Matilda Butler may not have as recognizable a name as Rosie the Riveter, but she’s spent the last several years educating others about the famous World War II icon. She believes living in Oklahoma as a teen helped form her eventual interest in a group of women she calls “Rosie’s Daughters” — women born during the World War II era — and their contributions to this country.
“I very much was shaped by the 1960s in Oklahoma. Oklahoma has helped shaped me to be the person I am now,” she said, speaking on the phone from her home in Oregon. Butler runs rosiesdaughters.com, a website that is everything Rosie, down to the red polka-dot bandanna. She and Kendra Bonnett have written a book, “Rosie’s Daughters: The ‘First Woman To’ Generation Tells Its Story,” and they archive excerpts from the book, women’s histories and Rosie paraphernalia, including the “limited edition” Rosie bandanna used in our photo shoot. Butler said she interviewed a number of women from Oklahoma for her book. “I wanted to sample people, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t just have people from the coasts.” Butler lived in Oklahoma City until near the end of her high school years. “I grew up on NW 20th St. and went to Northwest Classen,” she explained, adding that she would have graduated in 1960, however, she moved to Washington, D.C. in 1958, where she finished high school at National Cathedral School. As a girl, she remembers taking a “strong interest inventory,” a survey that suggested what field would mesh with the child’s interests. “It came back and said I would be good as a forest ranger,” she said, laughing. “Most unusual for a woman.