Alice Ramsey and her automobile. Ramsey was the first woman to cross the U.S. in an automobile. Raney Bench will talk about women and the automobile at the Jesup Memorial Library on April 26. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SEAL COVE AUTO MUSEUM

Bench to talk about women’s rights and the auto

BAR HARBOR — Raney Bench, executive director of the Seal Cove Auto Museum, will highlight the adventurous and courageous women who bucked the traditions of the day and began driving in the 1900s when she speaks at the Jesup Memorial Library on Wednesday, April 26, at 7 p.m. She will tell the women’s stories as she explores how automobiles forever transformed women’s rights.

In 1900, women had limited rights in the United States and were expected to stay in the “woman’s sphere,” which meant taking care of domestic duties and staying at home. Encumbered by pounds of restrictive clothing, it was commonly thought that women were weak both physically and mentally. Fed up with these limitations, women started taking to the streets in political rallies and in the new automobiles. Women drove to assert their rights and take the message of women’s suffrage to rural areas. But they also drove for pleasure, speed and adventure.

Bench lives in Southwest Harbor with her husband, two sons and three-legged cat. She has a bachelor’s degree in Native American studies from Humboldt State University and a master’s degree in museum studies from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Contact the Jesup at 288-4245 or [email protected].

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