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ARRA HISTORY

Historical Moments from the
American Rosie the Riveter Association
®

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The new Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Museum:
 
The new Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Museum chronicles Roosevelt's life, his role in America's recovery from the Great Depression, his leadership during World War II and his personal struggle with polio. Key exhibits include his hand-controlled 1938 Ford convertible, "Fireside Chats" playing on a 1930s radio, FDR's stagecoach used during parades, a film narrated by Walter Cronkite, and the naturally warm spring water that first brought Roosevelt to Georgia. Visitors can tour FDR's charming cottage, the guest house and servants' quarters left much as they were the day he suffered a stroke while posing for the "Unfinished Portrait" now displayed in the museum. Just one mile from the museum is the historic pools complex where Roosevelt and other polio patients swam for therapy.

Exiting the Museum, visitors walk towards the Memorial Fountain, and Walk of the State Stones and Flags and to the large wooden "Bumpgate", flanked by a Secret Service and a US Marine post. This is the entrance into the historic grounds of the Little White House. Beyond the Bumpgate is where time stops. Everything within this area is as it was on the day FDR died. The two buildings just inside are the Servant's quarters and the Guest House, both with original furnishings and taped messages.

Beyond the Guest House and Servants Quarters is the charming and simple home FDR built for himself here in Warm Springs, Georgia. It is compact, practical, and suited FDR perfectly. He used a small wheel chair to move from room to room. Comfort and simplicity are the key elements in the design and furnishings. The contents of the house are essentially as they were left on the afternoon that FDR died here. In the center of the courtyard is a 48-star American flag like the one flown over the Little White House in 1945.

The unfinished portrait by Mme. Elizabeth Shoumatoff is on display in the Legacy Building. Not a brush stroke has been added since President Roosevelt collapsed in front of her on April 12,1945.

Another site associated with the Little White House is the historic treatment pools and Edsel Ford Pavilion. Constructed and dedicated in 1928, the pools were used for therapy until 1942 when an indoor pool was built on the Foundation grounds. The historic pools are no longer filled. However, one can still feel the 88-degree water at the base of a ramp in the pools. A museum at the pools complex documents the history of the area from the time before European settlement through present day. Written information and recorded messages are available throughout the site to inform the public of the rich history at the Little White House. There are also rangers stationed at different areas to answer your questions.


Courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources

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There is a wonderful page about Norman Rockwell's paintings. Here is a link to the site:
http://www.rosietheriveter.org/painting.htm

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About the Rosie the Riveter Memorial Design

A sculpture evoking a ship's hull under construction is made of stainless steel. "Image ladders" recall those used by workers to traverse the prefabricated ship parts. Etched granite pavers begin at the hull and cover the length of the keel walk, including a timeline of events on the home front and individual memories of the period.

 

 

View of Rosie the Riveter Memorial with Richmond Marina and San Francisco Bay in background. This site was formerly Kaiser Shipyard No. 2.

Designed by visual artist Susan Schwartzenberg and landscape architect/environmental sculptor Cheryl Barton, the Rosie the Riveter Memorial: Honoring American Women's Labor During WWII is the first in the nation to honor and interpret this important chapter of American history.

An estimated 18 million women worked in WWII defense industries and support services including steel mills, foundries, lumber mills, aircraft factories, offices, hospitals and daycare centers.

Over 200 people including over 200 "Rosies" attended the dedication ceremony on October 14, 2000. Developed for an existing waterfront park, Schwartzenberg and Barton's design recalls the history of shipbuilding at Richmond's Kaiser Shipyards, the largest and most productive of the war.

View from hull down the keel walk to the central stack. This image ladder combines photographs of the shipyards with memorabilia gathered during the course of the memorial project.

Sited at the former Kaiser Shipyard No. 2, the memorial evokes the act of constructing the ships with mass-assembly techniques adopted by Kaiser to make ships in Richmond more quickly, and the process of reconstructing memories of women who worked on the home front.

This tight enclosure evokes the cramped work spaces women often faced and holds an etched steel image of a woman welder. Shortly after the Memorial was dedicated, someone left a pair of insignia patches here as an offering.

 

 


Shaped to recall a ship's stack, this structure holds a ring of panels combining blueprints used in ship fabrication with women's memories of work in the shipyards.

 

 

This image ladder combines photographs of women at work with coverage of national home front casualties from the New York Times and an article from the Kaiser Shipyards "Fore 'n Aft" about the double burden women faced on the job and at home.

Selected through a 1998 competition open to West Coast artists, the team describes their design as a "construction metaphor exploring the symbolic connection between building ships and the reconstructive processes of human memory."

The principal component is a walkway, the length of a ship's keel, which slopes toward the San Francisco Bay and aligns with the Golden Gate Bridge.


Quote on armrest at overlook platform reads, "You must tell your children, putting modesty aside, that without us, without women, there would have been no spring in 1945."

The path is inscribed with a timeline about the home front and quotes from women workers sandblasted into white granite. Sculptural elements of stainless steel encountered on the walkway are drawn from ship's blueprints and suggest the unfinished forms of hull, stack and stern under construction.

Two gardens - one of rockrose and one of dune grass - occupy the location of the ship's fore and aft hatches.

Porcelain enamel panels on the hull and stack reproduce memorabilia and letters gathered from former shipyard workers during the course of the Memorial project, along with photographs of women at work in jobs across the nation.

The panels, quotes and timeline illustrate the complex opportunities, challenges and hardships faced by women during the war years, including gender discrimination, hazardous working conditions, food rationing, and shortages of housing and childcare.

The Memorial was commissioned by the City of Richmond and the City of Richmond's Redevelopment Agency.

Information above was taken from another website. To view that website click here.
All photographs in this article were courtesy of Lewis Watts.

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The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter

The documentary The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter presents these women's experiences as they developed throughout the war years, and after, when the men came marching home. Some of the valuable elements of the film are interviews with several of the women who entered war production work. When watching the film, pay attention to the juxtaposition of their stories and experiences with government propaganda films which encouraged women to become war workers, described their work on the lines, and then encouraged them to "return to their homes" after the war was over.

Discussion Questions:

1) What backgrounds did these women come from before the war? What sort of labor segregation did they experience, both with regards to race and to gender?

2) What drew the women into the factories? What did the propaganda films say had drawn them? What do the women interviewed say?

3) How did the propaganda films depict women's work before the war? Why did they show women pursuing leisure activities--for example, playing cards?

4) How did the propaganda films make connections between domestic labor and women's job skills in the industrial workplace? Why did the films make this connection?

5) How did male and female war workers interact? Did women in war work face job segregation and/or discrimination by race? By gender?

6) What did women get out of their war work? In what ways were their experiences as war workers new to them? In what ways were they continuations of patterns of work outside the home they had pursued before the war?

7) Why was union activity so significant in war working women's lives? What strategies of organization did women learn from their union experiences?

8) How did women in war work balance the demands on them as mothers and as workers? What strategies for survival did they adopt?

9) The documentary contains a propaganda film aimed at women workers, telling them that it was their fault when war production fell. Why did the film blame women?

10) How was patriotism used to dictate women's behavior?

11) After the war, what were the women war workers expected to do? What did the workers themselves expect? Did they resist expectations that they would give up their work? What did these women do with the rest of their lives?

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Prepared by Professor Catherine Lavender for History 286 (American Women's History), The Department of History, The College of Staten Island of The City University of New York. Send e-mail to lavender@postbox.csi.cuny.edu

Information above was taken from another website. To view that website click here.


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