Alice Huyler Ramsey
|Alice Huyler Ramsey|
November 11, 1886|
Rochester, New York
|Died||October 9, 1983(aged 96)|
|Spouse(s)||John R. Ramsey|
|Children||John R., Jr. and Alice|
|Parents||Ada and John Huyler|
Ramsey was born Alice Taylor Huyler, the daughter of John Edwin Huyler, a lumber dealer, and Ada Mumford Farr. She graduated from Vassar College in 1907. On June 9, 1909, the 22-year-old housewife and mother from Hackensack, New Jersey began a 3,800-mile journey from Hell's Gate[disambiguation needed] in Manhattan, New York to San Francisco, California in a green Maxwell 30. On her 59-day trek she was accompanied by two older sisters-in-law and another female friend, none of whom could drive a car. They arrived amid great fanfare on August 7.
The drive was originally meant as a publicity stunt for Maxwell-Briscoe, the carmaker. At that time, women were not encouraged to drive cars. The group of women used maps from the American Automobile Association to make the journey. Only 152 of the 3,600 miles the group traveled were paved. Over the course of the drive, Ramsey changed 11 tires, cleaned the spark plugs, repaired a broken brake pedal and had to sleep in the car when it was stuck in mud.
Along the way, they crossed the trail of a manhunt for a killer in Nebraska, a case of bedbugs Ramsey received from a Wyoming hotel, and in Nevada they were surrounded by a Native American hunting party with bows and arrows drawn.  In San Francisco, crowds awaited them at the St. James Hotel. Ramsey was named the "Woman Motorist of the Century" by AAA in 1960. In later years, she lived in West Covina, California, where in 1961 she wrote and published the story of her journey, Veil, Duster, and Tire Iron. Between 1909 and 1975, Ramsey drove across the country more than 30 times. She was married to congressman John R. Ramsey of Hackensack, New Jersey, with whom she had two children, John Rathbone Ramsey, Jr. (1907–2000) and Alice Valleau Ramsey (1910- ), who married Robert Stewart Bruns (1906–1981).
On October 17, 2000, she became the first woman inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.
"Good driving has nothing to do with sex. It’s all above the collar." (Ms. Magazine February 1975 p 17).
- Ruben, Marina Koestler (June 5, 2009). "Alice Ramsey's Historic Cross-Country Drive". Smithsonian (Smithsonian Institution). Retrieved 2010-03-09. "In 1909, 22-year-old Alice Ramsey made history as the first woman to drive across the United States ..."
- "Alice Ramsey's Historic 1909 Drive Across America". AAA Carolinas Magazine. 2009-07.
- Blaine, Dean (May 2009). "Alice Ramsey's historic road trip". EnCompassing (AAA Colorado). Retrieved 5 August 2011.
- "Alice H. Ramsey". Philadelphia Enquirer. September 14, 1983. Retrieved 2010-03-09. "Alice Huyler Ramsey, 96, the first woman to drive from ocean to ocean across the United States, died Saturday at her home in Covina, a town 25 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Honored in 1960 as 'Woman Motorist of the Century' by the American Automobile Association, Mrs. Ramsey and three friends made the 3,800-mile journey from New York to San Francisco in 41 days. In a 1978 interview with The Inquirer, she recalled that she undertook the 1909 expedition ..."
- Hall of Fame: Alice Huyler Ramsey
- "People Thought I Was Crazy": Newspaper article about the Alice Ramsey Mural in Reno, Nevada
- Alice's Drive, a re-creation of the drive on its 100th anniversary