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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Pulling Alice Ramsey's Maxwell automobile out of a ditch
Currently on display
Not a part of the official Smithsonian Collection
In 1909, Alice Huyler Ramsey, of Hackensack, New Jersey, became the first woman to drive across the United States. Challenged by a sales manager for Maxwell-Briscoe Company, she drove one of the company's touring cars from New York to San Francisco. The company sponsored and publicised the trip to persuade the American public that cars were here to stay. American roads were still often unimproved in 1909, and Ramsey and her three female passengers packed a block and tackle and used it often in the muddy Midwest
Physical Description
Date Made:
In the first decades of its existence, the automobile was expensive, fragile, and subject to regular mechanical and equipment failures. A number of well publicized early cross country trips, as well as endurance and speed tests, helped make the American public believe in the efficacy and usefulness of this new mode of transportation.

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