You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

The Model for Norman Rockwell's Iconic 'Rosie the Riveter' Painting Has Died The character, which represents the American women who entered the workforce in droves during World War II, has become a symbol of female empowerment.

By Geoff Weiss

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Mary Doyle Keefe via Facebook
Mary Doyle Keefe

When it comes to female empowerment, you might recall Norman Rockwell's "Rosie the Riveter," a 1943 painting depicting the American women who entered the workforce in droves during World War II. The model for the painting, Mary Doyle Keefe, died yesterday at her home in Simsbury, Conn. She was 92.

Keefe was contacted by Rockwell when she was a 19-year-old telephone operator in Arlington, Vt. She told the Hartford Courant that she only vaguely remembered posing for the artist and said she had no idea that her likeness was bound to become a quintessential symbol of female empowerment.

While the image accurately depicts Keefe's face, she told the Courant, Rockwell embellished her petite figure into a muscular frame with blue jean work overalls, a sandwich in her left hand and a rivet gun on her lap.

Related: The Woman Who Designed the 'Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas' Sign Has Died

The painting, which famously appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in 1943, also featured Rosie resting her feet on a copy of Hitler's "Mein Kampf" as an American flag waves in the background.

Keefe was paid $5 for two posing sessions. Twenty-four years later, Rockwell wrote her a letter saying she was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen, and he apologized for making her "into a sort of a giant."

While historically important in its own right, Rockwell's painting should not be confused with another iconic poster created by J. Howard Miller in 1942 featuring a bicep-flexing and bandanna'd female worker alongside the tagline "We Can Do It!" -- which was created in order to boost employee morale at the Westinghouse electric company.

Related: Remembering Gary Dahl, the Marketing Magician Who Made Millions Selling Pet Rocks

Geoff Weiss

Former Staff Writer

Geoff Weiss is a former staff writer at Entrepreneur.com.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Side Hustle

This Dad Started a Side Hustle to Save for His Daughter's College Fund — Then It Earned $1 Million and Caught Apple's Attention

In 2015, Greg Kerr, now owner of Alchemy Merch, was working as musician when he noticed a lucrative opportunity.

Business News

This One Word Is a Giveaway That You Used ChatGPT to Write an Email, According to an Expert

"Delve" has increased its presence in written work since ChatGPT entered the scene.

Business News

Yes, You Can Buy a Foldable Tiny Home on Amazon — And Now It's Selling for Less Than $12,000

The waterproof and flameproof house was listed around $35,000 a few months ago.

Side Hustle

This Insurance Agent Started a Side Hustle Inspired By Nostalgia for His Home State — Now It Earns Nearly $40,000 a Month

After moving to New York City, Danny Trejo started a business to stay in touch with his roots — literally.

Starting a Business

4 Common Mistakes That Will Spell Doom Your Ecommerce Business

It's hard to spot a success story before it happens, yet it's easy to tell if a business will struggle. With that in mind, here are the four most common mistakes people make that you should avoid when starting an ecommerce business.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.