Naomi Parker Fraley, the real Rosie the Riveter, has died at 96


Former wartime factory worker Naomi Parker Fraley has died at age 96, years after a discovery that brought her great joy: She is believed to have been the real-life inspiration for the iconic "Rosie the Riveter" poster.

The New York Times obituary says that Naomi Parker was born August 26, 1921, the third of eight children.

Scholar James J. Kimble, an associate professor at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, had also been researching "Rosie's" true identity and zeroed in on Fraley.

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Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on August 26, 1921, Fraley and her family moved constantly as part of her father's job as a mining engineer.

Fraley worked in a Navy machine shop at the Alameda Naval Air Station during World War II and, it appears the poster was based on a newspaper photograph taken of her at that time.

"A photographer happened to be going through and taking pictures and he glommed on to her", her daughter-in-law Marnie Blankenship told KATU.

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One picture was of Fraley at the lathe, which was originally used to deglamorize women in the war and show them what to properly wear in the workforce. The photo was published widely in the spring and summer of 1942, though it rarely had a caption identifying the woman or the factory. In 2011, Fraley found the photo of herself at the lathe at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California, captioned with Doyle's name.

The poster was never supposed to see the light of day, but a copy of it came to light in the early 1980s. The poster she inspired became an iconic feminist image in the 1940s, and continues to be a major pop culture icon. "The amusing thing is she was a humble person, and she didn't care", Joe Blankenship said.

"Victory!" Fraley had told the World-Herald in 2016 about how she felt being known as the Rosie the Riveter.

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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee called Fraley a "unique and special Washingtonian". "Trudi and I are holding her family and friends in our hearts".