adeline's story

Addie and Gussie, as they were known to their friends, may have been born into one of New York's wealthiest families but they were nothing like your regular 'society girls'. 

Addie and Gussie, as they were known to their friends, may have been born into one of New York's wealthiest families but they were nothing like your regular 'society girls'. 

In 1916, while America was on the eve of entering World War I, Addie and Gussie were in their early twenties and active members of the National Preparedness Movement.  They wanted to prove that women were able to serve as military dispatch riders delivering communications on the front line.  They also hoped to remove one of the primary arguments for denying women the vote.

At the time, it was believed that women were not capable of full citizenship because, "All government rests ultimately on force, to which women, owing to physical, moral and social reasons, are not capable of contributing."

The sisters hoped that they could dispel this ridiculous notion by riding 5,000 treacherous miles across the continental U.S.

And ride they did... completing their historic journey in Los Angeles on 8th September 1916 after suffering police intimidation, technical difficulties, accidents and almost running out of water crossing the desert.

Outrageously, their accomplishment was largely dismissed or worse... ridiculed.

The army rejected Addie's application and motorcycling magazines of the day praised the bikes and described the journey as a vacation.  Newspapers even accused the sisters of using politics to escape their housewife duties and "display their feminine counters in nifty khaki and leather uniforms."

Despite this, the sisters pushed forward and went on to further triumphs.

Addie earned her law degree from NYU and Gussie joined Amelia Earhart's "99s" having played significant roles in the women's rights movement.

Adeline and Augusta broke the stereotypes of the time proving that women could do anything a man could do.  In the words of Augusta, "Woman can, if she will."