Honoring Nurses

Nurse's Memorial, Section 21, Arlington National Cemetery

Nurse’s Memorial, Section 21, Arlington National Cemetery

Linda’s mother, Mary Batastini Hickson, was a nurse, and proud of it! So here is a shout out to her and all nurses, for this–National Nurses Week–and all the weeks of the year! During a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, we were deeply moved by the stylized statue of Jane Delano, pioneering nurse and founder of the American Red Cross Nursing Service, overlooking the section with the graves of 296 nurses who died during World War I.

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Nellie Bly

“Google Doodle Honors Pioneering Journalist Nellie Bly for Speaking Up ‘For the Ones Told to Shut Up’” Nellie Bly, was born Elizabeth Jane “Pink” Cochran today, May 5th, in 1864. Here’s the link to an article and song: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/05/nellie-bly-google-doodle_n_7210966.htmlNellieBlygravecrop

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P Carole KevinWe made a quick trip to Williamstown, MA to reconnect with Linda’s college friend with whom she had discovered opera and theater in New York City, oh, so many years ago, and to once again be dazzled by the amazing art at the Clark Museum. And, we were thrilled to discover a fabulous bookstore–Water Street Books!! Linda took the photo of me with Carole Ott, a wealth of information about children’s books (Children’s Book Week starts today!) and Kevin Orell, who manages the textbook section.

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balan squatYesterday, seeing me and 14-month-old Balan talking about my rock garden, Linda marveled at our mutual ability to squat! Quinn just walked right into the garden.  quinn

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Why is Rockwell’s “Rosie the RIveter” iconic?

Here’s the link to Sam Robert’s article “Mary Keefe, Model for Rockwell’s ‘Rosie the Riveter,’ Dies at 92,” in “The New York Times” (4/24/15). He had emailed me asking if I wanted to “weigh in on why the painting became so iconic?” My reply appears in his article: it “is iconic because it portrays a rarity–an image of a powerful woman with a don’t-mess-with-me attitude.” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/25/arts/design/mary-keefe-model-for-rockwells-rosie-the-riveter-dies-at-92.html?_r=1

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Rosie the Riveter and Mary Doyle Keefe

Rosie cover mediumFor my book, Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II, I interviewed Mary Doyle (later Keefe), the model for Norman Rockwell’s cover, “Rosie,” for Saturday Evening Post.  After we talked Mary sent me a copy of an article, “Painting of Rosie, a Riveter, Starts Tempest in Teapot,”  in the local newspaper, The Banner that I’ve transcribed below, along with a photograph of her and Norman Rockwell with the cover.

Painting of Rosie, a Riveter, Starts Tempest in Teapot

Tempest ArticleNorman Rockwell of Arlington, veteran Saturday Evening Post cover artist, has another cover in this week’s issue and it hits the rivet right on the head. There’s nothing new in that, since all his covers have been knockouts. But this one came very near causing the Curtis Publishing Company, a lot of trouble.

Mary Doyle Keefe Norman RockwellThe cover, posed for by Miss Mary Doyle, Arlington’s attractive telephone operator, shows a husky gal, perched on a timber with a riveting gun lying on her lap, one arm over her lunch box, and a ham sandwich (1) point per pound held in a strictly feminine manner between carmine-tipped fingers.

Beneath one moccasined foot is a smudged copy of “Mein Kampf”, pagan bible of the Hitler regime. Across her bosom is a row of buttons, including a service button, a red cross emblem, a “V” button, a “E” insignia, and a few others.

Feminine Touch

From the pocket of her soiled blue dungarees protrudes a lace-edged handkerchief, and a gold trimmed white compact, in pleasing contrast to the double—buckle leather wrist strap.

Lettered in white paint across the top of her lunch box is the name “ROSIE”, and thereby hangs a tale.

News dealers from coast to coast, including Evans of Main street, received “blow-ups” of the Rockwell cover last week. A “blowup” is an enlargement in colors of a cover picture. It is tacked up to tip off news stand customers of what to expect in the coming Post issue. But this one had a title over it, to wit: “Rosie the Riveter.”

This, it is said, is the name of a new and popular war song. The name “Rosie” on the lunch box isn’t copy-righted, but presumably the title of the song is.

Hurry Call

A couple of days ago Evans and a hundred thousand other news dealers received urgent instructions from the Curtis Publishing Co. to ditch the “blow-up”, and to sign a solemn statement certifying that they had done so, presumably to indicate the good faith of the company and adduce proof that there had been no intention on their part to plaglarize. The Curtis Co. is too smart for that, too long established and certainly knows better, but someone in their promotion department, it is to be supposed, didn’t know about “Rosie.”

Norman Rockwell, when interviewed by The Banner this noon said that “this is the first I’ve heard of it.” Of course he had nothing to do with the promotion anyway, and the use of the word Rosie was quite safe.

She’s Really Beautiful

“It’s Miss Doyle, our telephone operator, who should sue me,” laughed Rockwell, or at least grinned, judging from the sound of his voice over the telephone. “She is really a beautiful girl, but since I wanted to portray a girl of husky proportions, I had to distort the picture.

“I made a mistake in detail that people will be calling me down for,” he concluded. “The cover shows ‘Rosie’ with goggles and an isinglass protective shield. I don’t think riveters use both. It was silly of me.”

The reporter hadn’t noticed that slip, but a few thousand riveters who read the Post regularly undoubtedly will.


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Rosie the Riveter

Rosie cover medium2015 is the 20th anniversary of the publication of my book, “Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II.” Just learned today of the death on Tuesday of Mary Doyle Keefe, the model for Norman Rockwell’s “Saturday Evening Post cover “Rosie,” (Not the Riveter, just Rosie, because the men who wrote the song threatened to sue the Post.) I still have the tape of the fun phone interview I did with Mary who gave me great details, e.g., Rockwell had her switch shirt colors, change her shoes, etc. Rockwell method was to paint from a photograph that he would cut apart and use as a model.  So, Mary told me, she “didn’t have to sit a long time.”  Shortly before she saw the cover, Rockwell called her to say: “I’m sure you’re not going to like what I did to you.” How did you reply, I asked Mary, “Oh, being a 19-year-old girl,” I said, ‘Oh, that’s Ok.’” I sent Mary two copies of my book: One autographed from me to her & one for her to autograph and return to me, which she did.  I still have it.  http://pennycolman.com/rosie-the-riveter-women-working-on-the-home-front-in-world-war-ii/

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Earth Day

Minerva Hoyt medCelebrate Earth Day, everyday!  In the early 1900s,  Minerva Hamilton Hoyt, a lover of desert plants, became alarmed at the effect of increased car traffic in desert regions of southern California.  A conversation activist, she spearheaded efforts that culminated in 1936 with establishment of Joshua Tree National Monument!  I’m intrigued by deserts: How life survives, even thrives in harsh environments. I went to Joshua Tree on a 1997 women’s stories road trip. Titled the “Apostle of the Cacti” the plaque heralds her for contributing to a “heightened appreciation, not only of the Joshua Tree, but of the total desert environment.”

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Listen my children and you shall hear

Our friend Jan came dinner last night (pecan waffles with fresh fruit toppings–bananas, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries).  As former schoolchildren in Massachusetts, she & Linda both knew that tomorrow, Saturday 4/18, is the anniversary of “Paul Revere’s Ride.” With that memory they started Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem: “Listen my children and you shall hear/Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,/On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five; . . . .” Being that in writing Girls: A History of Growing Up Female in America,  I learned about Sybil Ludington’s ride, twice the distance as Paul’s, through a stormy danger-filled night, I pulled out a copy of Berton Braley’s poem, “Sybil Ludington’s Ride,” written in the form of Longfellow’s poem’s: “Listen, my children, and you shall hear/Of a lovely feminine Paul Revere/Who rode an equally famous ride/Through a different part of the countryside,/Where Sybil Ludington’s name recalls/A ride as daring as that of Paul’s.”  One of our women’s stories road trips was to Carmel, New York, to view and photograph the spectacular statue by Anna Hyatt Huntington of Sybil atop her horse Star.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsybil:plaqsmall220px-Sybil_Ludington_stamp


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Frances Perkins

This morning we wished a Happy Birthday to Frances Perkins who was born on April 10th in 1880. Appointed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Frances Perkins was the first woman cabinet member and architect of some of the most far reaching and important reforms and social legislation ever enacted in America.  With her familiar tricorn hat (her mother had told her to always wear a hat that is wider than her cheekbones, to avoid looking “ridiculous”) planted firmly on her head, Frances Perkins prodded, pressured, and persuaded recalcitrant businessmen, labor leaders, and politicians to respond to the needs of the American people and end child labor, establish working conditions, fairer wages, reasonable working hours, unemployment insurance, and Social Security.  FPcover The image is the cover of my biography of Frances Perkins, “A Woman Unafraid: The Achievements of Frances Perkins.” I often think of her wise words: “You just can’t be afraid . . . if you’re going to accomplish anything.”  The plaque is in the Frances Perkins Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. It reads: THIS BUILDING IS DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF/FRANCES PERKINS, SECRETARY OF LABOR, 1933-1945,/WHOSE LEGACY OF SOCIAL ACTION ENHANCES THE/LIVES OF ALL AMERICAN WORKERS. IN WARTIME/AND PEACE, IN DEPRESSION AND RECOVERY/SHE ARTICULATED THE HOPES AND DREAMS OF/WORKING PEOPLE AND WORKED UNTIRINGLY TO/ MAKE THOSE HOPES AND DREAMS A REALITY/THROUGH THE FORCE OF HER MORAL COURAGE,/INTELLECT, AND WILL, SHE BROUGHT SWEEPING/CHANGES TO OUR NATIONAL LAWS AND PRACTICES/AND FOREVER IMPROVED OUR SOCIETY.FPplaque

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