Archives On The Air 3: Gasoline Gypsies—The Cross-Country Drive Of Grace & Ester Robinson

Jun 20, 2018

In the 1920s, the automobile age was in full swing. American women began enjoying unprecedented social freedom by driving cars. The newfound freedom is illustrated by the cross-country drive of Grace Robinson and her sister Ester.

Prominent journalist Grace Robinson took a summer assignment in 1928 to drive with Ester from New York City to Los Angeles.

They called themselves the “Gasoline Gypsies.” Their trip was full of adventure as they negotiated the difficult road conditions in the 1920s. They had several mishaps, including flat tires and a minor accident.

Grace and Ester proved that women could drive cars just as well as men. Their trip spoke volumes for the increasing social freedom enjoyed by American women during the 190s.

The Grace Robinson papers available at UW’s American Heritage Center are full of interesting items about their trip and Grace’s career as an early female journalist.