Rosalind P. Walter, the woman who inspired the character "Rosie the Riveter," died Wednesday at the age of 95.
According to NBC News, Walter, then 19, took a job at the Sikorsky aircraft plant in Bridgeport, Connecticut in the 1940s. At the time, the United States was in the midst of World War II, and Walter wanted to join in the effort.
Walter, who went by he nickname Roz, worked as a welder at the plant — a job usually reserved for men. Her work inspired a newspaper column about her life, which in turn inspired Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb to write a song called "Rosie the Riveter." The Four Vagabonds later popularized that song and propelled the term into popular culture.
Rosalind P. Walter, the inspiration behind "Rosie the Riveter" who later in life became a major philanthropist, has died https://t.co/esWoWo5686
— NYT Obituaries (@NYTObits) March 4, 2020
"Rosie the Riveter" morphed from a song into a cultural icon throughout World War II. Women joined the workforce in record numbers, building tanks, planes and other war supplies to help support troops abroad.
"Rosie the Riveter" was later famously illustrated by artists Howard Miller and Norman Rockwell. Many believe the iconic illustrations are based on a photo of Naomi Parker, a factory worker in California.
Later in her life, Walter became a noted philanthropist, serving as a board member of the American Museum of Natural History and The Paley Center for Media. She was also a generous supporter of WNET, the flagship station for PBS.