Memoir Concluded: The Rosie the Riveter Who Inspired Us

by Matilda Butler on December 31, 2010

Book Business PaperclipPost #64 – Women’s Memoirs, Book Business – Kendra Bonnett and Matilda Butler

New Year Eve, 2010: Today’s post is a combination of book business, Rosie’s Daughters, and news about Rosie the Riveter. Let’s begin with the news.

The News

Geraldine Doyle was the inspiration for the now-famous World War II poster showing an overalls-clad, polka-dot bandana wearing factory-worker woman. The words We Can Do It were displayed above her head. J. Howard Miller at Westinghouse created the poster for the War Production Coordinating Committee. The poster, designed in 1942, was meant to encourage women into joining the workforce. It was after the 1943 song Rosie the Riveter became popular that Miller’s poster was given the same name.

Memoir Writing, Rosie the Riveter, memoirToday, Rosie the Riveter stands for courage, strength, and perhaps most importantly, empowerment.

But where did Miller get his inspiration? That’s where Geraldine Doyle comes into the story. Her picture was taken by a United Press photographer and was used by Miller for the poster.

Geraldine Doyle died this week at the age of 86. According to my research, the following news story contains some errors, but it gives the general facts:

Story of Geraldine Doyle

Rosie’s Daughters

memoir writing, memoir, Rosie the Riveter, Rosie's DaughtersI mentioned that this blog was also about Rosie’s Daughters. As most of you know, Kendra and I co-authored the collective memoir: Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story. This is the story of women born during World War II, the daughters of Rosie the Riveter. Most Rosie’s returned home after the war, but they taught their daughters that they also could “do it” if they needed to.

Therefore, Kendra and I owe a thank you to Rosie the Riveter and thank Geraldine Doyle for inspiring J. Howard Miller.

An Unexpected Benefit of Social Networking

And finally, I mentioned that this post would talk about book business. Kendra frequently writes about the importance of building a platform for your memoir. She writes about blogging and connecting with your potential audience using social networking tools such as FaceBook and Twitter.

I want to share with you one of the many benefits of establishing connections with people you might not otherwise know. Yesterday morning Kendra called me to say that Geraldine Doyle had died. She said that she’d send me the link to the story. I am in the midst of unpacking my belongings (more about that soon) and the task has sucked most of the blogging oxygen out of the air. This means that I’m not spending much time on the computer and hadn’t seen the news article.

All day yesterday I spent opening boxes and removing items (sort of like getting a large number of presents) from white paper. By the time I logged onto my computer last night, I had not only the email from Kendra about the Geraldine Doyle story but emails from dozens of others making sure that I had seen the article.

How cool is that!

I appreciated each person who thought about me and my Rosie’s Daughters memoir. Most of these people I have never met. Yet we are connected. Just imagine that you build your social network using the Internet. You provide information of real value to them and they become your village, your virtual community. Who knows in what ways they may help you, may point you in the right direction just when you reach a fork in the road.

If you haven’t yet started building your platform, make that one of your New Year’s Resolutions. If you need help, be sure to contact Kendra or me. We will be offering new products and coaching sessions on this topic in 2011.

Be sure to visit us daily beginning January 1, 2011. Kendra and I have a series of special lists for writers for the first 11 days of the month. Each one is a gift to you.

Wishing you unlimited success in 2011.

{ 1 trackback }

Geraldine Hoff Doyle: We Take Our Hats (Oops, Bandanas) Off to You — Rosie’s Daughters
September 29, 2011 at

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellen Curtis January 1, 2011 at

I ran across your blog when doing research for Geraldine Doyle. Little did Roises know what an impact they would have for generations of women to come. Amazing.

Kendra Bonnett January 1, 2011 at

Isn’t that the truth, Ellen. They were silent role models. And they certainly have been enduring.

Diane January 1, 2011 at

I read the article about Geraldine Doyle in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Very interesting, I was wondering if Geraldine ever received any compensation for using her photo for the famous image.

Kendra Bonnett January 1, 2011 at

From what I’ve read, Diane, no. Supposedly she didn’t even know she was the source of the image until around 1984.

Alan and Jackie January 1, 2011 at

Glad to see that you manage to keep this up while unpacking. Happy New Year!

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