Genevra Delphine Mudge: All of the Firsts

There are some firsts that seem insignificant. Genevra Delphine Mudge (what a name!) is the very first recorded female driver. She first obtained a drivers license in 1898 in the State of New York. The first working design of an automobile had only happened approximately five years before. In 1899 there were 2,500 motor vehicles produced in the United States. For Genevra to own and drive one, is mind-blowing. Her first car was a Waverly electric, yeah they had electric cars back then. The Waverly Electric car actually has Indianapolis roots, as it was an offshoot of the Indiana Bicycle Company.


It is also widely accepted that Genevra is the first female to race a car. She chose the gasoline-powered Locomobile as her racing car. A gasoline-powered Locomobile driven by Joe Tracey placed third in the 1905 Vanderbilt Cup. I can’t for the life of me find any results of Genevra. I’m not surprised though, back at the turn of the century most races involving women were “Ladies Only” races or distance races where women were there to show off the reliability of a car (see more about the turn of the century women HERE).

We don’t know much about Genevra, but what we do know is pretty impressive. She is the first woman to receive a New York State Driver’s License, she is believed to be the first woman to race in a car, and she’s the first known woman to get into an auto accident.

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Sources (also sources of the image)

Featured Photo by Emiliano Bar on Unsplash