June 13, 1922: Veterans Bureau employee Viola LaLonde and Census Bureau employee Elizabeth Van Tuyl pose beside a Ford automobile before making their cross-country drive from Washington, DC to San Francisco. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Keep in mind, these women crossed the country before the construction of a national highway system. Forget Econolodges and Denny’s restaurants, they packed their own fuel and food, sleeping in the car.
Eisenhower drove cross country on the Lincoln Highway in 1919 as part of an army convoy which took four months to cross the country. The contrast between that experience and his experience driving on the Autobahn during World War II led to Eisenhower’s proposal for a national highway system.
On September 25, 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to be sworn in as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
President Reagan had nominated O’Connor earlier that summer, and he wrote in his White House diary, “Called Judge O’Connor in Ariz. and told her she was my nominee for Supreme Ct. Already the flack is starting and from my own supporters… I think she’ll make a good Justice.”
O’Connor helped inspire a generation of women to pursue careers in law—when she was appointed, thirty-six percent of law school students were women; by the time she retired from the court in 2006 that percentage had risen to forty-eight percent.
Last year, O’Connor spoke to a group of high school students at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley and told them:
“It was exciting to be the first, but I did not want to be the last.”
Photo: Sandra Day O’Connor being sworn in as Supreme Court Justice by Chief Justice Warren Burger. Her husband, John O’Connor looks on. 9/25/81.
More from the Center for Legislative Archives
This week in history, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed. Yesterday, we asked which President established the first major legislation to provide programs for intellectual disabilities.
The answer is John F. Kennedy, with strong support from his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver. The Kennedy family had a personal connection to the issue. The president’s sister Rosemary, 16 months his junior, was born with intellectual disabilities.
TODAY’S QUESTION: Which President addressed Congress with these words: “Disabled Americans must become full partners in America’s opportunity society?”
Pictured: John F. Kennedy hands Eunice Kennedy Shriver the signing pen after signing the Maternal and Child Health and Mental Retardation Planning Amendments of 1963.
“Some time ago, I told you and Mrs. Roosevelt about my confidential plans for a world flight.”
-America Earhart to FDR
Amelia Earhart was born on this day - July 24, 1897
Here’s a letter Earhart wrote to Franklin D. Roosevelt in November of 1936 detailing her upcoming around-the-world flight and asking for assistance from the Navy.
PFC Gladys Bellon, Basile, Louisiana, one of the 27 WAC switchboard operators flown from Paris for the Potsdam Conference and Sgt. Robert Scott of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, test lines in the frame room of the Victory switchboard at U. S. headquarters at Babelsburg, Germany., 07/15/1945
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was nominated as an Associate Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton on June 22, 1993. The Senate confirmed Ginsburg’s nomination on August 3 by a vote of 96-3. She was sworn in on August 10.
Nomination message from President William Clinton, 6/22/1993, Records of the U.S. Senate
Happy 75th birthday Madeleine Albright!
Madeleine Albright was the first woman to become U.S. Secretary of State. Upon her unanimous Senate confirmation in 1997, she was the highest ranking woman in the history of the American government.
On this day in 1937, our 64th Secretary of State was born.
Photo gallery- Madeleine Albright and President Clinton
Portrait courtesy of the traveling exhibit, Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection
Lou Henry Hoover is a big history crush for us. Ever a maverick, Lou was a tomboy, a scientist, and the first woman to major in geology at Stanford. After she married Herbert Hoover, the two traveled to China, Burma, Japan, Egypt, Australia, and New Zealand. As a mother, Lou traveled the world with her young children.
After giving birth to their first son, Herbert Jr., in 1903, Lou was ready to travel within five weeks. The baby, a nurse, and the Hoovers left for Australia with baby Herbert in a traveling basket. By the time Herbert Jr. was one year old, he had been around the world twice.
Here is portrait Lou Hoover with Allan and Herbert Jr. in London, England, 1908.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. And thanks for the adventures!
-from the Hoover Library