"It’s her car aren’t you proud of your little sister owns first auto in town"
Alice Ramsey became the first woman to drive from coast to coast across the U.S. in 1909
Public DomainAlice Ramsey became the first woman to drive from coast to coast across the U.S. in 1909 - Credit: Library of Congress

Though women were deemed constitutionally unsuited to driving by male authority which insisted upon them being weak, foolhardy and impractical, many exploited this new opportunity for freedom and independence. The first woman to obtain a driver’s license was Mrs John Howell Phillips of Chicago in 1899. Though cars were embraced enthusiastically by Americans – the 8,000 vehicles owned in 1900 had multiplied to around half a million in 1910 – they were still a relatively unusual asset.