In May 2004, the Washington County Free Library hosted an event to celebrate the contribution of local women to the home front during World War II. The National Park Service is developing a Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front National Historical Park in California at the site of one of the largest shipyards employing women during the war. Tina Orcutt from the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Park represented the National Park Service. John Frye of the Western Maryland Room gave a history of Fairchild Aircraft in Hagerstown.
Many of the women who came to the Hagerstown event had worked at Fairchild. Others had worked at Glen L. Martin in Essex, Maryland; at the Sperry Gyroscope plant in Brooklyn, New York; and at the Proving Grounds in Aberdeen, Maryland. In addition two women who came to the event had served in the armed forces during the war. The women who worked at Fairchild Aircraft were, in the main, riveters, riveting together the airplanes that played such an important part during World War II, the C82, C119, and making the wings for the PBM bomber that Glen L. Martin was building. For some women this was their first job, for others it was a job that was different from working in a laundry or garment shop. For all, working at Fairchild, Glen L. Martin or other defense industries allowed them to contribute to the war effort and was exciting as well.
Allegany County had their reception October 2004 at the LaVale Library. The women who attended worked on the home front at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola and in defense- related factories in Ohio and New Jersey. Dan Whetzel from Allegany High School talked about the publication, Work & wait, Allegany County: The home front years, 1941-1945, produced by the students.
The term "Rosie the Riveter" was popularized by a 1942 song written by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb and recorded by big-band leader Kay Kyser. The lyrics:
All the day long,
Whether rain or shine
She’s a part of the assembly line.
She’s making history,
Working for victory
Rosie the Riveter
"Rosie the Riveter" became a nickname for the millions of women from all backgrounds and across the country who worked in wartime industries and support services, including aircraft factories, shipyards, steel mills, foundries, lumber mills, warehouses, offices, hospitals and daycare centers. Some of the stories of the Western Maryland Rosies are recorded on these pages, as these women did indeed "make history."
The Rosie the Riveter / World War II Home Front National Historical Park http://www.nps.gov/rori/
Work & wait, Allegany County: the home front years, 1941-1945 , compiled by Allegany High School Social Studies Department. Cumberland, MD : Allegany High School, c2003.