Speed Reads

RIP

Rosie the Riveter model Naomi Parker Fraley dies at 96

Naomi Parker Fraley, a former waitress who inspired the artist behind the 1943 "We Can Do It!" poster, died Saturday in Longview, Washington. She was 96.

Several people claimed to be the model for the poster, which was created for the Westinghouse Electric Corp., but in 2016, Seton Hall University professor James Kimble discovered that artist J. Howard Miller had most likely been inspired by a photo of Fraley that appeared in newspapers across the country. The photo showed Fraley, who worked in a Navy machine shop during World War II, standing at an industrial lathe, her hair up in a polka-dotted bandana. "The women of this country these days need some icons," Fraley told People in 2016, after Kimble tracked her down. "If they think I'm one, I'm happy."

Fraley was 20 when she she started working at the machine shop, along with her younger sister, Ada, and they spent their days drilling, patching airplane wings, and riveting. The poster was up in Westinghouse factories for a only brief time, and it didn't become a feminist symbol, with the woman dubbed Rosie the Riveter, until the early 1980s, The New York Times reports.