Category: Timeline Articles

“Over There” by George M. Cohan

“Over There” was written on April 6, 1917 by the playwright George M. Cohan. He wrote this song in response to the newspaper headline that announced the United States’ declaration of war on Germany. At the beginning of the song’s life, it was a patriotic call to arms, but later became “the song of the war” (Morehouse 127) and became very popular among the people of the United States during World War I. The song sold very well in its audio recorded version as well as the sheet music. The sheet music was very common in the average American household during this time period and singing this song and others like it was one way that people cultivated patriotism in their everyday lives. Nora Bayes was the vocalist in the original recording of the song and it reached over one and a half million copies sold in the entirety of the song’s life where other songs of the same time period reached only 100,000 to 300,000 copies sold (Morehouse 127). Enrico Caruso, Billy Murray, Arthur Fields and Charles King also recorded the song helping to make it one of the most popular songs at the time.

The sheet music was printed four times with four different covers, each successive cover showing increasingly detailed artwork as the song grew in popularity. Around the time that Nora Bayes recorded the song, the sheet music featured a portrait of her, intended to associate the song with her fame and popularity as an entertainer. Another cover depicted men together singing and dancing. A third cover depicts William J. Reilly who was a popular singing soldier during the war. The thing that these three covers had in common were that they were artistically simple covers with few colors and no artist’s signature. The fourth cover published in 1918 on the cover of “Over There” was of four soldiers sitting around a fire singing together, but this image is very detailed, has many colors and shades and was a reprint of a famous painting by Norman Rockwell who was a famous painter at the time and would increase the cost of the printing of the music. The song has reappeared recently due to its popularity. In 2009 the US men’s national soccer team used the chorus in a campaign leading into the World Cup Finals. Recently the song was used in the movie Leatherheads in 2008. “Over There” has been used in many various films and TV shows although many times it is either just the melody or the lyrics.

over there 1
Front Cover, George M. Cohan (1918), Over There [sheet music], Herman Dareweki Music Publishing Co. London Eng. New York Edition, featuring cover image “Over There” by Norman Rockwell, 1918. W.S. Hoole Library Special Collections, Tuscaloosa.
over there
Front Cover of George M. Cohan (1918), Over There [sheet music], Leo. Fiest inc. New York, held in W.S. Hoole Library Special Collections, Tuscaloosa.
Works Cited

Morehouse, Ward. George M. Cohan, Prince of the American Theater,. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1943. Print.

Cohan, George M., Louis Delamarre, and Norman Rockwell. Over There. n.p.: New York, 1918,

Feist Inc. ; London, England : Herman Darewski Music Pub. Co., [1918?], c1917. Music score. W.S. Hoole Library Rare Sheet Music Collection.

Michael Amling

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan


The record and the front and back of the album cover
Photo by Emma Callessen. Dylan, Bob. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan. Columbia Records, 1963. Web. Held in the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library.



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Photo by Emma Callessen. Front cover, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.

The album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, released in 1963, served as a distinct catalyst for change in the civil rights movement and the antiwar movement against Vietnam. Within the record, the songs “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Masters of War” particularly became renowned anthems for peace and equality for Americans. Unfortunately, among these famous pieces one of the most important parts of the LP recording has received little attention. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan not only contains a collection of powerful, protest songs, but also the physical recording album and record jacket add meaning and depth to the work because of the image portrayed on the front cover, and the Bob Dylan’s own detailed descriptions of the music given on the back.

The front of the record jacket offers a photograph of Bob Dylan and his girlfriend at the time, Suze Rotolo, huddled together walking down a city street in the cold. This quiet and simple image reflects the ideas in Dylan’s lyrics and sound–an urgent move toward peace and love and away from war and strife–that prevail throughout this collection of songs. The visual image of this cover sets the tone for the music contained inside. The quality and meaning of the album and the songs become clearer and the image enhances Dylan’s message by giving the listener a visual image of the writer at peace with himself.

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Photo by Emma Callessen. Back cover, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Held in the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library.

The back of the record jacket offers a collection of detailed information, with paragraphs describing segments of each song’s text, why Dylan wrote the song, where his inspiration for the song came from, when he wrote the song or what he intends to express in the song. Dylan’s true passion for the civil rights movement and his hate for the war in Vietnam are amplified by his commentary. His songs protest war and support civil rights in an “ubiquitous” and “elusive” way, so this information gives clarity to the work (Dettmar 43). For example, Dylan describes his song “Masters of War” as a “song of striking out, a reaction to the last straw, a feeling of what can you do?” Dylan’s perspective allows the reader to understand his emotions, motivations, and reactions to the events of his time. He states that he generally “doesn’t sing songs which hope people will die, but I couldn’t help it in this one.” The combination of his description of the intention of “Masters of War” and the confession of his rage give the song a background that may not have been established solely by the lyrics for the listener. Furthermore, Dylan states on the description of “Blowin’ In the Wind,” “I’m only 21 years old and I know that there’s been too many wars.” This allows the listener to understand Dylan’s ideas more deeply because of the expansion on the lyrics he gives. “Blowin’ in the Wind” becomes a personal statement with a specific intention rather than just a popular song on the radio. The record is a valuable part of primary source because it makes the album deeper than just a recording by providing the perspective and insight that Dylan had writing the album.

The additional detail and meaning given by the commentary and imagery on the cover of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan gives a concreteness and deeper meaning to the album.


Works Cited

Dettmar, Kevin J. H., ed. The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan Cambridge University Press 2009 Cambridge Companions Online.

Dylan, Bob. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan. Columbia Records, 1963. Web.


George M. Cohan’s Music during the WWI Era

George M. Cohan was an early twentieth century playwright and songwriter who was responsible for the creation of multiple patriotic pieces of music during World War I. These songs were quite popular amongst the American people and ultimately led to Cohan receiving universal praise for his work. Known as “the man who owned Broadway” before the war, Cohan’s previous success as a playwright helped play into the popularity of his war songs. Cohan’s most famous songs during this time period were “Over There,” “When You Come Back” and “Their Hearts Are Over There.”

Over There by George M. Cohan; Irish Fest Collection
Over There by George M. Cohan; Irish Fest Collection

Of Cohan’s World War I era songs, “Over There” is universally regarded as his most famous work and is often referred to as the “greatest song of the First World War” (Morehouse 17). “Over There” was written by Cohan in 1917 on the day that the United States declared war with Germany (Morehouse 126). The lyrical content of the song was written with the purpose inspiring patriotism and encouraging the American youth to join the military to help in the war effort. The song’s popularity led to also being used as propaganda during World War II and Cohan received a Congressional Medal of Honor in 1942 from President Franklin D. Roosevelt for its creation.

When You Come Back by George M. Cohan; Ed and Cathy Ward Collection
When You Come Back by George M. Cohan; Ed and Cathy Ward Collection

In 1918, World War I was coming to a close and Cohan chose to focus on American families and the return of their loved ones who had gone off to war with Germany (Reublin). That year he wrote the optimistic tune, “When You Come Back,” which can be considered as a sequel to “Over There” even though it never quite reached the same level of popularity (Reublin). Although it is not one of Cohan’s most famous works, the value of this song may perhaps be indicated by its magnificent cover art, a photo of George Cohan surrounded by a “terrific patriotic and colorful background” (Reublin). With lyrics such as “And fly our flag over old Berlin. Let’s let our message be to the Yankee across the sea” one can see Cohan’s sense of nationalism on distaste for Germany (Cohan ID: ECW SL 00-095).

Cohan also wrote another song in 1918 titled “Their Hearts Are Over There.” This song is more similar to “Over There” in title and content than “When You Come Back” (Reublin). However, it is similar to “When You Come Back” in the fact that neither song reached near the same level of acclaim that “Over There” did. Cohan dedicated this song to the work of the American Red Cross and donated the sales proceeds to the war relief effort (Reublin).Being one of America’s most famous playwrights and songwriters during his time, George Cohan was used his popularity to inspire and unify the American people during the WWI era. Through the nationalism inspired through “Over There,” the support shown for American families in “When You Come Back,” and the dedication of his song “Their Hearts are Over There” to the American Red Cross, Cohan was able to make important contributions to the American people and the war during the First World War.

Their Hearts Are Over There by George M. Cohan; Irish Fest Collection
Their Hearts Are Over There by George M. Cohan; Irish Fest Collection












Works Cited

Morehouse, Ward. George M. Cohan, Prince of the American Theater. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1943. Print.

Reublin A. Richard. “The Music of George M. Cohan.” The Parlor Songs Academy. The Parlor Songs Academy, 2004. Web. 17 October 2015.

Cohan, George M. Over There. New York: William Jerome Publishing Corp, 1917. Irish Fest Collection. ID: IF SL 01-444.

Cohan, George M. When You Come Back. New York: M. Witmark & Sons, 1918. Ed and Cathy Ward Collection. ID: ECW SL 00-095.

Cohan, George M. Their Hearts Are Over There. New York: Waterson, Berlin & Snyder Co., 1918. Irish Fest Collection. ID: IF SL 01-328.


Nicholas Turner

“Masters of War” by Bob Dylan

bob dylan
Val Wilmer/Redferns “Bob Dylan”

Bob Dylan has written some of the most well-known anti-war and pro Civil Rights songs to date. While most of his anti-war songs were originally written to protest the Vietnam War, many of them, including “Masters of War”, are still used to protest present-day wars. Dylan borrowed the arrangement for “Masters of War” from the song “Nottamun Town” recorded by folksinger Jean Ritchie. Dylan changed the lyrics and made it his own, although the lyrics were much more direct than most of his other songs. He was more emphatic in “Masters of War” with the message he wanted to convey: that the people with power in the government are at fault for the atrocities of war and all the unnecessary spilling of blood. Dylan was never so forthright in his other songs and he even surprised himself with the lyrics he used, stating “I’ve never written anything like that before. I don’t sing songs which hope people will die, but I couldn’t help it with this one.” Every line in this song is about how terrible these ‘masters of war’ are, and how Dylan can see through them, how he knows what they are doing in secret, how he hopes that they die and that Jesus doesn’t forgive everything they have done. Although this song was written during the time of the Vietnam War, the lyrics have been viewed as politically significant in many situations since then. Civilians continue to use this song in protests when they feel government authorities are misusing their power and that they are being treated unfairly. With the simple background music Dylan took for this song, the lyrics play the most important role. “The lyrics are powerful and unforgiving and they feel more intense because they are accompanied by this steady, calmer, background folk music” (WiB Team). “Masters of War” will always be an icon in the world of protest against wars that citizens feel are not right.
Emma Callesen


Team, WiB. “I CAN SEE THROUGH YOUR MASKS – EXPLAINING BOB DYLAN MASTERS OF WAR.” Words in a Bucket. N.p., 27 Feb. 2015. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

Sullivan, James. “Bob Dylan’s 10 Craziest Fans.” Rolling Stone. Val Wilmer/Redferns, 16 May 2014. Web. 08 Nov. 2015.

Dylan, Bob. Blowin’ in the Wind. Bob Dylan. Columbia Records, 1963. Web.

Blowin’ in the Wind

“Blowin’ in the Wind” was on Dylan’s first album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and he claimed it took him “10 minutes to write” (Naylor). The song went on to become a landmark piece for the Civil Rights movement and it was even played at the Lincoln Memorial before Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a Dream Speech.” The lyrics state “Yes, ’n’ how many years can some people exist, before they’re allowed to be free?” a sentiment that described directly the plight of African Americans who, several decades after the end of slavery, still did not enjoy basic freedoms as American citizens. Although the lyrics are hard and questioning lyrics, “Blowin’ in the Wind” is set to simple tune with guitar and a characteristic Dylan vocal delivery. These aspects allow the song to seem both carefree and easy, while the solo voice and acoustic guitar create a feeling of intimacy.  Bob Dylan’s ability to connect to listeners’ emotions gave the song much of its power.  This song went on to be used in numerous marches and other events during the Civil Rights movement.

Bob Dylan was very open about his songwriting process and once said “[I am] not going to limit what I can say. I have to be true to the song.” This allowed him to express very abstract ideas about ethics and what he saw as right and wrong. “Blowin’ in the Wind” was also used in the Vietnam anti-war movement, where supporters connected to the lines “Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly, before they’re forever banned?”

“Blowin’ in the Wind” takes questions regarding social problems of the 1960’s, like war and civil rights, sets them to a simple, singable melody. The pairing of this pleasant melody with powerful messages made “Blowin’ in the Wind” something of a universal protest song, used widely in the 1960’s and afterward to support various causes. Bob Dylan gives but but a single answer to each of these questions, stating that the answer is “blowin’ in the wind,” implying that the answer is ambivalent and it could be right in front of you or halfway across the world. “Blowin’ in the Wind” significantly impacted both the civil rights movement and and anti-Vietnam war movement.  It has continued to be covered by numerous 20th century musicians, ultimately revealing the power of its questions.


Naylor, Brian. “‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ Still Asks The Hard Questions.” NPR. NPR, 21 Oct. 2000. Web. 05 Oct. 2015.

Dylan, Bob. Blowin’ in the Wind. Bob Dylan. Columbia Records, 1963. Web.


Hull House and its Political Effect


Hull House map
Jane Addams Hull House location in Chicago Photo Provided through Google Maps Source: Addams, Jane. 800 S. Halsted Street (M/C 051), Chicago IL, 60607-7017.
Hull House Songs
The cover of Hull House Songs Photo by Diana Boone Source: Smith, Eleanor. Hull House Songs. Chicago: Clayon F. Summy, 1915. Print. Held in the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library.

Located in the city of Chicago, the music program within Hull House was very politically influential. While Hull House originated in order to aid immigrants in acculturating to American life, its music program went above and beyond this goal. The music taught at Hull House was successful in helping Americanization while tying in cultural roots and background. The music that emerged from Hull House helped immigrants learn about American life while simultaneously teaching them about groups of people in society that faced oppression. This included non-natives, women, children, laborers, and any other group of people that experienced unequal treatment. “The Sweat Shop”, for example, is one composition found in Hull House Songs that expresses the poor labor conditions that were prevalent during the early twentieth century.

By educating its residents on the current political issues, it promoted an awareness that spread beyond the walls of Hull House and into the surrounding urban area. The musical score also included “Suffrage Song” in response to the lack of women’s voting rights in this period. Jane Addams, the founder of Hull House, used this music to further her argument in the advocation for women’s voting rights. The music created within Hull House was surprisingly compelling ad influential. It attracted the attention residents and essentially created a ripple effect in its proximity. Hull House Songs also consists of three other songs titled: “The Shadow Child”, “Land of the Noonday Night”, and “Prayer”. Each song dealt with a significant issue at the time, such as the abolition of child labor and the relief of miners. In her foreword, Jane Addams makes it very clear that it is important to publish these songs in order to consider the “legitimate function of the settlement to phrase in music the wide spread compunctions of our day” (Hull House Songs). The Hull House Songs were important in their use of musical talent and skill to develop newly immigrated peoples and to maintain political activism within the surrounding community.

Jane Addams' preface
Source: Smith, Eleanor. Hull House Songs. Chicago: Clayon F. Summy, 1915. Print.


Addams, Jane. 800 S. Halsted Street (M/C 051), Chicago IL, 60607-7017. Place.

Hull House Interior. Outline Sketch Descriptive of Hull House. Pfeiffer University, n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2015.

Smith, Eleanor. Hull House Songs. Chicago: Clayon F. Summy, 1915. Print.


Jordan Mlcoch

Jane Addams Hull House Settlement 1889: a cultural beacon in Chicago’s west side for arts, worker safety, and political progressivism

Early postcard featuring the Hull House settlement Hull House Settlement, Chicago. 1889. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago. Office of the UIC Historian. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.
Early postcard featuring the Hull House settlement
Hull House Settlement, Chicago. 1889. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago. Office of the UIC Historian. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.

Jane Addams’ Hull House
800 S. Halstead, Chicago, Illinois
The Hull House settlement was co-founded by the well-known humanitarian Jane Addams and her longtime friend Ellen Gates Starr in 1889. Hull House started as home for disenfranchised citizens within the west side of Chicago and at its height grew to be a 13 building institution. The original mission was to teach immigrants how to speak, read and write English as well as learn principles of democratic citizenship in order to improve the overall living conditions of the residents. Founded on the motto “neighbors helping neighbors”, the Hull House was guided by three basic principles to perpetuate its goals of serving as a beacon of social justice: “1) active and side-by-side participation with community residents in addressing local issues; (2) respect for the dignity of all individuals regardless of ethnic background, socioeconomic status, gender, or age; and (3) a belief that poverty and lack of opportunity breed ignorance, crime, and disease that are the result of financial desperation and not due to a flaw in moral character” (Malekoff 307). From these founding moral values, Hull House flourished into multiple programs that encompassed social and musical arts while adding a summer camp called Bowen Country Club. By 1920, Hull House had become the standard for settlement houses influencing over 200 other settlements nationwide.

A Google Maps aerial view of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Chicago, Illinois
A Google Maps aerial view of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago’s Jane Addams Hull House Association, the modern entity that remains from the original Hull House, officially closed its doors on January 27th, 2012. Before the program was terminated, the Hull House Association advocated for causes such as foster care, child care, domestic violence counseling, and job training. Although its doors are officially closed, the legacy of the Hull House lives on in the Jane Addams Hull House Museum in downtown Chicago. Although one cannot truly quantitatively evaluate the impact that Jane Addams’ Hull House had on the plight of the immigrant order, the influences of the Hull House’s initiatives can be seen within many modern social welfare programs today.


Hull House Settlement, Chicago. 1889. University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago. Office of the UIC Historian. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.

MacDonald, Meg Meneghel. “Urban Experience In Chicago: Hull-House And Its Neighborhoods, 1889-1963/Jane Addams Hull-House Museum.” Journal Of American History 97.1 (2010): 290-291. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.

Malekoff, Andrew, and Catherine P. Papell. “Remembering Hull House, Speaking To Jane Addams, And Preserving Empathy.” Social Work With Groups 35.4 (2012): 306- 312. Academic Search Premier. Web. 15 Oct. 2015.

Laurel Wenckowski

The Sinking of the Alabama

On Sunday June 19, 1864, the Confederate ship the Alabama captained by Raphael Semmes set sail for its final battle, a battle that would soon inspire generations of both songwriters and historians to come. However, the ship’s story began two years earlier in 1862 during the beginning American Civil War. Built in Liverpool, the Alabama spent almost the entirety of its two-year career in the waters around Great Britain; despite its short time in action, the Alabama managed to destroy or capture over 80 merchantmen – ships used for commerce – and one warship. By the time the Alabama was gearing up for its final battle, the ship had created an international reputation that both mystified and troubled its prospective enemies.

However, the confederate warship was not immortalized for its “single-handed war against Northern Commerce” but for its crew’s actions in their final moments in the Battle of Cherbourg against the Union ship the Kearsarge: the battle that sunk the Alabama. Although the battle would be counted as a Union victory, tales of the Alabama and its crew’s final moments gained far more glory. The crew of the Alabama became famous for their refusal to surrender even when their ship was damaged beyond all hope. A newspaper article from the Daily Cleveland Herald written on July 7, 1864, recounted that “with great bravery the guns were kept ported till the muzzles were actually underwater, and the last shot from the doomed vessel was fired as she was setting down.” It was not until the ship’s stern was completely underwater that Captain Semmes gave the orders for his men to “save themselves as best they could.”  It is estimated that the crew of the Alabama contained about 150 men and that 10 to 12 of the ship’s crew were killed during the Battle at Cherbourg.

The songs “The Alabama,” “Roll, Alabama, Roll” and “The Alabama and the Kearsarge” are just a few of the many pieces created by Confederate musicians to eulogize the ship’s final moments and more importantly to spread word of the crew’s immense bravery in a battle against an ironclad ship that far outmatched the firearms of the Alabama. In 1864, when the war was coming to a close, the Confederacy was trying with all its might to bolster the morale of its army and citizens. Captain Semmes and his crew became symbols of what the Confederacy needed most in this stage of the war, “No Surrender.”


Further Reading

Bowock, Andrew. CSS Alabama: Anatomy of a Confederate Raider. Rochester: Chatham Publishing; 2002. Print.

Robinson III, Charles M. Shark of the Confederacy. Annapolis: Naval Institute, 1995. 1-6, 135-149. Print.

The Sinking of the Alabama.” Daily Cleveland Herald [Cleveland, Ohio] 7 July 1864: n.p. 19th Century U.S. Newspapers. Web. 5 Oct. 2015.


Margaret Lawson

Jane Addams: Creating Social Reform Through Music, Leadership, and Advocacy

Jane Addams, one of the most prominent social reformers of the nineteenth century, worked to change the culture of immigrant and working class life in Chicago in the Progressive Era. Born in 1860, Addams grew up in a well-educated and politically-involved Illinois household, providing the basis for her future passion towards progressive ideals. After visiting Toynbee Hall settlement house in London as a young adult, Addams was inspired to take up a similar cause for the struggling residents of Chicago. Addams opened Hull house in 1889 with the goal of providing “a center for a higher civic and social life; to institute and maintain educational and philanthropic enterprises and to investigate and improve the conditions in the industrial districts of Chicago” (“Jane Addams (1860–1935)”). Hull House welcomed women, children, immigrants, and laborers, and helped them to build a more stable life within the industrial city.

One way that Addams made Hull House stand apart was through her implementation of the arts into the curriculum, making it a distinguishing feature of the settlement as a whole. Residents of Hull House were strongly encouraged to take part in the arts, and the settlement quickly became known for the unique musical and artistic talent it produced. Addams pushed for music education for the residents because she believed that music is “the most potent agent for making the universal appeal and inducing men to forget their differences” (Addams 380). Addams brought on Eleanor Smith as head of the music school, and together they brought Hull House music into the public sphere through various publications and performances. In the foreword to Hull House Songs, a compilation of five politically-charged songs relating to the struggles of those residing within the settlement, Addams indicates her belief that music can offer “an escape from the unnecessary disorder of actual life”. Concerts were held every Sunday, and audience size increasingly grew week by week, allowing Hull House to spread its messages to the surrounding community (Vaillant).

Jane Addams continued beyond Hull House to create change across the United States with her assistance in various other social reform programs. Addams helped to found the National Child Labor Committee, served on the executive board for the NAACP, advocated pacifism through the Women’s Peace Party, and much more. She worked to better the lives of those similar to those she saw struggling every day at Hull House, and in 1931 won the Nobel Peace Prize, the culmination of Addams’ lifetime of service to others.


Addams, Jane. Twenty Years at Hull-House: With Autobiographical Notes. New York: MacMillan, 1912. A      Celebration of Women Writers. University of Pennsylvania. Web. 18 Oct. 2015.

Jane Addams. N.d. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington D.C. Jane Addams. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

“Jane Addams (1860–1935).” Open Collections Program: Immigration to the US,. Harvard University Library, n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2015.

Smith, Eleanor. Hull House Songs. Chicago: Clayon F. Summy, 1915. Print.

Vaillant, Derek. Sounds of Reform: Progressivism & Music in Chicago, 1873-1935. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 2003. Print.


Diana Boone

Rosie the Riveter

Rosie the Riveter, the widely-recognized name associated with the popular American slogan and poster “We Can Do It!”, inspired millions of women to fill in the labor gap during World War I. Most women joined the workforce as blue collar laborers, working in factories that produced machinery or weaponry. Rosie the Riveter is most often associated with the iconic portrait by J. Howard Miller, however, the name of Rosie the Riveter came from the song “Rosie the Riveter” by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb in 1942 (Harvey). Although the slogan “We Can Do It” is associated with J. Howard Miller’s portrait (Harvey), it was the song that secured Rosie the Riveter’s place in history.

Gardner, Janet E. "Rosie The Riveter."
Gardner, Janet E. “Rosie The Riveter.”

The song “Rosie the Riveter” conveyed with urgency the need for women to join the American workforce, and expressed a new idea for its time- that women were capable of performing jobs traditionally held by men. With lines like “All the day long/Whether rain or shine/She’s a part of the assembly line,” and “That little girl will do more than a male will do” (Harvey), the song inspired the idea that women had just as important of a role as men in the war effort. The lyrics go on to describe Rosie’s boyfriend “Charlie” who serves in the Marines, and how she now fills his assembly line position(The Internet Archive), asserting Rosie is equal in every way to a man.

The song, written after Miller’s creation of the “We Can Do it!” image, created a context for and delivered a story to accompany the iconic Rosie the Riveter portrait, establishing women’s place in the blue-collar workforce both during and after World War II, and taking another step toward feminism in America.


Works Cited

Cook, Terri. “Rosie The Riveter NHP.” American Road 11.3 (2013): 78. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 17 Oct.                2015.

Gardner, Janet E. “Rosie The Riveter.” Salem Press Encyclopedia (2015): Research Starters. Web. 17 Oct.                  2015.

Harvey, Sheridan. “Rosie the Riveter: Real Women Workers in World War II.” <>. The Library of                    Congress. 20 July. 2010. Web. 17 Oct. 2015.

The Internet Archive. “Rosie The Riveter.” <>. Audio. 17 Oct. 2015.


Austin Goodwin