Geraldine Hoff Doyle (July 31, 1924 — December 26, 2010) was the real-life model for the World War II era We Can Do It posters, an embodiment of the iconic World War II character Rosie the Riveter.
Geraldine Hoff was born in Inkster, Michigan. Her father Cornelious was an electrical contractor who died of pneumonia when she was 10 years old. Her mother, Augusta, was a composer stricken with scoliosis. After graduating from high school in Ann Arbor, in 1942 Geraldine found work as a metal presser in a Michigan factory. (As men started enlisting and being drafted into military service for World War II, women began to support the war effort by taking on roles, including factory work, that were formerly considered “male only.”)
Because she was a cello player, Geraldine feared a hand injury from the metal pressing machines and soon left the factory. During the brief time she worked there a wire photographer took a picture of her. That image – re-imagined by graphic artist J. Howard Miller while working for the Westinghouse Company’s War Production Coordinating Committee — became the basis for the poster Miller created during a Westinghouse anti-absenteeism and anti-strike campaign.