We can do it! That was the slogan on the recruiting posters during the early 1940s, as American women joined the massive effort to defeat the Axis powers in World War II. At the beginning of the war, women represented just 27% of America's industrial work force, and by war's end, the number was 37%, or an increase of nearly 40%. Many of these jobs were difficult, labor-intensive positions, such as the railroad maintenance job depicted here. In this scene, a rather stoic-looking shop worker poses for a recruiting photo, amid the clutter of a locomotive overhaul that is far from complete.
The small locomotive you see behind our young "Rosie" is a 40" gauge 0-4-0T, which was built by the H.K. Porter Locomotive Works in 1921 for the Defiance Coal Company. She served that operation for over 30 years before finally being retired. In 1953, she was acquired by Dr. Stanley Groman for static display at his Rail City Museum in Sandy Pond, NY. When that operation closed in the mid-1970s, the locomotive then sat idle for nearly a decade. She was restored and operated by a private individual in the 1980s and was eventually donated to the Railroad Museum of Long Island (RMLI) in 1999. She is currently at the Strasburg Rail Road being re-tubed as part of an operating restoration for the RMLI.