Harriet Tubman

WOW! Harriet Tubman won the vote to be the new face on a $20!!!!! Got the news shortly before Barbara Howard announced it at “Swing Low,” the memorial to Harriet Tubman in New York City. Abandoning my book-in-progress, I speedily drove there to celebrate. PC NBC The photo is of me being interviewed for a segment that will be on NBC tonight at 6:30 (the last segment, the reporter said).

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Great Egret

Great EgretWhat a treat to see on my book-writing-break walk today–a Great Egret! (A sign that I should take more breaks, perhaps?)  Flat Rock Brook, Englewood, New Jersey

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Mother’s Day

img001On the eve of mother’s day 2015, I’m thinking with deep love and profound appreciation about my mother Maritza Morgan, an internationally known artist, who also had a 40-year career as a journalist, writer and translator.  I’ve written about her as a volunteer firefighter in my book Adventurous Women: Eight True Stories About Women Who Made a Difference.  In Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial I wrote about the painting she created after the death of my father (at the age of 50).  Her painting, “Lazarus” is reproduced in the book. She died shortly before Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts was published, but not before I was able to show her the page proofs and read her what I had written. She could no longer talk, but her smile radiated from the tip of her toes to the top of her head. The image is her painting, “Song of the Turtle Dove” Carved on wood and painted with with acrylics; 49′ x 29 1/2″, 1981

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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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