“A Reliable Car and a Woman Who Knows It”

The First Coast-to-Coast Auto Trips by Women, 1899–1916


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About the Book

The audacity of driving a horseless carriage from coast to coast in the early years of the 20th century is hard to imagine in an age of superhighways and global positioning systems. Roads might be nothing more than muddy ruts made by wagon wheels; sources of gasoline or replacement parts were few and agonizingly far between; frequent repairs and tire changes were necessary; and the traveler was subject to the whole range of nature’s perils and discomforts.

For a woman to attempt the trip was, at the time, a jaw-dropping event. Yet in 1909, 22-year-old Alice Ramsey and three female companions piled into a Maxwell in New York City, and 59 days later they triumphantly rolled into San Francisco. A few years later silent film star Anita King would become the first woman to make the transcontinental drive solo. These and other early coast-to-coast drives proved women’s growing independence, as well as the automobile’s long-distance viability. Detailed accounts of five coast-to-coast drives make up this lively history. Drawing from plentiful contemporary newspaper reports and the women’s own words, author Curt McConnell recounts the bold adventurers’ experiences day by day and mile by mile.

About the Author(s)

Curt McConnell lives near Lincoln, Nebraska and is the author of numerous articles and another book on automotive history.

Bibliographic Details

Curt McConnell
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 184
Bibliographic Info: 69 photos, appendix, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2000
pISBN: 978-0-7864-0970-9
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

Winner, Thomas McKean Memorial Cup—Antique Automobile Club of America
“[a] detailed and well-researched work. Recommended”—Library Journal; “superb…great reading…well written…a ‘must have’”—Antique Automobile; “considerable detail”—The Flying Lady; “much information here that is gleaned from many well-quoted sources…a good read and very entertaining”—rideanddrive.com; “fills a gap”—Old Cars Weekly.