Over a hundred years ago, Alice Ramsey and her friends took the first all-female cross country automobile trip. You can read about Ramsey’s experience at Smithsonian Magazine online — what they ate, where they stayed, how they found their way in an era with limited roads and even more limited road maps.
Among our digital collections’ images of everyday life, a surprising number are of women and their cars, even as far back as Ramsey’s time.
Maybe they looked a bit like this group, circa 1907:
Or these women, a year later. I wonder: were they just posing with the car, or were they its drivers?
This shot is from the 1910s or 1920s. While nowadays a car like this would be sitting in a museum or kept under cover in a collector’s garage, back then it was just an everyday way to get around. Check out the mud on the tires.
These women and their car are from the 1920s — you can tell by that awesome flapper hat the woman on the left is wearing, and the fact that we can see their ankles (gasp!).
In the 1930s, taking a driving break to drink some bottled Coca-Colas.
Also 1930s, a couple of more fashionable ladies posing on their car’s running board.
By the 1950s, we’d come a long way in women’s fashion. Can you imagine the ladies above dressed like this? Car design had also changed a lot, with cars growing sleeker and longer…
…like this 1960s model Chevy Impala, taking an all-female group up University Boulevard to the University of Alabama campus in 1963.