392 We Can Do It

We started importing 'We Can Do it!' aka Rosie the Riveter from Victora Helaine Press in the US in1984. It sold so well that we couldn't get them quickly enough so we asked them if we could print it here. They said yes. We printed it #398 We Can Do It! in 1985. Still in print We sold tens of thousands all through UK, to Europe, rest of the World and even back to the US. Anyway, all this has been meticulously recorded by political archivist Lincoln Cushing in Berkely California and he has just sent me this interesting piece of information:

"A major World War II feminist/labor icon which has inspired hundreds of modified homages is popularly known as “Rosie the Riveter,” The problem is, she’s not Rosie the Riveter. Her thought balloon says: “We Can Do It!”, and she was produced by Pittsburgh artist J. Howard Miller as an in-house poster by the Westinghouse corporation’s War Production Coordinating Committee in 1942. It was displayed for only two weeks in their Midwest factories where women were making helmet liners. Ed Reis, Volunteer Historian for Westinghouse, explained that Westinghouse made 13 million plastic helmet liners out of a material called Mycarta, the predecessor of Formica (which means “formerly Mycarta”). During the war, the most popular image of “Rosie the Riveter” was a painting by Norman Rockwell that appeared on a cover of a May 29, 1943 Saturday Evening Post. The phrase had entered the public sphere a few months earlier on the radio as a snappy song with that title by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb.

so this Rosie was a helmet liner! but more importantly it has been established that Leeds Postcards made this image accessible and popular throughout the world since we have published it in 1985. well done us!




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