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Meeting Colorado's Own Rosie the Riveter

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Historian and author, Gail Beaton, took Brighton’s Eagle View Adult Center back in time with a captivating performance as Colorado’s own “Rosie the Riveter.” As Gail Murphy, she told the story of the many diverse roles― from bullet makers to air traffic controllers to riveters ― Colorado women played during World War II.

Gail brought the day-to-day experience of those supporting America’s victory effort to life with stories of working in traditionally-male jobs and intriguing hands-on examples, including V-Mail (short for Victory Mail) and War-Sages.

V-Mail (short for Victory Mail)

This all-in-one letter and envelope told its own fascinating story about its design to reduce mail-bag bulk and quantities. The intriguing process following the special fold and mailing, included censoring, copying to film, and printing back to a reduced size.

More Hidden "V" Coding

The Brighton History Detective placed her investigative magnifying glass over this popular V-Mail poster and discovered the three dots and a dash following the "V" are Morse Code for "V."

The letter "V" is also the Roman symbol for the number "5." Supporters of the war effort also adopted the "5" in the title of Beethoven's 5th Symphony as a way to express another secret-code expression of a Victory (5th = V = Victory). Supporters could also hear the the symphony play out notes that sound like the Morse Code for "5" in the first notes of this symphony, "DOT-DOT-DOT-DAA." Try singing it and see if you don't hear the same.

War-Sage (Corsage Made with War Bond Stamps)

Gayle also displayed a “war-sage” in her "Rosie the Riveter" presentation that told the inspirational story of its support-the-war substitution of war bond stamps for flowers. Find out more about how women helped promote the war effort with these special "sweet-smelling" corsages made of war bond stamps at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture. This war-sage (stamp corsage c. 1942) is part of their Women's Collection.

Read the Full Story

Want to take your own time-travel trip? Gail M. Beaton has written an informative and fun account, exploring the dangers and triumphs these "Rosie the Riveters" experienced, Colorado Women in World War II received the distinction of as a Women Writing the West Willa Literary Award Finalist. Copies are available at Amazon:

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