See and hear Peter Blodgett, editor of Motoring West, discuss the first years of the twentieth century when motoring across the vast expanses west of the Mississippi was at the very least an adventure and at most an audacious stunt. As more motorists ventured forth, such travel became a curiosity and, within a few decades, commonplace. For aspiring western travelers, automobiles formed an integral part of their search for new experiences and destinations—and like explorers and thrill seekers from earlier ages, these adventurers kept records of their experiences. These materials create a vibrant picture of the American West in the age of automotive ascendancy, as viewed from behind the wheel.
Blodgett joined the Huntington Library’s Manuscripts Department in 1985, and since then he has been responsible for the acquisition, processing, exhibition and reference service of the library’s rare original documents concerning the history of the trans-Mississippi West across the past two centuries. He is also the author of Land of Golden Dreams: California in the Gold Rush Decade, 1848-1858.
Motoring West: Automobile Travelers in the trans-Mississippi West, 1900-1950, is a proposed multi-volume series that will present a wide range of auto touring narratives from the beginning of the automobile age through the Second World War. When appropriate, early motoring guides will supplement the narratives. The accounts of motoring tourists, lost to readers’ eyes in the decades since they were first published, are an invaluable resource for understanding the early twentieth-century West and the roots of recreational motoring. The documents capture many insights about the amazing advances of automotive technology during the era, reveal the influence that the steadily expanding presence of the automobile exerted upon the development of the West, and illuminate the similarities and differences in the ways that men and women engaged both the automobile and the many Wests that they encountered in their travels
The lunch also features a special musical treat by the Velvet Frogs Barber Shop Quartet. Cost is $25 per person and members or guests may make advance reservations by contacting: Carol Criqui at email@example.com or (626) 345-9069. This event is part of the Huntington Westerners Monthly Meeting. Saturday, October 3, 2015 High Noon Luncheon at the Women’s City Club, 160 North Oakland Street, Pasadena.