‘We Can Do It!': Geraldine Doyle, WWII Poster Inspiration, Dies

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She was the fresh-faced 17-year-old who helped inspire the American home-front during World War II. Geraldine Hoff Doyle died Sunday at 84.

You probably don’t know her name, but you’ve seen her face. Doyle was 17 and working in a Michigan steelworks when her picture was taken by the United Press. That image – well, the face at least – became part of the ‘We Can Do It’ poster commissioned from artist J. Howard Miller during World War II, used to motivated a nation of female workers called into manufacturing jobs to support the war effort overseas.

(More on TIME: See the faces of D-Day.)

Doyle appears with bulky biceps curled on the poster, but in real life, she was more svelte. “She was 5-foot-10 and very slender. She was a glamour girl. The arched eyebrows, the beautiful lips, the shape of the face — that’s her,” daughter Stephanie Gregg tells the New York Times.

(See a photographic history of World War II movies.)

And while Doyle’s visage may have helped push more women like her into factory work, her own industrial career was shortlived. Gregg says her mother left the Michigan job shortly after the picture was taken, worried about injuring her hands and hurting her cello-playing. It would take until 1984 for Doyle to even recognize herself as the poster’s inspiration. (via CNN)

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