Rosie visits Ripley


On Sunday July 22, at 2 p.m., join us for a special presentation about “Rosie the Riveter” in the Ripley Library Annex.

Following the performance, the Friends of the Library will host an ice cream social. This is a free event, and everyone is welcome to attend. The Annex is located right next door to the Ripley Library. The library is located at the corner of US 52 and Main Street in downtown Ripley. For questions or further information call 937-392-4871 or

Kelly O’Connell Brengelman from Midway, will tell you the story of Rose Leigh, one of the many women credited as “Rosie the Riveter.” Kelly has been a Chautauqua actress for Kentucky Humanities for more than a dozen years. She has also had roles in various documentary and independent film work, including Cassius Marcellus Clay: An Audacious American, The Kentucky Governor’s Mansion: A Century of Reflection and most recently appeared in the documentary Audubon, which aired on nationwide PBS stations. Aside from acting, Brengelman is a graphic designer and writer.

Rose Leigh was just a regular girl from Science Hill, when she arrived at the Willow Run Bomber Factory in Ypsilanti, Mich., in 1942 to work as a riveter on B-24 bombers during World War II. Although she arrived with personal obstacles that included single motherhood, Rose found her way around the plant, found her ambitions, and found temporary stardom when she met Walter Pidgeon and appeared on the big screen as “Rosie the Riveter.” Fame was never Rose’s aspiration. Her real dream — to fly airplanes — was sidetracked as Rose continued to work after the war, in a society where women were being urged to return to housework. Rose finally earned her pilot’s wings in the early 1970s, but her solo flying career sadly ended a few years later when a plane crash damaged her left eye and kidney. Her film portrayal as Rosie the Riveter has inspired many, but she was just one of the many women who faithfully served her country. Rose Leigh was born in 1920 and died in 1997.

Kentucky Chautauqua is an exclusive presentation of Kentucky Humanities with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. This presentation is locally supported by the Ripley Friends of the Library.