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The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture


Accepted now as the young woman who became famous as "Rosie the Riveter," Naomi Parker Fraley was born on August 26, 1921, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Joseph E. and Esther Parker. The family resided in Tulsa for a few years but left the state soon after their daughter's birth. Naomi Parker was attended high school in Los Angeles. Married three times, she has the surname of her third husband, Charles A. Fraley. Rosie the Riveter's identity was discovered after years of research by James J. Kimble, a professor at Seton Hall University. Early in World War II Parker was working in a U.S. Navy machine shop in California when a photographer decided to use her as the subject of a wartime labor poster. It featured a young woman in a red bandana making a fist as she rolls up the sleeve of her blue denim work shirt. Captioned "We Can Do It!" the poster was used exclusively as a morale-building tool in the Westinghouse Electric Corporation Plants that were involved in wartime production. The image of Naomi Parker Fraley as Rosie the Riveter has become an icon of the women's movement in America. Her family made its home in the state of Washington for several decades. She remained there until she died on January 20, 2018.

Dianna Everett

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Margalit Fox, "Naomi Parker Fraley, the Real Rosie the Riveter, Dies at 96," New York Times, 22 January 2018.

Michael Ricciardelli, "People Magazine and NPR Feature Professor James J. Kimble's Research on 'Rosie the Riveter,'" College of Communication and the Arts News, Seton Hall University, 13 September 2016.


The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Dianna Everett, “Fraley, Naomi Parker,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=FR025.

Published March 20, 2019
Last updated February 6, 2020

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