In this photo, a group of fashionably dressed women go for a Sunday drive on a beautiful summer day in 1915 San Francisco through Golden Gate Park. I have no idea how they managed to keep their giant hats from being blown off.
Based on their dresses and the fact they owned an automobile we can tell that these women were relatively well off. They were also trend setters; not only was driving an automobile still a novelty, but not too many women drove cars in those days.
Below is an enhanced photo of the women in the car. They are of different ages, with the older woman driving. They may have been mother and daughters. The fact that the older woman is driving is all the more remarkable. In an age when most women did not drive automobiles, she had embraced the new technology and engaged in a nontraditional role.
Even though the women in this photo have embraced what was then a very new and nontraditional activity, they are still very much conventional in their dress Their clothing is very fashionable and conservative, suggesting an upper class social and financial background.
It is time now to leave these ladies to their Sunday drive through San Francisco and return to our own time and place.
This article was originally published on March 1, 2015 and was updated on May 13, 2021