Mary Doyle Keefe, more famously known as “Rosie the Riveter,” passed away yesterday in her home in Connecticut at age 92. In her much younger days, though she didn’t know it at the time, Mary Doyle Keefe became the symbol of American women working on the home front during World War II.
As a 19-year-old telephone operator, Keefe posed for Rockwell’s famous painting that would become the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on May 29, 1943. Rockwell’s painting saluted the millions of women who stepped into the jobs of men conscripted into military service, to keep the massive American war effort moving.
Keefe was paid $10 for her two mornings of modeling work. After posing for the painting, Keefe went on to graduate from Temple University and became a dental hygienist. In 1949, she married Robert J. Keefe and had four children, 11 grandchildren, and five great grandchildren that she is survived by.
We thank Norman Rockwell and Mary Doyle Keefe for the inspiration they provided in 1943 and continue to provide today.
Anna Bekavac, Women’s Center Staff