California State University, Long Beach

Rosie the Riveter Revisited

 
 

The Rosie the Riveter Revisited project, funded by NEH Grant (RC 00019-80-1459) and Rockefeller Foundation Grant (GA HUM 7924 and 8139) grants, was designed to do just that, using the medium of oral history. A total of forty-four Los Angeles production workers and two Women's Counselors were interviewed for the project; their numbers drawn from some 250 women with whom initial phone interviews were conducted. In life histories that averaged six hours, we traced what their prewar lives were like, their experiences during the war years, and the meaning and impact of their war work experience on their lives. Most the narrators worked in production jobs at Douglas, North American and Lockheed Aircraft; and their numbers include nine Mexicanas/Latinas and six African Americans. Additional interviews were conducted to better understand both aircraft manufacturing and the role of the Black community in creating wartime job opportunities. Arch Wallen's interview on the former topic is included in this series, while the interviews with Clayton Russell and Herbert Ward can be found in the series on Desegregating Unions during WWII. The interviews in the Rosie the Riveter Revisited series were conducted by three staff members during the period 1980-1982: Cindy Cleary, Jan Fischer and Sherna Berger Gluck. Transcripts of the interviews are on deposit in several archives: CSULB, Wayne State Labor Archive, and Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe/Harvard and ten edited interviews were published in Rosie the Riveter Revisited: Women, The War and Social Change (Boston: GK Hall, 1987; New York: Penguin, 1988). While these edited, published accounts have been used widely and have contributed to our understanding of the meaning of women's wartime work, the spoken words presented here brings to life the subtle meanings of their experiences, as reflected in voice, pitch and performance.

Recent Submissions

  • Cook, Emilie; Berger Gluck, Sherna, interviewer (2021-04-12)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - This one lengthy interview with Emilie Cook was conducted in her home in Santa Monica. The interview proceeded with few problems, though Cook was embarrassed later by what she felt was "illiterate ...
  • Neuman, Charlcia (b. 7/18/1911 - d. 3/1/1984); Berger Gluck, Sherna, interviewer (2021-04-12)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - This single, long interview with Charlcia Neuman proceeded well after an initial testy conversation (see Narrator bio summary for details). 2/27/1981
  • Murphy, Bette (b. 11/29/1918 - ); Berger Gluck, Sherna, interviewer (2021-04-12)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - This sixth session with Murphy was recorded ten days after the previous session. Because of her hectic schedule, on the one hand, and her incredible stamina on the other, the interview was completed ...
  • Murphy, Bette (b. 11/29/1918 - ); Berger Gluck, Sherna, interviewer (2021-04-12)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - This fifth interview with Murphy was conducted after almost a year's hiatus. First, she was consumed by pending strike negotiations, and then she suffered several health problems. Despite these ...
  • Murphy, Bette (b. 11/29/1918 - ); Berger Gluck, Sherna, interviewer (2021-04-12)
    INTERVIEW DESCRIPTION - This fourth interview with Murphy was conducted almost 4 months after the third one. And although she always seemed very rushed and busy, she was more than willing to devote several hours to the ...