In early 1942, the Westinghouse Corp. commissioned artist J. Howard Miller to produce several morale-boosting posters to be displayed inside its buildings. The project was funded by the government as a way to motivate workers and perhaps recruit new ones for the war effort.
Smitten with the UPI photo, Miller was said to have decided to base one of his posters on the anonymous, slender metal worker.
For four decades, this fact escaped Mrs. Doyle, who shortly after the photo was taken left her job at the factory. She barely lasted two weeks.
A cellist, Mrs. Doyle was horrified to learn that a previous worker at the factory had badly injured her hands working at the machines. She found safer employment at a soda fountain and bookshop in Ann Arbor, where she met a young dental school student she would marry.
In 1984, Mrs. Doyle and her family came across an article in Modern Maturity magazine, a former AARP publication, that connected her UPI photo with Miller’s wartime poster.
The artist did take some liberties with Mrs. Doyle’s physique, her family said.
“She didn’t have those big muscles,’’ said her daughter Stephanie Gregg of Eaton Rapids, Mich. “She was busy playing cello.’’