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Geraldine Hoff Doyle, inspiration behind wartime poster, dies at 86

Dec 31, 2010 12:19:00 AM - thestate.com
Geraldine Hoff Doyle, a World War II factory worker whose bandana-wearing image in a wire-service photo is said to have been the model for the woman depicted in the 1942 "We Can Do It!" poster, has died. She was 86. The iconic wartime poster became an enduring symbol of women's power from the Rosie the Riveter era.

Doyle died of age-related causes Sunday at Hospice House of Mid-Michigan in Lansing, said her daughter, Stephanie Gregg.

Doyle was a 17-year-old high school graduate when she took a job at the American Broach & Machine Co. in her hometown of Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1942, a time when millions of women across the country were going to work to replace men who had gone to war.

"She had just graduated, and some of the young men had left school to volunteer to fight," Gregg said. "A couple had been killed, and she felt she wanted to do something for the war effort."

Doyle was operating a metal-stamping machine when a United Press photographer took a picture of the tall, slender and glamorously beautiful brunette wearing a polka-dot bandana over her hair.

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