ICON | Dorothy Levitt

Photo of Dorothy Levitt from frontispiece of the book The Woman and The Car, 1907.

"I never think of the danger. That sort of thing won't do. But I know it is omnipresent. The slightest touch of the hand and the car swerves, and swerves are usually fatal. But I am a good gambler, and always willing to take the chance."—Dorothy Levitt. Nov 1906

Dorothy Levitt was a British motorina, a writer, and a pioneer of female independence, motor racing, and speedboat driving. She held speed records on land and sea and was described as The Fastest Girl on Earth. In her book The Woman and the Car: A chatty little handbook for all women who motor or who want to motor she suggested women "carry a little hand-mirror in a convenient place when driving" so they may "hold the mirror aloft from time to time in order to see behind while driving in traffic", thus inventing the rear view mirror before it was introduced by manufacturers in 1914. 

Dorothy Levitt driving a Napier at the inaugural Brighton Speed Trials in July 1905, setting a new Ladies World Land Speed record of 79.75 miles an hour.

Thank you to Mary Caple (of the inspired tumblr of the same name) for the tip.


Amielle said…
This is an awesome post! I love that quote and the tip with the hand mirror. You go girl!
Archana said…
Really enjoyed reading this. I love the mirror tid bit you threw in. Go Dorothy !

- Archana.
Anonymous said…
Wow, the rear view mirror = fascinating!
Teresa said…
Totally relate to her ideas on danger as someone who drives a motorbike in Asia.


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