Ray’s Blog

Rosie the Riveter and GBBGC – March 12

As we celebrate Women’s History Month at Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club, we are taking time to appreciate the important role women have played in the history of our Club. Since Edith Hay Wyckoff first encouraged local boys to form a club in 1946, women have been essential to the Club’s growth and traditions. Among its longtime advocates, the Club has been fortunate to count on the loyal support of Rosalind P. Walter.

The daughter of Winthrop and Carleton Humphreys Palmer, Rosalind grew up in New York City and attended the Ethel Walker School in Connecticut.  She and her family moved to Center Island in the 1950’s. As a young man, her father served in the 351st Field Artillery in WWI. He became the president of E.R. Squibb & Sons, the pharmaceutical company, presiding over the development of penicillin and other new antibiotic drugs.  Her mother was the Chairwoman of Long Island University and a Professor of Literature and Fine Arts there.

Rosalind followed in her family’s tradition of service. During WWII, she joined the war effort right out of high school, working on the night shift as the first lead riveter on the Corsair fighter airplane. She broke records for speed on the production line, advocating for equal pay for her female co-workers. After being featured in a newspaper story about the many women working in factories at the time, Rosalind inspired the song “Rosie the Riveter” by John Jacob Loeb and Redd Evans in 1942. The song was a hit and for the remainder of the war, “Rosie” was the epitome of our country’s sacrifice and patriotism. The lasting images created the following year by the illustrators J. Howard Miller for the Westinghouse “We Can Do It” poster and Norman Rockwell for the Saturday Evening Post have continued to symbolize women’s empowerment to this day.

As the wife of the late Henry G. Walter, former chairman and CEO of International Flavors & Fragrances, Rosalind became a noted philanthropist in her own right known for her support of many PBS programs. Like her parents, she has generously supported Long Island University and its C.W. Post campus receiving an honorary doctorate there. She is also a member of the boards of Channel 13, the American Museum of Natural History, the U.S. Tennis Association, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the North Shore Wildlife Sanctuary and the Museum of Television and Radio.

Dedicated to the causes of disadvantaged youth, she has served as a member of the National Committee for Inner City Drug Prevention and the Board of Overseers at Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club.  She has been a longtime sponsor of the Club’s June Dance, a Lifetime Supporter of our Annual Fund, and a faithful friend and advisor to the Club. In 2016, Rosalind was inducted into the Club’s Hall of Fame.

Our Club continues to strive to serve our girls and our future Rosies. In that effort, our Club is fortunate to be led by such important women as our Board President Susan F. Altamore Carusi, our Clothing Sale Chairs Eileen Duffy and Connie Glowatz, and our June Dance Chairs Andrea Cilmi, Dawn Kallman, Libby Imperio, and Melissa Meister. These strong and capable women serve as role models for all the young girls at our Club.