The first woman to drive across the United States, and be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, was housewife Alice Huyler Ramsey.
In 1909 she was 22 years old, and she drove 3,800 miles from New York City to San Francisco. Only 152 miles of the journey were on paved roads, and there were no road guides or maps west of the Mississippi River. She brought along three female friends who couldn’t drive.
Alice H. Ramsey changed 11 flat tires, fixed a broken brake pedal, and performed other tasks such as cleaning the spark plugs and cooling the radiator with water during the 59-day road trip. The vehicle that she drove, a 4-cylinder Maxwell DA packing 30 horsepower, was thereupon proclaimed as “the car for a lady to drive.”
Mrs. Ramsey arrived in San Francisco to great fanfare. The San Francisco Chronicle headlined, “Pretty Women Motorists Arrive After Trip Across the Continent”.
Alice H. Ramsey crossed the nation over 30 more times after her initial historic trip. She lived in Covina, California, until she died at 97 years old in 1983.
Enjoy this short video from our friends at Owls Head Transportation Museum Youtube page.