Rosie Gets a Tattoo; You Can Do It…Too!

by kendra on October 9, 2014

Post #65 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Get your free Rosie the Riveter temporary tattoos while supplies last! Read on to find out how.

When we think about WWII and tattoos, this is what typically comes to mind:

But tattoos are not for men only…even in the 1940s…even in 1840s, for that matter. And especially these days when tattoos–permanent and temporary–are all the fashion.

And now Rosie the Riveter Legacy Gear has updated the tattoo look for 2014…with temporary tattoos that are fun, easy to apply, durable, and easy to remove. And all the inks are FDA-approved. Picture this. It’s our favorite, iconic, symbol of women’s strength, independence, and empowerment sporting her own tattoo:

Or this…Matilda showing off one of our new temporary tattoos. And because it’s temporary, she was all smiles during the application:

Matilda and I had fun sharing our tattoo designs with our Rosie alumnae…women who have purchased Rosie the Riveter Legacy Gear for Halloweens past. And then we received a fun reply from Wendy. She sent a photo of her own Rosie tattoo…the permanent kind…and invited us to share it with you. Here’s Wendy’s fabulous “empowered” arm:

Now, for a very limited time…

We’re offering a special opportunity for you to get your own “painless” temporary Rosie tattoos…in plenty of time to complete your Halloween costume. Visit our Etsy Rosie Legacy Gear shop and order any item, and you can save $5 and receive a pair of our exclusive Rosie tattoos as our gift. We’re including tattoos with every order, PLUS giving you $5 off any order. That includes our bandanas, Rosie employment badge collar pins, posters, DIY portrait and costume kits.

But we have a limited supply of tattoos, so act now. At Halloween, we ARE Rosie the Riveter Central, and our Rosie gear goes fast. Visit the store, and use coupon code ROSIE at checkout. You’ll see a line of blue text saying: “Apply shop coupon code.” Click on that and enter: ROSIE. Be sure to use ALL CAPS. You’ll save $5 and receive your free PAIR of Rosie tattoos.

And if you’re wondering whether or not WWII women with tattoos are historically accurate, check out this picture. There was a female tattoo artists in England who tatted up men and women both:

Halloween comes just once a year, and our tattoos won’t last long.

So order now, and have a Happy Halloween…on us!


Rosie Stories: Semper Paratus - Always Ready by Diane Zelenakova

by Matilda Butler on October 1, 2014

Post #64 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

We have a number of fantastic stories of women who helped America win World War II. Today, we are pleased to share with you the following history of Diane Zelanakova’s mother, Genevieve Zelenak. Diane has written this in her mother’s voice.

Semper Paratus – Always Ready: The Bug Bit Me and I Went

By Diane Zelenakova, with history and quotes from her trailblazing mother, Genevieve

My Mother, Genevieve Zelenak, at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT Summer 1943

My Mother at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Summer 1943

As a Coast Guard officer, I was privy to information regarding a particular ship returning to San Francisco with prisoners of war from the Bataan Death March. My supervisor, the Assistant District Coast Guard Officer, asked me and another SPAR officer to go down to the pier, near our office, and greet these heroes. Members of the other women’s services were also there. For two hours we applauded, waved, and threw kisses to these brave men who were suffering from malnutrition, disease, and amputations. Some had canes or crutches and others were on stretchers – gaunt, emaciated, their skin yellow from malaria. Many of them returned our waves. On the way back to my office, I broke down and cried: this was the saddest experience of my service. The men were taken to Letterman Army General Hospital for R&R.

Upon our return to the office, the Captain asked us to attend a get-together that evening with some of the ambulatory officers at the Officers’ Club at the Fairmont Hotel, located across the street from my residence at the YWCA, to cheer them up and so they would not be alone their first night back. Each female officer was seated at a table with three men – at my table, they were from Oklahoma. They wanted to know what I was doing for the war effort, and I told them I got mail where it needed to go. They were proud of me that I was “helping out” and said they appreciated my efforts. Imagine – my efforts! It was hard for me to keep my composure, and after this encounter, I went home and again cried.

Years earlier, I had received a scholarship to the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, but had no money for room and board. I had originally wanted to become a nurse, but after graduation would have been too young to dispense medications because I skipped first grade and graduated high school at 17. I therefore attended Detroit Business University and received a Bachelor of Commercial Science degree, then got a job at Detroit Osteopathic Hospital in the radiology department, where I worked for three years. I was secretary to a Navy medical officer who gave SPARS their physical exams, so in that way was exposed to the idea of joining the military. The Coast Guard was under the Navy at that time, and my Navy boss referred to it as the “hooligan navy.” But I was a pacifist at heart, so that’s why I chose the Coast Guard – the Navy had guns, and I didn’t want to be around fighting.

In February 1943, when I had applied for acceptance to the Cadet program, the recruiting officer informed me that plans were being finalized for the SPAR (Semper Paratus – Always Ready) cadets to take their entire training at the Academy in New London, Connecticut, and she hoped that I would be accepted for that historic “first.” The officers in the WAC (Army), WAVES (Navy) and female Marines did not receive their training at West Point or Annapolis where male officer candidates were trained. At the time, the SPAR officers received their training with the WAVES at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, with some spending their final week at the Academy.

At the time I entered the Coast Guard at age 23 on June 27, 1943, I became a member of the first Cadet Class to be trained and commissioned at a military academy – the New London, Connecticut U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Because of my college degree, I had been accepted into Officer Training School. I began training 25 years to the day after my father began Army training in WW I – he was so proud of me! One of my brothers joined the Marines, and the other the Army.

The SPAR cadets were quartered in a wing of Chase Hall, where a bulkhead had been built to separate us from the male cadets. The buildings were constructed in 1932 in the Georgian style of architecture. Some of the classes I took were Correspondence and Communications, Ships and Aircraft, Personnel, Organization and Duties, Law, History, and Public Speaking. We marched between classes, to mess, to the boat docks, and to perform calisthenics every Monday afternoon (after we had received our immunization shots) on the grounds of Connecticut College for Women located across the road. From the docks, we launched our crew boats and rowed up and down the Thames River. I recall the blisters we received on our hands hoisting the boats out of the water at the end of our twice-weekly cruises.

I was commissioned an Ensign on August 6, 1943. My orders directed me to proceed to the 12th Coast Guard District Office in San Francisco, where I was appointed the first Office Services Supervisor. I was one of the first two female officers assigned to that office.

Having never been west of Chicago, I had thought that California would have a lot of warm, sunny beaches. When I got to San Francisco, I was surprised at how windy and cold it was! But, being a city girl, I loved it – it had what I call “class.” For living quarters, the recruiting office referred me to the YWCA at 940 Powell Street (Chinatown). It cost $45 per month each for double occupancy, which included breakfast and supper. I initially had a roommate, but she got pregnant and left, so I then lived by myself and paid $60 per month.

We were required to be in uniform all the time, and I never felt like I was off-duty: it was a 24-hour job. We wore a hat and white gloves, and rayons (not nylons). We had a black coat and white scarf for cool weather. We wore a rain hat cover called a havelock whenever it rained, since we were not allowed to carry or use an umbrella; our right hand had to be free to salute, and our left had to remain at our side.

During the peak of the war effort I supervised one SPAR ensign, 14 enlisted SPARS and four Coast Guardsmen. I developed and maintained a system for the dispatch of all outgoing mail and for the receipt and distribution of all incoming mail in the district office. I also processed all office-related requisitions; kept a record of space allocations; was responsible for supervising the operation, repair and maintenance of office furniture and equipment; operated the supply storeroom; and developed plans for improving filing procedures. My work also involved assisting in problems with office procedures that arose in the various offices.

In 1944, approximately 30,000 letters were handled by the office. In addition, approximately 50,000 pieces, consisting of health records, pay records, service records, invoices, etc., were sorted, logged, and delivered. In 1945, the section handled more than 70,000 letters and 100,000 miscellaneous pieces. Distribution of publications was made weekly to 200 shore units and vessels.

SPARS campaigned for the bond effort and marched in parades to boost morale. I was appointed the drillmaster, and led the SPARS in every parade held in San Francisco and its environs. I also appeared in many publicity photos taken by the Public Relations Office for newspapers and recruitment articles.

Since I was fluent in a Slavic language (Slovakian, my father’s native tongue), right after my arrival in San Francisco, I was ordered to learn Russian. I read and interpreted communications when they arrived at the supply/communications office. When Russian ships came in, I read the manifest (cargo list). And when Russian men came by the ship, I had to be able to communicate with them. American men opened the cargo; I checked the contents against the manifest, and sometimes they did not match up. They tried to sneak stuff in. Here I was, a petite 5’2” woman, saying to huge Russian men, “Nyet! Nyet!”

It was just plain interesting: everything, everyone, every place! The experience taught me a lot about what I was capable of and who I was – I really grew as a person. I liked everything about the military: especially San Francisco. I really had a good time while I was there. There were many parties and dances, and sometimes I had four dates in one day – lunch, before-dinner cocktails, dinner, and then dancing.

At one point I was dating a Coast Guard officer assigned to our legal department. He suggested we stop at an officers’ club recommended to him by some friends. It was located in an out-of-the-way area on Russian Hill and we had to take a cab. The address was a huge mansion with no sign—suspicious! A woman about 55 years old, buxom, dressed in a long black dress, with a long string of pearls, opened the door. After looking at him, and then me, she said, “Oh, we have our OWN girls to entertain the boys!” and slammed the door. Bob and I laughed and laughed. Obviously, his friends had played a trick on him.

I was eventually assigned to conduct a Records Disposal Survey of the District files, which resulted in the disposition of 22,700 cubic feet of records. For this special achievement, I received a Letter of Commendation from L.T. Chalker, Acting Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, dated September 8, 1944.

I was promoted to Lieutenant (j.g.) on November 1, 1944.

In late April 1945, my Captain supervisor phoned me and said he had two tickets to the Opening (Plenary) Session of the United Nations Conference on April 25 at the San Francisco Opera House. I was thrilled! Seated on stage were U.S. Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., Soviet Union Foreign Minister Vyacheslav M. Molotov, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk, and South African Minister Jan Christiaan Smuts. Alger Hiss served as Secretary General of the conference, and serving on the U.S. delegation were Adlai E. Stevenson III and Ralph Bunche. The International Secretariat included Claiborne Pell, a young U.S. Coast Guard officer whose father had been the chief American diplomat in Lisbon during the war. During the afternoon recess I attended a matinee performance of Harriet (Beecher Stowe) starring Helen Hayes. After dinner at my residence I went to the Mark Hopkins Hotel, Top of the Mark – famous for its views – for socializing. I saw many foreign dignitaries with their ladies. Russian and Chinese men were in uniform and the Russian women wore low-necked, slinky black dresses and black silk stockings, with pearl necklaces. How I envied their black lacy hose!

V-J Day: August 15, 1945, San Francisco: Upon hearing the long-awaited good news about 4 p.m., we were dismissed and told to go home. En route, I stopped at Old St. Mary’s Church, which was filled with worshipers, to offer a prayer of thanksgiving. The streets of downtown San Francisco were filled with revelers.

On September 9, 1945, I was the commander of a company of 100 SPARS marching in a Victory Parade in San Francisco, from the Ferry Building to the Civic Center. The parade lasted almost four hours and was viewed by more than 500,000, according to a press release.

As my term of service drew to a close, I wanted to reenlist. However, I met an air force officer to whom I became engaged, and thus I was released to inactive duty on April 26, 1946. Decorations I received were the American Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.

In the 1990s, I donated two of my military uniforms – one to the U.S. Coast Guard Museum in New London, Connecticut, and another to the Women’s Military Museum in Washington, D.C.

I am proud and honored to have been a pioneer in breaking ground for women service personnel. To this day, I’m still glad I served in the military. If it hadn’t been for that experience, I honestly do not think I would be here today.


Genevieve Zelenak died in 2009

Diane, thank you for sharing this story of your mother.


A Post-WWII Story of Love and Marriage

by Matilda Butler on September 26, 2014

Post #63 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Today, we celebrate a story from Bill Thomas, one of our Rosie fans. He’s previously shared information about training Rosie the Riveters and then a little about his military service during World War II. Recently, Bill sent me another story, told in third person, that brings us to the post-war years.


In 1948, Bill and his pal, Perry, drove to New York to see the wondrous sights. Prior to leaving, Bill’s mother had given him the information about her aunt in New York.

At first, Bill was reluctant to call the aunt but he did; and she invited him to come to her home. There, also visiting from Durham, North Carolina, was Soula, a petite, beautiful brunette. The couple had three dates. Then each left to go homeward.

Bill and Perry drove casually across America taking in the sights enroute to California. They had a wonderful, but expensive nightclubbing time in Hollywood. They eventually went broke and had to stay in Los Angeles; so they sought and found suitable employment.

As the next three years passed, Bill, in Long Beach, California, and Soula in Durham, North Carolina, corresponded occasionally.

Just before Christmas in 1950, Bill phoned Soula and asked, “Hi, would you like some company for Christmas?”

Soula said, “Yes.” But she doubted if Bill would make the flight to Durham.

But make it he did. On Christmas Eve Bill proposed, “Let’s get married or something.”

Soula responded, “We’ll get married, or nothing.”

Bill flew back to California, contacted a manufacturing jeweler and ordered an engagement ring.
He mailed it to Soula.

Meanwhile Bill bought an unbuilt, three-bedroom house in Lakewood on the G.I. Bill.

In early May, the newly-married couple drove northward from Durham seeing famous sights along the east coast up to Niagara Falls and westward to his home-town of Detroit. After a short visit with Bill’s family and relatives, they drove to California in a new Cadillac.

They moved into their newly-built house.

After growing three children in Lakewood for ten years, the family moved to Rossmoor.

Now the kids have all grown up and become parents and homeowners themselves.

And our hero and heroine? Bill and Soula, both in their 90’s, have lived in their Rossmoor home for 53 years, and are now into their 63rd year of a happy marriage.

All this, after three dates. Who needs long engagements?


Thanks Bill for such a touching love story. Congratulations on 63 years of marriage.


Rosie Stories: My Mother’s Crimson Lipstick, Part 1 by Angela Kempe

by Matilda Butler on May 15, 2014

Post #62 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Stories of the Lives of Rosies, a Continuing Series

This website is devoted to stories of Rosie the Riveter and Rosies Daughters (and even granddaughters). We’ve received some wonderful vignettes and decided to issue a formal call for stories of Rosies. We got some great ones and will eventually put them into an ebook. But rather than wait until we can get that done (our list of projects is exciting but long), we are sharing them on this website and our WomensMemoirs website.

Today’s story is told in the voice of Angela Kempe’s beloved grandmother. We thought it would be fun to share the story between our two websites. So the first half is here and the second half is on our WomensMemoirs website.

If you started on this website, read the first half of the story here and then follow the link at the end for the remainder of the vignette.

Thank you Angela for sharing your grandmother’s story.


My Mother’s Crimson Lipstick, Part 1

by Angela Kempe

I write this to honor my grandmother. She has told me many stories of her life over the years.

“I was thirteen,” she began, “when my family moved to Fortuna Mines, a tiny mining town chiseled out of the hot Arizona desert. A small group of tin shacks with wood paneling and giant windows on their sides were clustered near the mine as if a great hand had come down and swept away the dust of the desert there, uncovering something old and wonderful, like the bones of a precious fossil. And to me the place was wonderful and mysterious; it’s people, it’s lifestyle, and the memories that come to me like a beautiful mirage, rippling and glistening as they focus in and out of my mind after all these years.”

Over there stands my mother reigning over the desert, as beautiful as a rare flower. Maria Elena Acosta was a fashionable woman, full of complexities, subtle beauty, and poise. She always wore crimson lipstick, even while conducting the simplest of household tasks, like cooking tortillas on her wood stove with high heels clanking on the wood kitchen floor. The town had no refrigeration, so she kept her food fresh by placing wet gunny sacks over a wooden storage unit standing several feet off the ground at about waist high. And although life was harsh, she loved life at the mine as I did. She was deeply in love with my stepfather, Nick Barraza, a quiet man who never reprimanded us. He showed his love by spending long back-breaking hours working at the mine before emerging like a prairie dog from the desert with bronze skin, snow white hair, and a soft smile on his worn face.

My sister Laura and I were from my mother’s first marriage. Nick brought his son from a previous marriage. Nick and Maria together conceived my younger brother Frank and the youngest, my baby sister Elena.

Over the years, I came to realize that my mother’s heart only had room for one true love, a love she nurtured like a rare desert fruit and guarded with many thorns. She married four times, but it was for Nick that she coveted her affection, taking care of him even on his deathbed while her fourth husband stood by. And from the beginning, Nick must have seen those smooth crimson lips and brown eyes that gazed earnestly into his heart. He fell under her spell and worked hard to support her, even though it meant that we traveled from place to place as his jobs required us to move.

But she hid her affection for her children in a deep crevice between two tall desert cliffs, shearing into an abyss of darkness. In the light, she put her attention towards the chores, pronouncing that the house be as spotless as her delicate light complected skin. And we spent some part of each day dusting under every picture frame and statue, as if we, in our desire to please her were conveying a secret message of love in reply, speaking back to her through our obedience. And after all the work was done, she’d burn incense and lay down a sheet for all her children across the dirt floor in the main area of the house and lull us to sleep by doing a hula dance. I remember her smile finally opening up to us with her white teeth sparkling out of her red lips. And there was this desert flower, hips swaying from left to right and hair bouncing around her shoulders as my eyelids grew heavy.

My sister Laura, was one year older than I. She had a small build, but a large stance and she was my protector and dearest friend. We slept in a bunk bed together outside the front window, unaware of the threat of scorpions and other desert animals who ventured out from their rock shelters when the hot sun went down.

And our two Dutch bob haircuts bounced as we skipped through the neighborhood at my sister’s whim, running hand-in-hand. I was shy and asthmatic, but Laura was outspoken and strong.

My Mother’s Crimson Lipstick, Part 2 is continued here. Please join us for the conclusion of the story.


Rosie Stories: Life in the Dormitory, Part 1 by Barbarann Ayars

by Matilda Butler on April 28, 2014

Post #61 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Stories of the Lives of Rosies

Kendra and I put out a call for stories of Rosies. We got some wonderful ones and will eventually put them into an ebook. But rather than wait until we can get that done (always more time consuming than we anticipate), we are sharing them on this website.

Today’s story is a bit unusual and so we decided to put half of it on our WomensMemoirs website and the other half here. Why? The author, Barbarann Ayars, has written this story from her perspective as a child. That makes it the memoir of a Rosie’s Daughter. At the same time, we learn a great deal about what life was like for her mother and many of the Rosies so it is a Rosie story.

If you started on this website, read the first half of the story here and then follow the link at the end for the remainder of the vignette. This is a fascinating story that rings true for many people whose parents found it difficult to provide for their family during The Depression and then had to figure out how to cope during the war, even though there was more money.

Thank you Barbarann for sharing this story.


Life In the Dormitory: Getting There (Part 1)

by Barbarann Ayars

I stand in the foyer holding tightly to my little suitcase packed with a change of clothes, my nightgown, toothbrush, and slippers. I wait for Mama. This is my fourth birthday; she’s taking me to Elkton, Maryland where she lives and works. We’re taking the train! I can hardly stand still. I put down my suitcase, run to the window, climb onto the window seat and watch for her.

“Let’s go, Barbarann,” Mama calls as she enters the orphanage. I jump down from the window seat, so happy to see her. She reaches for my suitcase with one hand and stretches her other hand out to me.

I take her hand as we go outside to the taxi waiting to take us to the station. Mama smiles at my enthusiasm; I’ve never been on a train. We arrive in time to hear the train thundering into the station blowing steam and bell clanging. It makes the hair stand out on my neck. I climb right up her body as I shake with excitement and terror.

“Oh, get down! It’s okay; the train won’t eat you!” She pulls me off.

The engine is huge, a shiny black monster breathing hard as it paws the ground, waiting for me. Once it stops and the doors open, I scramble up the steps into its Pullman car and follow Mama down the aisle. She stops next to an empty row, lifts me up onto the seat next to the window, and puts my suitcase onto the shelf above my head. She places a small hamper beside it and sits down next to me.

“What’s in the hamper, Mama?” I didn’t even notice it before.

“We’ll be on the train until after dinner time,” she tells me. “Our lunch is in there.” She reaches to smooth my hair and retie the ribbon as she tells me there’s plenty to eat for later. I’m not hungry anyway. I’m too excited.

I stare out the window as the train moves forward with a lurch. I skooch closer, thrilled to have Mama all to myself. My siblings are still at the Home for the Friendless Children orphanage. This is my special time. The train picks up speed and the whistle blows loudly as our journey begins. I smooth my pinafore, pull up my frilly socks, and wipe the dust off my Mary Janes. It’s a hot August day, but I don’t care. I feel all grown up, with the pink bow in my yellow hair. Mama opens the window to let in a breeze.

“Don’t I look pretty, Mama?”

“You look very nice, Barbarann. All the girls will fall in love with you.”

She’s talking about the women she supervises. They had, she said, asked to see her little girl, so that’s why we’re on this trip. I don’t care why; I’m with my mother.

“They’ve seen a few pictures of you. They can’t believe your coloring is so different from mine.” She says this with a note of what seems like surprise.

Mama is very dark, with chocolate brown eyes and jet black, curly hair. She’s not petite, but solid and big boned. There’s none of her in me.

“I’m so happy to go away with you, Mama. Will there be lots of girls to take care of me while you work? Where will I sleep? Will there be someplace to play?”

I have so many questions but she says the usual “you’ll see when we get there” that is somehow soothing and normal. I settle into the rhythmic sway of the train and soon fall asleep, its whistle piercing my dreams.

The conductor comes by to punch our tickets as Mama wakes me for lunch. A peanut butter sandwich and a cookie accompanied by two tangerines and a banana make my meal. Mama thinks I’m too thin and always brings fruit when she visits, which isn’t very often. There’s nothing to drink, but it doesn’t matter. Having lunch alone with her is my treat.

It’s dark by the time we arrive at the dormitory and I’m half-asleep. She carries me inside and puts me down on her bed. There are many young women waiting for me; they fuss over me and cover me with kisses, calling me sweet, a little beauty, a tiny princess and other words that make me feel special. I smile a sleepy smile and my mother tucks me into her bed where I drop back to sleep until morning.

Click Here to Read — Life in the Dormitory: An Exciting Time (Part 2)


Barbarann Ayars writes: “I live in a small town in Ohio where I work with writers as I shape my memoir. Writing at Writing It Real and Writers Digest has given me such wonderful exposure to the gifts of others. I can be found at Persimmon Tree and archived at Tiny Lights, Flash in the Pan and soon in another online magazine in June. Writing consumes unreasonable amounts of time and I’m not even sorry!”


Rosie Goes to Washington (and Meets the President)

by Matilda Butler on April 3, 2014

Post #60 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

If you are a fan of Rosie the Riveter (and you are since you are visiting this website), then you know about the Rosie the Riveter / WWII Home Front National Historical Park and the Rosie the Riveter Trust in Richmond, California. This week, they brought to fruition a long anticipated trip of Rosies to Washington, DC to meet Vice President Biden. While there, they had a surprise visitor (see the video below). We think you’ll love this modern day view of Rosies who helped us win World War II.

By the way, you just might want to have a handkerchief nearby. I know that I certainly teared up while watching the video.

ABC US News | ABC Business News

The Rosies who went to Washington are part of the Rosie the Riveter Trust. Here’s a little about it:

“In 1997, a group of Richmond citizens formed the Rosie the Riveter Memorial Committee to create a memorial that would honor the women who had worked on the home front during the war. The committee brought together a coalition of supporters to fund the creation of a permanent landscape sculpture and the City of Richmond sponsored an open design competition to select a design team. In October 2000, the Committee dedicated the sculpture in Marina Bay—a former Kaiser shipyard from World War II—with several hundred “Rosies” in attendance.

“Local leaders formed the Rosie the Riveter Trust, and worked with Congressman George Miller seeking Congressional authorization for a feasibility study to determine whether a national park could be established. Congressman Miller then carried legislation and President William Clinton signed the bill that established the Rosie the Riveter/Home Front National Historical Park on October 24, 2000.

“…Since the park’s formation, the Rosie the Riveter Trust and National Park service have worked to designate important historical sites, preserve and restore sites and artifacts, and create many more opportunities for visitor access and education about this catalytic and vitally important era in U.S. history.

“The Trust has been instrumental in helping to establish the Rosie the Riveter Memorial and park, in re-locating important artifacts like the huge Whirley Crane at Shipyard 3, and in completing a $9 million renovation of the historic Maritime Childcare Center, which won a LEED Gold for Schools award and now operates as a living part of the park. In May 2012, the Trust also supported the opening of of the new Visitor Center next to the Ford Assembly Plant, and a Visitor Gift Shop operated by the Trust. Other successes have included development of important youth programs like Rosie’s Girls, a free summer camp for at-risk girls, modeled on the courageous women who tackled hands-on jobs during WWII and in the process, broke barriers for women in the workforce.”

And of course, we are thrilled that most of the Rosies wore our Rosie the Riveter Legacy Bandana. Our Rosie Gear Product Line is now being sold by the Rosie the Riveter/Home Front National Historical Park in their store. If you are near Richmond or visit the Bay Area, be sure to stop by the museum and support their ongoing programs to honor the Rosie generation and future generations of Rosie Girls.

[If you are interested in any of our Rosie the Riveter Gear and won't be near Richmond, you will find description in our Rosie Store on this site. In addition, we now sell all of our items through our Store.]


Women’s History Month — Let’s Celebrate Rosie the Riveter

by Matilda Butler on March 1, 2014

Post #59 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett - The Legacy of Rosie the Riveter's Bandana

March is National Women’s History Month. We have so many accomplished women to celebrate, and one jewel is Rosie the Riveter–an icon for courage, grace and strength during WWII. It took a world war and the government’s desperate need for a workforce to first empower Rosie, but she didn’t disappoint. She changed the question of women’s roles from “What work can women do?” to “Is there any work women can’t do?” By war’s end, the answer was loud and clear: “No!”

In late 1945, Rosie went home, but her story was just beginning. To use the vernacular, “she was out there.” Women had shown their mettle, and the millions of individual Rosie stories serve as a legacy of empowerment. They forever changed women’s sense of opportunity, self-esteem and potential. Women knew they could do it. Most important was the message they shared with their daughters. They may have left the overalls behind, but figuratively they passed their red-and-white, polka-dot bandanas to their daughters.

Rosie’s Daughters accepted the opportunities and challenges of that legacy. They opened doors, broke barriers, and never looked back. Their accomplishments are so great and varied that in our book Rosie’s Daughters, we call them the “First Woman To” (FW2) Generation.

With all their accomplishments, it was natural for Rosie’s Daughters to believe that they had successfully passed on the legacy of the bandana given them by their mothers. At least that was the intent. Baby Boomer and Generation X women have certainly lived up to the legacy. Today, however, we see disturbing signs that empowerment and its twin pillars of self-esteem and self-worth are in jeopardy. Many young women are making bad choices largely because they aren’t making their own choices. Media and peer pressure are powerful sways.

It’s time to actively pass on The Legacy of Rosie’s Bandana again. We’re working to create the tools for capturing, collecting and sharing all women’s stories. If you’d like to know more about this or are interested in sharing your story, please give us your comments or contact us through this website.

Iconically it all starts with the bandana, but you can’t buy a red-and-white, polka-dot bandana today. Maybe that’s the problem! We had to design our own and have them made for us. The added bonus, however, has been that it’s given us the opportunity to have our messages of empowerment and sharing printed along the edges.

We encourage you to wear a Rosie bandana to celebrate your life story and to share a bandana with a friend, your daughter, your granddaughter, or a young woman you feel could benefit from the legacy.

There’s an anonymous quote at the Rosie the Riveter Memorial that sums up the imperative of sharing our legacy: “You must tell your children, putting modesty aside, that without us, without women, there would have been no Spring in 1945.”

Today, we all have stories to share that will empower the next generation of young women to help make this a better world. Share Rosie the Riveter’s Legacy.(TM)

We Can Do It…Pass It On.(TM)

UPDATE: Now the official Rosie the Riveter Legacy bandana is bigger (27 x 27″) and more beautiful than ever before. We’ve been getting orders from empowered women who want to show their strength during Women’s History Month. We think that’s a wonderful idea.


He Trained “Rosie” and Went to the Movies with Her

by Matilda Butler on February 10, 2014

Post #58 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

First Hand Memory of Working with a Rosie the Riveter

You may remember that we recently published a story by Bill Thomas. Bill helped train women in the art of riveting. His employer managed to keep him for a while, but soon Bill and two friends all joined the military together.

In Bill’s last story, he talked about his experiences in training women to become riveters. Today, he has returned with another story that we think you’ll enjoy because it helps to let us know more about what life was like at the home front during World War II. Movies at 9 in the morning? It makes perfect sense because there were round-the-clock shifts to produce what America needed for the war effort. Yet I’d never heard any stories that mentioned this.

Here’s what Bill Thomas remembers:

BILL THOMAS: While working the “midnight shift” from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., many of us “riveters” would go out for breakfast (or dinner) after our shift ended. Often, we’d go to a theater to see a movie. In those days, the theaters gave “free gifts” like dishes or teapots. This particular day, it was a free teapot with a cover.

Enola, one of the “Rosie riveters” was a beautiful young lady (about 22), and she agreed to accompany me to the movie house. The theater, at about 9:00 a.m., was nearly empty when Enola and I went to our seats so we sat pretty much in mid-theater, and Enola placed the teapot on the empty seat, to her right,

Gradually, more people came in and eventually a couple wanted to sit next to Enola, so I volunteered to move the teapot to the seat on my left.

Again, more people came in and someone wanted to sit on the seat where I had placed the teapot, so I placed the teapot on the floor beneath my seat. In those days (1940’s) carpeting was laid only in the aisles, so the floor under the seats was bare concrete, and smooth.

After the newsreel, “The Three Stooges” came on. As in all their films, they were outrageously hilarious. I kept laughing so much that I didn’t notice my foot “kicked” the teapot so it slid downward on the smooth concrete floor.

Suddenly, a guy, three rows in front of us, yelled out, “Who lost a teapot?” Enola was embarrassed so she slunk down in her seat, but brave lad that I am, I answered, “Hey, that’s mine.” The guy stood up and said, “Well, come and get it.”

He wouldn’t just pass it back over the seats, so I had to wiggle over a dozen movie-viewers to get to the aisle, walk a dozen steps and watch as a “crew” of people passed the teapot from one person to the next until the teapot reached me. A moment later, I noticed the teapot top was missing, so I tried to whisper to the guy who found the teapot, “Do you have the lid?”

Meanwhile, everyone is either laughing at the “Stooges” funny antics, or at my teapot interruption. Some people threw mean remarks at me. Finally, I had a complete teapot but then I needed to wiggle my way over a dozen patrons to get back to my seat.

Moments later, I told Enola, “You can sit up now,” I handed HER teapot back to her.

A month later, I enlisted in the Army, and never saw Enola again

Bill, that’s a terrific story. Thanks for sharing it with us.


Video About Rosie; New Rosie Gift Baskets for the Holidays

by Matilda Butler on December 3, 2013

Post #57 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

Kendra and I follow all the news related to Rosie the Riveter. We even have our friends on the lookout for us. In today’s email, we received a link to the video below. It just may be the best that we’ve seen. It has high production values…shows the link between the Rosie the Riveter poster, the Norman Rockwell magazine cover, and the song “Rosie the Riveter.” We think you’ll enjoy it.

We have such great Rosie fans who regularly visit this website. Many of you have also purchased one of our Rosie the Riveter Legacy Bandanas or our Rosie the Riveter Employment Badge/Collar Pin or our DIY Rosie Portrait Kit or our award-winning collective memoir: Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story.

Kendra and I want to shout out a big “Thank You.” We love it when you send us your photo wearing Rosie Gear or when you show us your reading group with their copies of Rosie’s Daughters. It’s all just great.

After we settled down from our huge Halloween Season and read the many emails we’ve received, we realized:

1. Some of you want to keep the message of Rosie (strength, courage, empowerment) around you all year long, not just on Halloween. But you don’t want to wear the bandana everyday (although it’s cute enough to do that!)

2. Others of you want to pass on Rosie’s message to your friends and family but you’re not sure that the bandana is the right gift. You know what we mean. You love your mother but she just isn’t the bandana type.

3. And still others, have a dog and would love to see that much loved pet in a cute Rosie bandana.

So we created THREE special gift baskets that we hope you’ll consider giving this holiday season as they respond to the needs to told us about. And since your past support has meant so much to us, we’re offering you each of these at a very special discounted price.

Gift Basket #1: ROSIE AFTER WORK. Rosie wasn’t all work and no play. After a long day on the assembly line, she went home, took a bath, put on her red lipstick and enjoyed an evening out. She just might have traded her red and white polka dot bandana for this great red and white polka dot HairLoom we call “The Bette.” We imagine her wearing it to the movies, an evening at the Hollywood Canteen or even an afternoon tea dance.

Entertainment was part of Rosie’s life after work. The music of Glenn Miller was big throughout the war years, and movies were HUGE. We named this HairLoom “The Bette” because in 1942, Bette Davis was at the top of her career. And together with John Garfield and Jules Stein, she established the Hollywood Canteen to entertain service men and women. The Canteen opened on October 3, 1942, and remained open until Thanksgiving Day November 22, 1945.

Click Here to See More Photos of Gift Basket #1 and to Order.


  • “THE BETTE” HairLoom (with French barrette or with pony tail elastic, your choice) packaged in a clear cello bag and festooned with ribbons
  • ROSIE THE RIVETER EMPLOYMENT BADGE ZIPPER PULL in a precious red and white polka dot box and tied with a gold ribbon, makes this an elegant gift
  • FREE Priority Mail Shipping (within the US)

  • ROSIE AFTER WORK is a $34.95 value that we’re pricing at $29.95. And that’s a great deal. But our SPECIAL price is just $25. Click Here to See More Photos and to Order ROSIE AFTER WORK. We wear “The Bette” all the time. It is so cute. It has a Rosie the Riveter Employment Badge in the center — and that gets us lots of comments and compliments. We think you’ll love it too. And, of course, we have a zipper pull on our jackets, vests, and even a favorite backpack. Where will you put yours?

    Click Here to See More Photos and to Order ROSIE AFTER WORK.

    Gift Basket #2: ROSIE THE READER Rosie didn’t have television for her evenings at home. And obviously, she didn’t have computers, the Internet, Netflix, or any of the other fabulous forms of entertainment that we have. But she did have books; they were an important part of her life. And in the winter, she probably loved snuggling up under a soft blanket or throw. Maybe she sipped hot chocolate? Munched on a chocolate candy bar? Or perhaps she equally loved salty snacks and found roasted and salted almonds to be just the perfect treat.

    We’ve made it easy for you to give the ROSIE THE READER GIFT BASKET to a mother or daughter or best friend. It’s a perfect hostess gift when you’re invited to holiday parties. Take one to your friend’s home and surprise her with this holiday treat. Put one under the tree for your grandmother. No one will have it because we have just put it together. It gives you a great way to say, We Can Do It!…Pass It On!

    We were going to show you what it all looks like when we turned around and found that Kendra’s dearly loved and much played with Teddy had pulled our Rosie red and white polka dot throw around his shoulders, grabbed the Rosie’s Daughters memoir, and had already emptied Rosie’s red and white polka dot mug that we’d filled with hot chocolate and a miniature marshmallow. We never did find the chocolate bar or almonds. At least we captured a picture of Teddy before he fell asleep.

    Click Here for More Photos and to Order Gift Basket #2: Rosie the Reader

    WHAT YOU GET in Gift Basket #2: ROSIE THE READER

  • THE SOFTEST PLUSH RED-AND-WHITE POLKA DOT THROW. It’s a full 50 x 60″, which is big enough to let you really snuggle down. And it’s as soft as a baby’s favorite stuffed toy. The plush is really luxurious.
  • ROSIE’S LEGACY MUG with (you guessed it) red-and-white polka dots. And along the bottom, we added our motto: We Can Do It! Pass It On! This quality ceramic mug is perfect for coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
  • CHOCOLOVE PREMIUM DARK CHOCOLATE BAR WITH ALMONDS AND SEA SALT. At 55% pure cocoa, this is a real treat. And wait until you taste what almonds and sea salt do for chocolate. You usually can only find these bars at specialty natural food stores, but we went to the source and stocked up. Chocolove founder Timothy Moley has been making specialty chocolate in Boulder, Colorado, for the last 18 years.
  • BLUE DIAMOND ROASTED SALTED ALMONDS. Not just a bag of nuts. These are quality Blue Diamond almonds. And it pairs so nicely with the chocolate. This is one treat that you never need to feel guilty about either. Almonds are heart healthy and packed with energy.
  • ROSIE’S DAUGHTERS: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story. Once you are snuggled in by the fire, wrapped in your throw and sipping tea, you need a good book. Rosie’s Daughters is the award-winning collective memoir of the woman born during World War II to a generation of Rosie the Riveters. Rosies proved what women could do. Their daughters went on to set new records for women in sports, education, business, entertainment and government. Rosie’s Daughters have accomplished more firsts than any generation of women before or since.
  • All wrapped in a large cello bag and tied with beautiful ribbons. The gift is ready to give without any more work on your end.
  • And yes, even Free Priority Mail Shipping (within the US)

  • ROSIE THE READER is a $70.14 value that we’re pricing at $59.95. And that’s a great deal. A really great deal. But our SPECIAL price is just $49.95. Click Here for More Photos and to Order Gift Basket #2: Rosie the Reader

    I love the softness of the red and white polka dot throw and it looks great draped over the back of my reading chair when I’m up doing other things like filling my Rosie Legacy Mug with more green tea–a nice winter drink. This is a fabulous gift. Your friends and family will love receiving it. Of course, you might want to give hints to your favorite santa that you’d like to have one this holiday season.

    Click Here for More Photos and to Order Gift Basket #2: Rosie the Reader

    Gift Basket #3: ROSIE’S DOG GIFT BASKET. Did Rosie the Riveter have a dog? We’re not sure, but if she did, we think she might have named her Dot. She would have loved Dot just as much as you–or a friend or family member–love pets. Part of Rosie’s love was expressed by the way she fed her dog. And what is the best nutrition advice for pet owners? We think it is found in the pages of Dog Dish Diet: Sensible Nutrition for Your Dog’s Health This is a practical how-to book written by a veterinarian to keep your dog out of the vet’s office! Yes, many of the typical problems can be solved through proper nutrition. It’s all in this book. Since Rosie wore her bandana to work, we figure she tied an extra one around Dot’s neck.

    Click Here for More Photos and to Order Gift Basket #3: Rosie’s Dog Basket


  • DR. GREG’S DOG DISH DIET: Sensible Nutrition for Your Dog’s Health. It’s a great story packed with illustrations and easy-to-understand explanations of the science behind his discovery. And step-by-step changes you can make to start a puppy off on the right paw, reverse years of ailments, help an older pet stay fit and trim. It’s such a sensible approach that’s easy to put into practice.
  • ROSIE THE RIVETER LEGACY BANDANA…for you or your dog. As you can see from the picture above, dogs stand out in their own Rosie the Riveter bandana.
  • A FESTIVE GIFT: The Rosie’s Dog Polka Dots gift basket is packed in a cute kraft paw print bag and dressed up with ribbons and cello wrap. And we’ll mail it this way to anyone on your shopping list. We even include a cute gift card and can sign it for you, if you like.
  • FREE SHIPPING. Yes, Priority Shipping is included.
  • SATISFACTION that you’ll be helping a few of the pets who are spending the holidays in a local shelter. We’re giving 10% of all sales to a no-kill shelter in Maine right now (called the Ark). As this program grows we’ll expand to other no-kill shelters.


    Order now. ROSIE’S Dog Gift Basket is a $39.95 VALUE that regularly sells for $25. We’re selling this gift basket for a limited time for just $19.95. Plus, it is ready to give in a beautiful gift bag.

    Click Here for More Photos and to Order Gift Basket #3: Rosie’s Dog Basket

    And remember, you’ll be helping abandoned animals at the same time–10% of all sales of Gift Basket #3: Rosie’s Dog Basket will be donated to a no-kill animal shelter in Maine (the Ark). Gifts that help animals. We think Rosie would have liked that idea.

    What’s Your Gift Budget for a Friend or Family Member?

    If $50, consider our Rosie the Reader Gift Basket. (This is a $70.14 value and will be available at this $49.95 price for a limited time.) We only have a few of these special red and white polka dot throws and we think you’ll really love the softness. The book, the chocolate, the mug, and the almonds along with the throw all add up to a fantastic gift.

    If $25, consider our Rosie After Work Gift. The HairLoom “The Bette” and the Rosie Employment Badge as zipper pull are a fabulous pair and sure to please the recipient. (This is a $34.95 value and is only available for a limited time at this special $25 price.)

    If less than $20 ($19.95) — Consider our Rosie’s Dog Basket. Perfect for pet owners and you’ll be helping provide for abandoned animals with the 10% donation to Maine’s no-kill animal shelter. It’s a gift that gives and gives. (This is a $39.95 value and is only available for a limited time at this $19.95 price.) You might want to get several of these — we just got an order for 7 from one woman — some going to her home to give in person and others shipped by us to family members.

    If $15 — Consider our Rosie the Riveter Employment Badge as Collar Pin or as Zipper Pull. Each of these is just $15 and comes tucked into cotton in a special red and white polka dot box tied with a lovely little gold ribbon and bow. And shipping is free. We’ll deliver to your gift recipient via Priority Mail or we’ll ship to you and you’ll have the fun of delivering the gift(s) in person. True, neither of these are actual gift baskets. But if you have limited funds or if you have several people you want to give the gift of Rosie’s message of “strength, courage, and empowerment,” or if you need a “Secret Santa” gift, this is absolutely perfect for you. Just tell us how many you want and we’ll get them right out to you.


    He Helped Train Rosie the Riveter

    by Matilda Butler on November 12, 2013

    Post #56 - Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story by Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett

    We have a story, and the person behind the story, that we’d like to share today. As we all know, women entered the workforce during World War II as men joined the military. Sometimes they were hired a few at a time and sometimes in large numbers and that varied by year and by industry. They came to factories from farms and from the city. But few, if any, already had the training needed for their new wartime jobs. So an interesting question to ask is: Who trained them?

    Fortunately, one of our readers emailed us his story and with his permission, we are publishing it.

    BILL THOMAS: It may interest you to know I was one of the trainers of Rosie the Riveter. I worked at a plant in Detroit during 1942. There was only the foreman, 40 women, and me. And only being 18-19, I took a lot of “teasing” from the older women at my expense.

    ROSIE’S DAUGHTERS: We’re really interested to know that you helped train Rosies. I bet you actually liked the teasing.

    BILL THOMAS: I neglected to mention we worked at Fisher Body, a division of General Motors. The Rosies placed the rivets into the “nacelles” (the big aluminum ring) that covers the engines of the B-25 bombers. Our Rosies were the women who helped build that part of the bombers.

    As to the teasing, that was fun; but OH some of the stories they told… wow! would make sailors blush…
    And I blushed a lot when the so-called “cougars” came after a shy, naive teenager that I was. I’d say, “I’ve grown up a lot since then.”

    ROSIE’S DAUGHTERS: Thanks for the additional note. I love knowing the details of what the Rosies were doing.

    BILL THOMAS: I looked at the film where “the modern Rosie” is riding in a P-47. What a relic now, but that plane, plus many others, were very important and crucial in winning World War II.

    Here’s a little more of the back story. After a few weeks as a riveter at Fisher Body, I became the rivet repairman for anything that didn’t pass “inspection.” It was my job to drill out the failed rivet(s) and replace them. That means I understood what it took to have a good rivet.

    That’s what led to my job as the “Rosie Trainer.” We had new women employees constantly coming to work to replace the men as they left to enter the military services.

    And why wasn’t I in the military? The company kept getting military deferments for me without my knowledge because they wanted to keep me training new Rosies. But when my two closest buddies draft numbers came up, I decided to enlist so the three of us could serve together.

    The “brass” had other ideas. My friend Perry was sent to the Air Transport Command. He has died. My second friend, Bud, became an infantryman. He died in the “Battle of the Bulge.” I became a “forward observer” in an artillery battalion in N. Africa and western Europe.

    We racked up 565 days of combat time.

    ROSIE’S DAUGHTERS: At the end of our email exchange Bill wrote: “Sorry for the war story It just came out.” We hope that Bill will continue to tell his story just as we urge Rosie’s to tell theirs. We all need to hear them and appreciate them and pass them on to the younger generations. Thanks Bill.

    ROSIE’S DAUGHTERS: Happy Birthday, Bill. Congratulations on turning 90 today — November 12, 2013