We Can Do It !!!



 The Women of Douglas Aircraft Company - 1942

In 1942, thousands of women across the U.S. took on manufacturing jobs to "Keep Them Flying!" during World War II.  They worked as mechanics, engineers, and often as test pilots.  This collection of photos from the Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, CA in October 1942 were part of a publicity campaign to recruit more women in to similar jobs across the country.  



Women at work on bomber, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif.  October 1942











Women are trained as engine mechanics in thorough Douglas training methods, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif.








Girl inspectors at the Long Beach, Calif., plant of Douglas Aircraft Company make a careful check of center wings for C-47 transport planes

[girl inspectors??]









The careful hands of women are trained in precise aircraft engine installation duties at Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif.


With careful Douglas training, women do accurate electrical assembly and installation work, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif.













Annette del Sur publicizing salvage campaign in yard of Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif.




A noontime rest for a full-fledged assembly worker at the Long Beach, Calif., plant of Douglas Aircraft Company. 






Two assembly line workers at the Long Beach, Calif., plant of Douglas Aircraft Company enjoy a well-earned lunch period, Long Beach, Calif. Nacelle parts of a heavy bomber form the background








An A-20 bomber being riveted by a woman worker at the Douglas Aircraft Company plant at Long Beach, Calif.







Girl worker at lunch also absorbing California sunshine, Douglas Aircraft Company, Long Beach, Calif.


 [again with the GIRL worker]


A fast, hard-hitting new A-20 i.e., B-25 attack bomber is brought for a test hop to the flight line at the Long Beach, Calif., plant of Douglas Aircraft Company



We are all so accustomed to seeing the poster of Rosie the Riveter... but do you know the story behind the poster???

Rosie The Riveter Facts

Real Name

Geraldine Hoff Doyle


Metal Worker

Accomplishment: (surely not her only one….)Appearing On Poster For U.S. war effortDied

December 26, 2010 (age 86)

Rosie The Riveter summary: A gorgeous seventeen-year old became the 1940’s-incentive of the later famous Rosie the Riveter. Her name was Geraldine Hoff Doyle and she worked at an Ann Arbor, Michigan plant that manufactured metal. It was her picture on the huge posters displayed all over America. Later, Norman Rockwell’s interpretation of Rosie was part of the Saturday Evening Post in 1943. The best known image of Rosie is probably the Westinghouse poster that shows Rosie with a red and white polka-dotted bandana on a yellow background. Her shout-out “We Can Do It!” is above her head.

Rosie the Riveter represents the power women wield when necessary. While their husbands, sons, fathers and brothers were doing the physical part of fighting a war, the women would do their part on the home front. At a time when no one has heard of Women’s Lib, these women fulfilled the jobs normally held by men. The aircraft and ammunition factories had the largest female employee increase overall.

The idea of having a “Rosie the Riveter” as a household name was intended to boost morale to keep production rate up rather than a call on women to do men’s jobs. However, once the idea of women working in factories came to life, it was hard to stop. After the men returned from war and metal products were not as much in demand, families had gotten used to this income. It also afforded women little more freedom than they had before the stereotypical mold was shattered.

After she married a dentist, Geraldine Doyle became Geraldine Keefe. Born in 1924, she lived in Lansing, Michigan with her family. She was 86 when she passed away. She left five children and many grandchildren.


Featured Article About Rosie The Riveter

From History Net Magazines

Remembering Rosie


In 1942, 17-year-old Geraldine Doyle spent two uneventful weeks as a metal worker near Detroit. Though her fervent desire to become a cellist prompted her to quit when she learned the job might permanently damage her hands, four decades later Doyle became one of the most enduring icons of the war—and the face of feminism.

During her brief stint pressing metal, a United Press photographer snapped photos of Doyle and her fellow workers; her arched eyebrows and full lips stood out when artist J. Howard Miller sought inspiration for a series of war-effort posters contracted by Westinghouse Electric.


Like Doyle, the “We Can Do It!” poster only appeared in a factory for two weeks—and never resurfaced again during the war. But just as images like that one called women to action for the war effort, in the 1980s women’s rights advocates brought them out of the archives to encourage women in the workforce, and it was then the “Rosie the Riveter” moniker was hung on Doyle’s image. Doyle’s “Rosie” will forever epitomize the 18 million women who took on men’s jobs during World War II.


                                                                     © Michelle Young 2012