In the late 30’s, a young woman motorcycle enthusiast named Linda Dugeau of Providence, Rhode Island, conceived the idea that there might be a number of women who owned their own motorcycles and might be interested in becoming acquainted with one another. Linda wrote to dealers, riders and anyone she thought might know of women motorcycle riders. After this extensive search, she compiled a list from which the Motor Maid organization was founded with 51 Charter members in 1940. The American Motorcycle Association Charter #509 was issued to the club in 1941.
Dot Robinson of Detroit, Michigan, was appointed the first President. She held this position for the next 25 years until she resigned during convention in 1965. Lou Rigsby of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was the first Vice President; Linda Dugeau was the first Secretary; Helen Kiss of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, was the first Treasurer; and Assistant to the Secretary was Hazel Duckworth of Valley Falls, Rhode Island. Today there are 11 elected officers consisting of President, Vice President, Membership Secretary, Recording Secretary, Treasurer, Supply Officer, Publicity Officer, Advisory Editor, Historian, Safety Officer, and Web Editor.
Uniting Women Motorcyclists
The founding premise of the Motor Maids was to unite women motorcyclists in promoting motorcycle interest. The initial Constitutional Article establishing the requirements for membership has remained the Motor Maid hallmark since the first meeting - membership shall consist of women who legally own and operate their own motorcycle or one belonging to a family member.
Informal meetings and get-togethers were held at various national and district events in many parts of the country. At the 1946 convention, it was decided we needed someone to provide a link between the membership and the Executive Officers. The State Director system was established. State Directors are appointed by the President and are responsible for keeping their area membership active and informed. They are also responsible for hostessing at least one get-together every year. In the early 90’s, State Director was changed to District Director as the membership became divided into Districts by State/Province or groups of States/Provinces.
Armed Forces Service
Nellie Jo Gill, Marion Trow and Arlene Sonnefelt were some of the many members who served in the Armed Forces during the war. During that time, getting together for meets was greatly restricted because of gas rationing. The first formal convention was held in Columbus, Ohio, May 27 & 28, 1944, with Jane Farrow and Jo Folden co-hosting. Formal business was conducted and a banquet dinner was held at the Columbus Steak House. Over Labor Day weekend that same year, the first Regional Meeting was held at Plainfield, New Jersey . Out of this meeting came the club colors - Royal Blue and Silver Gray - and the Motor Maid emblem in the form of a shield. The uniform had its beginnings at this meeting also. Initially the uniforms were tailor-made of silver-gray gabardine with royal blue piping. It evolved into a uniform consisting of gray slacks, royal blue over-blouse with white boots and tie. In 2006, the membership voted for a new uniform. The official uniform now consists of black pants and boots, royal blue mock neck long sleeved shirt with a white cotton vest, and of course white gloves.
In 1941, Howard Foley of Columbus, Ohio , approached the Motor Maids with the idea of parading at the Charity Newsies Race. White gloves soon became a part of the uniform. When they paraded at the Newsies Race, the Motor Maids became known as the “Ladies of the White Gloves”. The Motor Maids paraded annually at Charity Newsies through the final year in 1979. Over the years, the Motor Maids have been asked to parade at numerous races across the country and in Canada .
Motor Maids Convention
The Motor Maids hold a National Convention each July in a different part of North America. Motor Maids may only attend convention on a motorcycle. In 2015 the Motor Maids celebrated 75 years of continuous operation with approximately 1300 members.
If a member has attended two national conventions and has ten consecutive active years of membership, she may apply for Life Membership. Silver Life Membership requires twenty-five years of active membership and attended at five conventions. If ten conventions have been attended during fifty years of active membership, a Golden Life Membership is awarded.
After her twenty-five year tenure, Dot Robinson retired as President. Dourine Hamilton of Wichita, Kansas, became the second President, and Mary Cutright of Chillicothe, Ohio, served as the third. Kathleen Anderson, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, was the fourth President, and Jeanne Deak, Chardon, Ohio, the fifth. Jan Barrett, Englewood, Florida, served as our 6th president. Brenda Hickling-Thatcher, Toledo, Ohio, served as our 7th president. Susan Gibson, Goshen, Ohio is our eighth president. Kathy, Jeanne, and Jan remain active in club business serving as Executive Counselors.
We now have members in almost every state in the US (including Hawaii and Alaska) and several Canadian Provinces.