for the Homefront; we wrote and designed the cookbook.
• If you are giving a Halloween party, you’ll get ideas for your menu.
• If you are going to a Halloween party, you’ll find a dessert you can take with you to share.

[This item is not available separately. You can get a free ebook version by signing up in the column to the right.]


Wouldn’t a Rally of Rosie the Riveters Be Great to See?

by Matilda Butler on September 29, 2017

Post #86. Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

A Roomful of Rosie’s … Including You!

The “We Can Do It!” poster, portraying a strong, empowered, courageous woman, continues to be popular and speaks to all women. The Rosie the Riveter Trust and the Yankee Air Museum hold annual events featuring this woman we now all call Rosie the Riveter. These two organizations have a friendly annual event competition, each striving to hold (or break, depending on your point of view) the Guinness World Record for the Most Rosie’s Gathered in One Place.

The photos are fun to see, but wouldn’t it be even better if you could participate. The Rosie the Riveter Trust has recently concluded their event in Richmond, California. And on Saturday October 14, the Yankee Air Museum — Willow Run Bomber Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, “will attempt to set a brand new World Record for the Most Rosie the Riveters. … The reason we are gathering at Willow Run to set a World Record is to support the Yankee Air Museum’s effort to save, preserve, and renovate Rosie’s historic World War II-era Willow Run Bomber Plant near Ypsilanti, Michigan.”

For more information about the upcoming event, click here.

Meanwhile, have you seen all the Rosies gathered at the Rosie the Riveter Trust? To the left is one of the many photos taken at that terrific event.

Can’t Get to One of These Events?
You can always have your own Rosie Rally. Kendra and I have even put together a “We Can Do It!” Party Pack. Click here for details.

You Can Be a Rosie the Riveter with This Rosie Costume Kit
Thinking of going to a Halloween party as Rosie the Riveter? We have our all-new, “We Can Do It!” Rosie the Riveter Costume Kit on a special sale for Halloween. Get yours today. Just click on the image to the left, or CLICK HERE.

Why Emphsize Rosie the Riveter?
Rosie Rallies are great and help to support worthwhile organizations who feature the importance of women during WW2. And, of course, the Guinness bragging rights are nice. Donning a Rosie the Riveter costume is fabulous and fun. Hosting your own “We Can Do It!” Party is a terrific idea.

…But this is about something bigger. This is about passing on the message of strength, courage, and empowerment to the next generation of women while thanking all the women who have come before us to open doors.


Big News: Our Favorite New Rosie the Riveter Socks!

by Matilda Butler on September 3, 2017

Post #85. Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Below is a fun video. Take a peek at one family who shows how much fun you can have when you are wearing Rosie’s Toesies– our all-new Rosie the Riveter Socks.

If you are familiar with the “We Can Do It” poster, then you know that we only see Rosie from the waist up. However in the Norman Rockwell poster, we see the full Rosie the Riveter, including her red socks. It is the Rockwell version that has influenced the Rosie action figure and even the specifications from the Guinness World Records organization.

Now that several organizations, such as the Rosie the Riveter Trust and the Yankee Air Museum, host annual events to break the previous Guinness World Record for the most Rosies gathered in a single place, Rosie socks have become quite important. And according to sock rigor, the socks just have to be mainly red. They don’t need to be plain red, which is sort of boring. We’re sure that Rosie wasn’t boring.

That let us imagine what fun Rosie would have had with some polkadot socks. So, we put on our design hats and came up with something quite special. Yes, red background with large white, randomly placed polkadots. We took the blue of her work shirt and put it into the toes and heels of the socks along with the upper band.

But wait, that was all right but we wanted to include our special logo — a silhouette of Rosie the Riveter from the “We Can Do It!” poster along with our custom message, “We Can Do It! Pass It On!” After moving our logo from one location to another, we settled on its placement on the back of the sock. Just perfect! It doesn’t get in the way of the red and white polkadots and yet it is there proclaiming the powerful message of strength, courage, and empowerment.

At first, we agreed to make these socks for women. Then we talked about all the women who have contacted us over the years saying that they wanted Rosie costumes for their daughters as well. So we decided to also make these socks — now called ROSIE’S TOESIES — in a child’s size.

And the final decision? As we showed our designs to test panels, we had men tell us that they wanted to wear these spectacular socks. After all, they had mothers and wives and girlfriends and they wanted to show support for them. Well that request puzzled us for a bit. The size was easy. It was the message that seemed a bit off. You know, the “We Can Do It!” part. Then we found the obvious solution. We hope you agree with our decision. Our socks for men say, “She Can Do It! Pass It On!”

Interested in a pair of Rosie’s Toesies? We have just added them to our RosiesLegacyGear shop on Etsy. Here’s the link.

Want to get them at a special price? Sign up in the box to the right and get a $3 off coupon you can use when you purchase a pair. With Halloween coming, this is a “must have” accessory. Of course, you’ll want to start wearing them immediately. They are that much fun!


Want to Create the “We Can Do It!” Look? Check this out.

by Matilda Butler on August 2, 2017

Post #84. Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

How to Get the Rosie the Riveter Look!

It’s easy. We can show you how we got the “We Can Do It!” look.

It all started back in 2007 when Kendra and I wrote what became the award-winning collective memoir Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story. At that time, we had no idea that we’d be helping thousands of women recreate the Rosie the Riveter look of a strong, courageous, empowered, creative, resourceful woman.

ITEM #1: Rosie’s Bandana

It all began with a red and white polka dot bandana, just like the one that Rosie wore in the “We Can Do It!” poster.

Well, actually, it began when Kendra and I were invited to give presentations about our collective memoir Rosie’s Daughters. We thought it would be fun to wear a polkadot bandana. How hard could it be to find one?

Without going into all the details, it was basically impossible. Why? In the poster, Rosie’s bandana had large polka dots and they were displayed in a random pattern. Everything we could find had small polka dots and were orderly organized in rows and columns. Ugh. Rosie just wasn’t going to be put in a rigid pattern! So we decided to have a few red bandanas silk screened with white polkadots in the random pattern shown in Rosie’s poster. We did and it was fun to have something fairly close to the look we all know from the We Can Do It! World War II poster.

Then, once we got into the nitty gritty of this Rosie the Riveter look, we found that typical bandanas are 22″ x 22″ while Rosie’s was 27″ x 27″ — a size mandated by the Department of the Army. It’s the bigger size that makes it possible to easily tie the bandana around the head like Rosie did. No one wanted the women in the factories to get their hair caught in machinery so bandanas were often compulsory. And the Women Ordnance Workers (WOW) had to be doubly careful since static electricity could cause explosions. Keeping hair under a headscarf was the obvious solution.

Back to the making of our Rosie’s Legacy Bandana. Our early silk screened bandanas were fun to have. When we gave presentations about our book, we often got requests to purchase a bandana just like ours. So we have more made up and they began to sell quite well. We kept looking for ways to make a better bandana. It took us a couple of years to get everything just right — the size of the polka dots, the randomness of the pattern, the correct dimensions of the bandana, …and… finally, fabric made just for us. You can’t imagine how relieved we were to no longer have to rely on silk-screening because there simply are no screens that allowed us to print edge to edge as we now have with our soft, 100% cotton bandanas. We keep the fabric thin so that the white polkadots are visible from both sides and so the bandana is easy to tie in the necessary knot. We tried all kinds of fabric over the years and are thrilled with what we now have.

Click here if you are interested in the Rosie bandana.

For a while, we thought this was the end of the “We Can Do It!” look.

ITEM #2: Rosie’s Employment Badge/Collar Pin

But the Rosie Bandana wasn’t the end. Women, happy with their polkadot bandana, started asking us if we knew where they could find the collar pin shown on Rosie in the J. Howard Miller poster.

Take a look at the “We Can Do It!” poster. Rosie proudly displays her employment badge. She couldn’t get into work each day without wearing it. J. Howard Miller, as you probably know, was the graphic artist who drew the “We Can Do It!” poster. He had been hired by the Westinghouse Company to create a series of motivational posters that would only be displayed in the various Westinghouse factories. Each was to be displayed for two weeks. It made perfect sense for him to use one of these Westinghouse employment badges in his poster.

Again, we started researching the badges. When World War II ended, most women were given pink slips and told to turn in their employment badges as their help was no longer needed. Jobs were to go to returning veterans. Fortunately for all of us, a few women kept their badges to honor their war work and we were able to find a few (alas, a very few) on the Internet. Initially, we were able to create a pin that was similar. We designed a pin just like the actual ones worn in the Westinghouse Electric Service factory. Then we used the drawing of Rosie from the poster as the face of the employee to display. And since the artwork was done in 1942 (and displayed in February of 1943), we used 1942 as the employee number.

We were excited to offer women a collar pin made using our artwork printed on clear acetate that allowed the brushed steel of the button to show through. We loved the effect and so did the many women who purchased this item.

BUT, we knew that the real badges were made of metal and were three dimensional…not flat. We kept looking for someone who could help us make a Rosie the Riveter Employment Badge / Collar Pin that would be historically accurate. We’ve finally had success and can offer the second important item in creating the “We Can Do It!” look.

Now, our Rosie Employment Badge Collar Pins are:

• Made using 3-dimensional, molded and embossed metal
• Hand-colored using enamel cloisonné technology (each
one is slightly different, part of the hand process)
• Designed with a photo-etched screen print of Rosie’s image
covered with clear coating
• Sized with 1.25″ diameter (just like Rosie’s original)
• Attached with single post/butterfly clutch fastener
• Delivered on a full-color, commemorative card

Click here if you are interested in the Rosie Collar Pin / Employment Badge.

Now you have the two critical elements to create the “We Can Do It!” look!

What about the times when Rosie worked?

I recently found a photo showing that oranges in 1942 were selling for a penny each. Probably a special sale, but it certainly peaked my interest. So I did a little research that I thought I’d share with you.

In 1942:

New homes cost between $3770 and $6950
Average wages ran between $1800 and $2400 per year
Gas cost between 15 cents and 19 cents per gallon
Rent for a house was about $35 per month
Coke cost 5 cents a (glass) bottle
A new car cost between $920 and $1100
Bread could usually be found for 9 cents a loaf
Milk, meanwhile ran between 12 cents and 60 cents a gallon
Postage was just 3 cents a letter
The stock market? It was around 119.

As more and more materials were needed for the war effort, everyone was asked to donate scrap metal and scrap fabrics. There were regular scrap days and schools were often the donation site. Reports show that many children brought up to 10 pounds of metal weekly.

Oh, By the Way…

During the month of August (2017), we have a special sale on our Rosie Combo that gives you a great price on the combination of a Rosie the Riveter bandana and our Rosie the Riveter Collar Pin / Employment Badge.

Click here, if you are interested.


39 Uses for Your “We Can Do It!” Bandana and the Connection to Duck Tape

by Matilda Butler on June 21, 2017

Post #83. Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Let Me Count the Ways…

“What can I do with my We Can Do It! Rosie the Riveter bandana?”

That’s a question we keep getting. So, with a nod to Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Let me count the ways”, we’ve put together a list of uses for your red-and-white polka dot, “We Can Do It!” bandana. If you have additional suggestions, let us know. We’d love to add more uses to our expanding ways to celebrate Rosie the Riveter.

AND, If you read to the end of our list, we have a real treat of a story for you. It is a World War II, NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED tale of a woman ordnance worker (WOW) who made a huge difference in the lives of soldiers and sailers during the war and in most homes today. A fascinating bit of history.

[Once you read all these fun things to do with your Rosie's Legacy Bandana, you just may want one for yourself and for a friend or family member. Just click here to go to our Etsy Store where we have the authentic, red and white polka dot bandanas and even more Rosie the Riveter goodies.]

#1. Tie your Rosie’s Legacy Bandana around your head and portray your inner “We Can Do It!”

#2. Wear (on your head, as a scarf, dangling from a pocket) your Rosie Bandana to a a party and take a second one along as a hostess gift.

#3. Protect your neck from mosquitoes by tying your bandana snug around your neck.

#4. Dip your red and white polka dot bandana in a cool mountain stream (or in cold water from the faucet) and tie it around your neck on the next hot day.

#5. Pack a lunch (or two) inside your huge Rosie Bandana, tie it shut, and go for a picnic. Even better, make this “hobo style” by attaching your lunch-filled bandana to a stick and slinging your lunch over your shoulder as you walk to a nearby park.

#6. Make a purse from your bandana…perfect for the hobo chic look that’s popular.

#7. Explore the beach but keep sunburn away by protecting yourself with your bandana.

#8. Host a party and set the table with Rosie bandanas. Or roll up the individual silverware settings in bandanas and tie them with kitchen twine or a decorative ribbon. Then invite guests to take their bandanas home as a remembrance. So much better than a paper napkin.

#9. Stay warm in winter by tying a Rosie bandana over your ears.

#10. Make a bandana halter top for summer wear.

#11. Have an ache or bruise? Put a bag of frozen peas inside your bandana to make a quick ice pack. Our Rosie bandana is large enough at 27″x27″ that you can also loosely tie the pack to the affected area, keeping the cold right where you want it to be.

#12. Make a sling from your bandana if you are more seriously hurt while out in nature. It will help until you can get to the doctor.

#13. Or, if you sustain a cut, use the bandana as a tourniquet. Then get to the hospital pronto.

#14. Tie the bandana on a pole and put it in front of your house to mark the location of your party. This idea is super great when you have a get together at a nearby park where there are multiple picnic areas. Just tell your guests to look for the Rosie the Riveter Legacy Bandana.

#15. Wrap a gift in your eco-friendly bandana. No wasted paper and the person gets two gifts instead of one.

#16. Wash your hands or face with a bandana while hiking or camping. You’ll find a child loves the unexpected playfulness of a Rosie Bandana used for cleanup.

#17. Take a pillow outside and cover it with your bandana. Rock your dots on what just may become your new favorite resting spot. It’s easy to wash your bandana so you always have a clean place to put your head.

#18. Pick up interesting rocks, shells, leaves on your walks? Just pull the folded bandana out of your pocket and you have a perfect wrap for your treasures.

#19. Find yourself at a ballgame where the seat is “less than clean”? No problem. just shake out your bandana and sit on it. When you stand up no messy food crumbs or sticky soda pop areas on your skirt or pants. Meanwhile, fold in the dirty side of the bandana and wash it when you get home. No fuss. No muss.

#20. Love your dog? Treat her (or him) to a Rosie bandana. Don’t dogs look cute decked out in a bandana!

#21. Clean those smudges off your sunglasses with your We Can Do It! bandana. There’s always a corner just waiting for this application.

#22. Keep the sun off a sleeping child in the car by securing your bandana in the top of the window. Heat and glare don’t belong on your precious baby.

#23. Travel with your toddler and you just may need a makeshift bib. Keep a Rosie bandana in your purse for just such an emergency. The meal will end without having to change your precious one’s clothes!

#24. Decorate a dorm room with a couple of bandanas — over a window, on a pillow, or draped around the edge of a lampshade.

#25. Shut out the light when you want a rest in the afternoon by using your red and white polka dot bandana as a sleep mask. Just fold it over your eyes or even tie it on if you are a restless sleeper.

#26. Wear your hair in a ponytail or in a braid? Secure it with your bandana for a bright look that’s good in summer or winter.

#27. Forgot your ruler? Use your bandana as a measuring tool. Our’s is 27″x”27 inches (the official bandana size as mandated by the Department of the Army for WOW: Women Ordnance Workers).

#28. Have a pot or cup that is too hot to hold on your camping trip? Whip out your bandana, fold it over, and turn it into a potholder to protect your hands.

#29. Extend the practicality of a baseball cap, which just keeps the sun off your face. Secure your bandana over the back of your neck by tucking it under your cap. [Think French Foreign Legion style.] This turns your bandana into a havelock, named after General Henry Havelock who popularized this way of protecting British soldiers from the fierce Indian sun.

#30. Work too hard in your garden and sweat will run down your face. Roll up your bandana and turn it into a sweat band. You’ll be more comfortable and you’ll look adorable too!

#31. Wear your bandana “robber style” when in a dusty or smoky area. Then get out as quickly as possible to stay safe.

#32. Dry dishes with your bandana when your kitchen towels are all in the washing machine or you are camping. The bandana will quickly dry overnight and be ready for use the next day.

#33. Bid farewell to a bad odor by placing one or two drops of lavender essential oil (or rubbing a few stalks of fresh lavender) on your bandana and tucking it in the offending area. Later wash it and your entire laundry load will have a light calming fragrance.

#34. Use your bandana to catch minnows for bait the next time you are fishing.

#35. Sew a bandana dress for your toddler.

#36. Use the bandana as a makeshift apron for your young helper in the kitchen.

#37. Wear a bandana under your bike helmet to stay cooler.

#38. Thread your bandana through the loops on trousers…a fun replacement belt.

#39. Want a retro game to play with your children or grandchildren? Use the bandana to blindfold one person and play Blind Man’s Bluff.

— And possibly #40. Filter debris from water with your bandana. It definitely works, but don’t count on it to purify water as it can just remove large contaminants.

Nevertheless, She Persisted

Bandanas are sometimes put in the same category as Duck Tape because they both have many and varied uses. As I researched this idea, I found a fascinating piece of history that takes us back to World War II, again.

I first learned about Women Ordnance Workers (WOW) a number of years ago while reading about Rosie the Riveters and bandanas worn by workers during WW2. Munitions plants were dangerous places to work and the women there had the daily concern about potential explosions. Furthermore, the toxic chemicals caused health issues both during the war and for many of the women throughout their lives. Wearing a bandana was required to help reduce static electricity and official ones were issued by the Department of the Army.

One WOW, Vesta Stoudt, had two sons in the Navy and worked at the Green River Ordnance Plant in Illinois. Her primary job was inspecting and packing cartridges used by both the Navy and the Army.

Eleven cartridges were placed in each box. To ensure moisture could not get to the cartridges, the boxes were sealed with a thin tape made of paper that was then wax coated. One piece of unwaxed tape was left loose so that it could be pulled to open the box. The problem was that the thin paper often broke leaving soldiers desperately trying to open the boxes in the midst of battle. Not a good idea.

Enter Vesta Stoudt. She realized that the boxes could be sealed with a cloth waterproof tape and that would solve the problem. It would be strong enough to not break and would let soldiers quickly get to the needed ammunition. Her supervisors agreed but took no action. She showed her idea to government inspectors and they liked her suggestion, but did nothing.

And here is where Vesta Stoudt became a “Nevertheless, she persisted” woman. No one took her seriously but she persisted. She wrote a letter to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (February 10, 1943) and said, in part:

“I suggested we use a strong cloth tape to close seams, and make a tab of same.  It worked fine, I showed it to different government inspectors. They said it was all right, but I could never get them to change tape. I have two sons out there some where, one in the Pacific Island the other one with the Atlantic Fleet.  You have sons in the service also.  We can’t let them down by giving them a box of cartridges that takes a minute or more to open, the enemy taking their lives, that could have been saved had the box been taped with a strong cloth tape that can be opened in a split second.  I didn’t know who to write to, Mr. President, so have written you hoping for your boys, my boys, and every man that uses the rifle grenade, that this package of rifle cartridges may be taped with the correct tape.” 

FDR forwarded Vesta Stoudt’s letter to the War Production Board who took the idea seriously. By March of 1943, Vesta received an acknowledgement of her idea and not long afterwards a letter stating that her recommendation had been approved. The War Production Board went to Johnson & Johnson to ask them to develop and manufacture such a tape because of their experience in making surgical adhesive tapes. When they began to produce the tape, it was called Duck Tape as water rolled off it and the munitions were kept dry.

The Duck Tape became a favorite “tool” in the military. It wasn’t long before soldiers found additional uses for it such as repairing vehicles, securing cracked windows, strapping equipment to their clothing, fixing broken items, and the list goes on and on.

Of course, the end of World War II didn’t mean the end of Duck Tape. The housing boom after the war brought about the installation of heating ducts in hundreds of thousands of new homes across America. Duck tape was quickly found to be the perfect solution for sealing the air gap between lengths of metal duct. Soon Duck Tape was manufactured in silver rather than camo color and became called Duct Tape.

So whether you call it Duck Tape or Duct Tape, just be sure to acknowledge Vesta Stoudt for her idea and her persistence. And yes, the Chicago Tribune gave her a War Worker Award for “her idea and her persistence.”

[The research on Duck Tape was conducted by Vesta Stoudt's great granddaughter, Kari Santo. We send her our thanks as it gives us another story of women working during World War II and their contribution to winning the war. We value Vesta's Stoudt's strength and courage, her commitment during the war, and especially her persistence.]

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Rosie the Riveter and Nutrition

by Matilda Butler on June 12, 2017

Post #82. Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

World War II, Rationing, and Nutrition

Rosie the Riveter had many new concerns during World War II. We know about her concerns for family and friends who were overseas. We know about her work for the war effort. But you might not have thought about Rosie the Riveter and nutrition.

You are aware that there was rationing during WWII. You’ve probably even seen the coupon books as well as the tokens (vulcanized fiber) given as change when ration coupons were used. Do you know what items were rationed?

Right after Pearl Harbor, the OPA (Office of Price Administration) developed a rationing system as they knew the war effort would use many of the supplies that had previously been a normal part of the American lifestyle. The first item to be rationed was tires and that happened on December 11, 1941. Actually, the OPA simply halted ALL sales of tires until an adequate plan could be put into place and that happened on January 5, 1942. Rubber would be critical for the military since Japan had already taken over the countries that supplied rubber to the US. A way to restrict the use of steel and rubber was to stop the sales of cars (as of January 1, 1942 only to a few designated professions such as doctors) and then by February the manufacture of cars was halted. Factories making cars were almost immediately switched to military vehicles.

Each month saw new consumer products added to the rationed list. For example, in March, typewriters were rationed. In the same month, the manufacture and sale of dog food in tin cans was eliminated. At that point, dog food began to be sold as a dehydrated product in sacks or bags.

Also in March of 1942, meat, cheese, fats, canned fish, canned milk and other processed foods were added to the list of rationed provisions. And how much did you get of a rationed item? Here are a few specifics:

1. 1/2 pound of sugar per week
2. 1 pound of coffee every five weeks
3. 2 pounds of meat per week, per person
4. 4 ounces of cheese per week, per person

What was Rosie to do to ensure that she provided her family and herself with good nutrition when so much was limited?

That question gets to the heart of this article. I found a USDA nutrition chart that came out in 1943 that was meant to help Rosies (and others, of course) know what foodstuffs to eat. It stated that there were other sources of protein since red meat was restricted. The chart showed that protein could be found in poultry, fish, eggs, dried beans, peas, nuts, and peanut butter. What is ESPECIALLY FUN is that the chart specifically shows Rosie. She’s even wearing her polka dot bandana.

Here’s the full USDA nutrition chart. You’ll see Rosie in the upper right.

Want to know about other items rationed? By November 1943, the list included: typewriters (manual, of course), gasoline, bicycles, footwear, silk (think stockings), nylon, fuel oil, stoves, meat, lard, shortening and food oils, cheese, butter, margarine, processed foods (canned, bottled, and frozen), dried fruits, canned milk, firewood and coal, jams, jellies, and fruit butter.

Rosie, fortunately, knew how to be careful with food having just gone through The Depression. Many of those recipes came in handy during WWII. And, I imagine the USDA chart was also a help.

[By the way, Kendra and I include a small Rosie the Riveter Cookbook in our DIY Rosie the Riveter costume kit. We had fun finding and then testing the recipes.]

Do you have a World War II recipe from your family? If so, we’d love to hear from you. We will be expanding our cookbook in the future. Just email me…matilda@rosiesdaughters.com. I’ll get back to you for more details.


Wonder Woman Meets Rosie the Riveter

by Matilda Butler on June 4, 2017

Post #81. Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

The Link Between Wonder Woman and Rosie the Riveter

This weekend (June 2, 2017) Wonder Woman is released in theaters across America. It looks like a real winner with an anticipated domestic box office of $100.5 million. This is the largest opening for a female director, Patty Jenkins, who is the first female director of a female-led superhero movie.

One headline read: “Wonder Woman Shatters Box Office with Biggest Female Director Opening. Ever.”

As I checked data just now, I see that Wonder Woman has a 93% rating from Rotten Tomatoes.


But why talk about Wonder Woman? Since we are about all things Rosie the Riveter, Kendra and I immediately saw a link between these two icons.

–Rosie the Riveter is an empowered woman who is the embodiment of strength and courage. She inspired working women soon after American entered the war post-Pearl Harbor. She first appeared on a poster drawn by J. Howard Miller early in World War II.

–Wonder Woman is the embodiment of female strength in pursuit of peace, justice, and women’s rights. She first appeared in DC Comics early in World War II. The creator of Wonder Woman was William Moulton Marston, a well-known psychologist and inventor of the lie detector (the source of the idea for Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth) who wrote under the pen name of Charles Moulton.

Marston’s psychological research led him to the conclusion that women were more honest than men in many situations and could “work faster and more accurately.”

In a 1943 issue of The American Scholar, he wrote:

“Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don’t want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women’s strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.”

We may not fully agree with Marston’s logic, but we can appreciate the legacy of his strong, empowered woman, Wonder Woman — a great companion for Rosie the Riveter.

I haven’s seen Wonder Woman yet, but it is on my list for next weekend. Below is the official trailer if you want to know more.


If you are interested in our Rosie the Riveter Legacy Gear, we have a special offer for you. Just click here, to read about our all new monthly specials and how you can get a free Rosie the Riveter Legacy Bandana because you visited our Rosie’s Daughters Store. Details are here.


Happy National Rosie the Riveter Day! March 21, 2017

by Matilda Butler on March 21, 2017

Post #80. Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Finally, [a] Rosie the Riveter Day

Many years ago, Phyllis Gould of California and Mae Krier of Pennsylvania began lobbying for a National Rosie the Riveter Day. And finally, just a few days ago on March 15, the United States Senate passed a resolution authorizing that March 21, 2017 would be National Rosie the Riveter Day.

Thanks Phyllis and Mae and the many women (and men) who worked toward this achievement and who will continue to work for a recurring Rosie the Riveter Day.

The House of Representatives has not passed a similar resolution, so this is not a permanent Rosie the Riveter Day. If given an opportunity (or look for one), be sure to urge your Congressional Representative to vote for such a resolution.

Rosie the Riveters and all the women who contributed to the war effort during WWII helped America win the war.

Rosie the Riveters at the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historic Park in Richmond, CA

Rosie the Riveters at the Rosie the Riveter Trust in Richmond, CA

[Richmond Rosies Kay Morrison, Marian Wynn, Priscilla Elder, Agnes Moore, Mary Torres and Marian Sousa at the Rosie Rally in Richmond in August 2016]

To Honor Rosies and All They Represent

Kendra and I have developed a historically accurate employment badge and brought them out as a numbered, limited edition. We still have a few left. If you are interested in checking them out, Click on This Link.

We’ve been hearing from some of the women who have received their employment badge collar pins. And we’re thrilled with their delight. Here’s some of what we’ve heard:

“Wow, I love it!”
“It’s too cute for words.”
“It’s just like Rosies.”
“Your research to recreate this pin is amazing.”

Then there’s this one:

“I’ve been a Rosie Gear fan for years. I have the original bandana as well as the beautiful, soft, fabric-dyed version. Now I’ve replaced my Rosie button with the incredible embossed and enameled pin. It’s like jewelry. I’ll be wearing it a lot—especially to work. Thanks.”

This new Rosie Employment Badge is molded, embossed metal, has hand-painted red enameled background color and a sepia-tone photo etched screen print of Rosie in the middle. All based on careful research of the ones worn by Rosies at the Westinghouse Electric Service factory where the original “We Can Do It!” poster hung.

Get your piece of Rosie Americana.