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20th Century World Wars Poster: We Can Do It

20th Century World Wars Poster: We Can Do It

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J Howard Miller was a graphic artist employed by the Westinghouse company and made this poster as a work incentive. The poster was only displayed for a short period of time in February of 1943.  The photo was taken at the Pratt Whitney Aerospace factory at the Alameda Naval Air Station in California.  The photograph was of a then 20 year old woman named Naomi Parker Fraley, a photograph of her appeared in the Pittsburg Press in July 1942.  J Howard Miller lived and worked in the Pittsburg area and used the public image from the press in his poster.

The poster during the time was not that popular and was lost to history.  It was rediscovered as iconic in the 1980s especially with the feminist movement.  The image appeared on the cover of the Smithsonian magazine in 1994 and as an offical US Stamp in 1999.  It has been used by politicians, corporations, artists, and the general public ever since. 

In 2010 a woman by the name of Gereldine Hoff Doyle passed away and claimed to have been the woman in the iconic poster.  She had worked at the Alameda Naval Air Station as well.  The press reportered her as the woman in the photograph.  In 2011 Naomi Parker attended a reunion and noticed a photograph of herself being attributed to Geraldine Hoff Doyle, she wrote a letter to correct the mistake.

In 2015 a professor at Seton Hall by the name of James J. Kimble investigated the origins of the poster and became convinced the attribution to Gereldine Hoff Doyle was incorrect in part because she had only been working at the factory for 3 weeks at the time the photograph was taken.  He investigated the primary sources and interviewed Naomi Parker Fraley's sisters and concluded that she was the correct woman in the photograph. 

Naomi Parker Fraley passed away in 2018 at the age of 96. 

Much of J. Howard Miller's life remains a mystery to the public.  Little has been written about his life as a graphic artist and the dates of his birth and death remain uncertain.  He may have died in 2004 or 1990 and may have been born in 1915 or 1918.  His story is yet to be revealed or remains lost to history. 

The poster wil iconic for many more decades to come. 

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