On the Road - 5
Bettie Smith Kennedy (1872-1963)
Travel journals, 1923-1941
These journals from by Bettie Smith (Mrs. H. H. Kennedy) comprise notes from her travels to Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, through Texas, California, Nevada and even parts of Canada. In the first diary dated 1924, Kennedy notes her car’s mileage at 19,405. She left Pleasant Hill at 6:00am on July 17th, bound for Seattle and spent the night in Dallas on July 18th in “a very nice camp. Had a pleasant day.” According to the last entry she arrived back home on August 28, “driven abt 8000 miles and having had a glorious trip and didn’t have any car trouble at all.” Her other diaries from 1928-1941 document other road trips to Colorado Springs, Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver.
DeGolyer Library, Manuscript Collection, A1996.2087c
Nell Wanderwell and party “around the world”: endurance race 1919-192?: We will win with unit no. 1.
[New York: Nell Wanderwell?], c1924
Nell Miller was born in 1896 outside of Seattle, Washington, and worked as a Broadway chorus girl before meeting Walter Wanderwell in 1918. After a brief courtship, the couple married in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1918. In 1922, Nell and Walter set out on a global adventure in a “Million Dollar Wager” race. Separate teams led by the husband and wife departed from Atlanta on an expedition around the world to see who would be first to visit the most countries, and travel the most miles. The race had no defined route and apparently no finish line, as it lasted for the next seven years. The Wanderwells filmed their travels and edited the footage on the fly to present to audiences in towns they visited.
DeGolyer Library, Pamphlet Collection, GV1029 .N45
Mary Crehore Bedell (1870-1936)
Modern gypsies, the story of a twelve thousand mile motor camping trip encircling the United States
New York: Brentano’s, [c1924]
Mary Crehore Bedell was among the first generation of road-trippers to go overland by car and write about it. For Bedell, “a vacation is a precious thing, a thing to be planned for with deliberation and careful thought…” Her journey began in February in New York by boat to Jacksonville, Florida. Her journal encompassed over 100 stops across the country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific and back. She describes the roads as “none too good” despite their fine sounding names like the Lincoln Highway, the Yellowstone Trail, or the National Park Highway. For Bedell, “there is no better way of discovering the fine traits of our fellow countrymen than by packing up a kit and going a-gypsying.”
DeGolyer Library, General Collection, E169 .B42
Five album pages from a tourist automobile vacation from Washington, DC to California and Washington state. Views include Florida, the “Dells,” Yellowstone, monument for the Oregon Trail, waterfalls, Universal City, California, and the set for “Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
DeGolyer Library, Prints and Photographs, Ag2000.1316
Eight women, two Model Ts, and the American West
Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007
In 1924, eight young women drove across the American West in two Model T Fords. In nine weeks they traveled more than nine thousand unpaved miles on an extended car-camping trip through six national parks, “without a man or a gun along.” Author Joanne Wilke recounts the adventures of her grandmother, great-aunt and friends. From encounters with park rangers to the bats of Carlsbad cavern, these road warriors provide a unique perspective of the American West.
DeGolyer Library, General Collection, F595 .W695 2007
Part of the Sherry Smith Collection. Gift, 2016.