Year of the Woman: Trailblazers!

Spotlight Article from Center Piece: May 2020 Volume 5 Issue 2

Upcoming Virtual Exhibit: Trailblazers!
Written by Bryan Bailey Registrar for Library/Archives and Collections


In the summer of 1938, four women took a once in a lifetime journey across the United States. Beginning in York County, the foursome navigated a southern route toward their ultimate goal of Los Angeles, California. Along the way they visited Mineral Wells Arkansas, the Grand Canyon, and drove over the Hoover Dam. Once in Los Angeles they walked the Hollywood Walk of Fame, sailed to Santa Catalina, and drove through Beverly Hills. On their way home, the women hiked through the breathtaking wildernesses of Grand Sequoia, Yosemite, and Yellowstone National Parks. It was a trip the foursome would never forget; and they were determined to keep it that way.

Our traveling quartet was led by Margaret Hively, aged 62 at the time of the trip. She was accompanied by her nieces, Beatrice and Harriet. Harriet, a recent widow, lost her husband Dr. Howard S. Allen to scarlet fever in 1936. We know little of the fourth companion other than her first name, Angie, and that she befriended the sisters a decade prior while studying at Millersville State Teachers College. Perhaps in writing this article we may uncover more about the identity of a central character in this story in which four York County women traveled 9,000 miles in an Oldsmobile across some of the most beautiful areas of our country.

Each woman kept a diary of their vacation, took dozens of photographs, and drew their route on three large road maps. In the fall of 2018, a large part of this wonderful collection was donated to the Library and Archives by David Hively, a relative of the same Hively women who undertook this epic vacation. Mr. Hively knew how incredible this journey was back then and wanted to share it with his family. In the mid-1990s he transcribed Beatrice’s diary and published it in three parts in the Hively Family Newsletter. Thanks to the women’s documentation and the work of David Hively to preserve their story, the History Center will soon be bringing their journey to life with a virtual exhibit!

On our website you will find several digital exhibits including the York Plan and York City’s historic murals. Soon a new digital exhibit will be uploaded to our website which will present the women’s remarkable expedition across America. Utilizing their photographs, letters, and diaries, it will be possible for visitors to our website to relive this journey. You will see what they saw, read what they wrote, and hopefully feel the same excitement and joy they felt.

More information will be available in the coming days regarding our new virtual exhibit, Trailblazers. Check back to follow the footsteps of these women and their once in a lifetime cross-country journey.

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