The new world of the automobile was a male domain, but women in Los Angeles broke gender-based barriers when they drove in endurance runs and car races, used automobiles to mobilize for the “Votes for Women” amendment, organized car parades to overturn a no-parking ordinance, and influenced auto manufacturers to add new features for safety, comfort, and custom design. Although all the founders of the Automobile Club of Southern California were men, Miss Sybil Geary emerged as the dynamic leader of the club by expanding the organization’s membership, hiring women service representatives, launching programs to install informational road signage, and leading research and lobbying efforts to enact the first comprehensive regulatory regime for the automobile in the state of California in 1913.
Sybil Geary, Women, and the Automobile in Los Angeles, 1900–1920:
Darryl Holter is adjunct professor of history at the University of Southern California and the author of The Battle for Coal: Miners and Nationalization in France, 1940–1950 and Workers and Unions in Wisconsin. He is the co-author (with William Deverell) of Woody Guthrie in Los Angeles, 1937–1941 and the owner/operator of Felix Chevrolet, the founding Chairman of the Figueroa Corridor Business Improvement District, and the co-owner of Chevalier’s Books in Los Angeles.
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Darryl Holter; Sybil Geary, Women, and the Automobile in Los Angeles, 1900–1920: . Southern California Quarterly 1 May 2021; 103 (2): 220–255. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/scq.2021.103.2.220
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