Geraldine Doyle (Geraldine Hoff Doyle)

Geraldine Doyle

Because the “We Can Do It!” poster was created for an internal Westinghouse project, it did not become widely known until the 1980s, when it was rediscovered and used by advocates of women’s equality in the workplace. In 1984, Doyle came across an article in Modern Maturity magazine which showed a photo of an unidentified young war worker at a turret lathe. In 1994, Doyle saw the “We Can Do It!” poster on the cover of the Smithsonian magazine. Doyle felt she recognized herself in both the photo and the poster[8] and in the 1990s communicated with historian and author Penny Colman of her connection to the photo and therefore to the poster. News media outlets, upon Doyle’s death, memorialized her as the model for the famous poster, without citing evidence beyond Doyle’s assertions. Geraldine Doyle assumed that the photograph had inspired the poster. Later evidence, however, reveals that the press photo actually shows California war worker Naomi Parker, the photo taken at Naval Air Station Alameda in March 1942, at a time when Doyle was attending high school. Geraldine Doyle did not claim to have met or sat for poster artist J. Howard Miller, but only to have been the woman depicted in this particular press photo which many believe inspired the poster. The ACME Newspictures wire service image of Naomi Parker was used as the cover image for the Time-Life book The Patriotic Tide: 1940-1950 published in 1986. The “We Can Do It!” image remains an icon and appeared on a 1999 postage stamp as part of a World War II series produced by the U.S. Postal Service. Geraldine Hoff Doyle died on December 26, 2010, in Lansing, Michigan, as a result of complications from severe arthritis. She was survived by her five children, eighteen grandchildren and twenty-five great-grandchildren.

Born

  • July, 31, 1924
  • USA
  • Inkster, Michigan

Died

  • December, 26, 2010
  • USA
  • Lansing, Michigan

Cause of Death

  • complications from arthritis

Other

  • Cremated

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