Elinor Otto was born in 1919. In 1942, months after hearing about the attack on Pearl Harbor, she starting working as one of the original “Rosie the Riveters” at Rohr Aircraft Corporation in Chula Vista, California. Elinor was a single mother who worked for 65 cents an hour to support her infant son. She remained working until 2014, when she was laid off and finally laid down her rivet gun at age 95. Today, Elinor works as a Spirit of ’45 national spokeswoman, helping to promote awareness of the role that women played during World War II.
In this interview, she speaks about when she first went to work in 1942, learning about Pearl Harbor for the first time, what it was like to work alongside men in factories, and her experience as a single working mother.