It’s the birthday of Augusta Van Buren, who joined her sister Adeline for a cross-country motorcycle trip in 1916 to win support for the suffragist movement. And what a trip it was. Plus: if you’re one of the many people stocking up on bathroom tissue these days, note that the largest roll ever made is in Missouri – but it’s not for sale.
Adeline and Augusta Van Buren (AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame)
The World’s Largest Roll Of Toilet Paper Can Be Found Right Here In Missouri (Only In Your State)
It’s the birthday of Augusta Van Buren. She once said “Woman can if she will” – and she and her sister sure did.
Augusta and Adeline Van Buren were descendants of President Martin Van Buren, and they were supporters of the suffragist movement.
They wanted to do something so impressive and so noteworthy that it would convince the country to back a constitutional amendment guaranteeing their right to vote.
This was back in 1916, in the midst of World War I.
They decided to ride motorcycles from New York City to Los Angeles to show that women could be dispatch riders serving in the military.
Military service, they figured, was a pretty good way to show you deserved the vote.
Keep in mind that in 1916, there was no interstate highway system like we know it today.
Some areas had a pretty good open road system, but others, not so much.
The Van Burens took off from Brooklyn on Independence Day 1916.
They did pretty well through Chicago, but after that they started running into problems.
For one thing, they rode to the summit of Pike’s Peak, which is not exactly easy riding.
In other places their bikes got stuck in thick mud.
And in others, they had problems not with their bikes or even with the roads, but with the authorities.
The sisters were repeatedly arrested on their trip for wearing men’s clothes!
In early September, about two months after setting out, they reached Los Angeles.
They kept going, right through San Diego and across the border to Tijuana, Mexico.
After all that, the military rejected Adeline Van Buren’s request to be a dispatch rider.
But they both kept achieving. Adeline became a teacher and later earned a law degree.
Abigail took up flying, and would later join Amelia Earhart’s flying group, the 99s.
Their descendants would pick up the family’s motorcycling tradition and ride for charity, and to pay tribute to the sisters and their famous ride.
For whatever reason the grocery shoppers of the world have been buying up every roll of bathroom tissue they can find during the current situation.
Bigger seems to be better when you’re stocking up, though for the record, the official world’s biggest roll is at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in Branson, Missouri.
It’s 10 feet tall and equal to 95,000 of the regular size rolls.
And no, if you’re wondering, it’s not for sale.