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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
March 11, 1908

The Mayor of Cincinnati, a man of large experience and broad intelligence, believes that women should not be permitted to run motor cars. To run a car properly requires calm nerves, muscular strength, extreme caution and special skill are required. Many women run motor cars and comparatively few of them, thus far, have killed pedestrians. A Cincinnati woman, running an automobile, happened to kill a city official. Naturally there is strong feeling in that city against women chauffeurs, and the Mayor expresses it in a message to the city council.

Skillful, carefully trained chauffeurs are needed whether they are men or women. Some women can sail yachts and ride cross country. A woman with strong nerves and good muscular development might run a motor car as well as a competent male chauffeur, with no greater risk to the car, to herself, or to the unwary pedestrian. Probably ninety-nine women in every hundred might better leave such work to men. But it is a deplorable fact that many men who run motor cars are not competent for the work.

Mayor Markbreit says: "The only proper machine for a woman to run is a sewing machine." Humane persons have been hoping a long while for the disappearance of all sewing machines not self-moving. Running a sewing machine by pushing the treadles is not a healthful occupation for women. It is much better work for men, if it must be done. Electric motors for sewing machines ough soon to be cheap and in common use.

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