Mae Krier

Mae Krier was born in North Dakota during the 1920s. She grew up like many families did during the Great Depression, poor and struggling. In her later years, Krier would speak about how her family would take in anyone who needed help despite their own financial limitations. “The Bums or Hobo’s as they called them, used to get off the train and come knock on the door to see if they could do something to earn a sandwich, which my Mother always gave them. As a child I can remember them sitting on the step, usually eating an egg sandwich, but they would be very appreciative and then they would move on. These men weren’t harmful, they were caught up in the depression like everyone else. All they wanted was a decent job so that they could survive.”

Due to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, life began to turn around for many families, including the Krier’s. However, their attention now turned to Europe where Hitler was beginning to invade countries. “I remember December 7th, 1941 so well. It was a Sunday and my sister and I were at a movie. When we came home our Folks were sitting by the radio very upset. When we asked what had happened, they told us that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor. I stood there for while thinking, “Do I really know where Pearl Harbor is?” Days later, Hitler declared war on us. So now we are fighting wars across two oceans. We, as a nation, weren’t prepared for war.”

Krier’s brother enlisted in the army, as did her uncle. Her uncle had been a mail carrier, a position that needed to be filled. The job would go to Krier’s mother, just like jobs across the entirety of the country would begin to be filled by women. Krier referred to her mother as “my first Rosie.”

Krier herself became a Rosie. She, her sister, and one of their friends moved to Seattle to work at Boeing. What started as a summer job quickly turned into positions they would hold throughout the war. “Many important people have told me that if it hadn’t of been for the women, we may have lost the war.” Women stepped up to the plate during the Second World War and proved that they were stronger than anyone could have imagined.

Today, Krier uses her experience as a Rosie to inspire girls to get into STEM. She works hard to get Rosies recognized for the important work they did for their country. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she made face masks with Rosie’s image on them in an attempt to both help out and raise awareness for the Congressional Gold Medal campaign aimed at getting Rosie’s the recognition they deserve. Of the Rosie’s, she says: “After the war, the men came home to flying flags and parades, and Rosie came home with a pink slip. It really wasn’t fair.”[1]


[1] “Mae Krier,” Women in Science & Engineering Symposium, accessed April 4, 2023, https://www.wiseusaf.com/bios/17-mae-krier.html.

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