This Ain’t Your Regular Soccer Mom

This photograph from 1908 caught my eye. It is of 28-year-old Mary A. Bliven (wife of Frank S. Bliven) and Bertha, her 7-year-old daughter, sitting in a 1907 Franklin Model D.

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Mrs. Frank Biven and daugher in Franklin Model D (Shorpy)
Mrs. Frank Bliven and daughter in Franklin Model D (Shorpy)

Frank S. Bliven was an early adopter of the automobile in Washington and was a founding member of the Automobile Club of Washington.

Washington drivers are taking off their caps to Frank Bliven, of the Cook & Stoddard Co., Franklin agents, for the nerve he displayed in driving a Franklin car from Darnestown, Md., to Washington, a distance of thirty-five miles, with a broken steering knuckle. On eleven different occasions during this run one of the passengers had to hold a tin cup over the hub of the wheel in order that Bliven might be able to steer the machine.

Amazing, because some people reading this might have a 35 mile commute to work (if you live in the suburbs).

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Bliven family in Baltimore - 1920 U.S. Census
Bliven family in Baltimore - 1920 U.S. Census

By the 1920s, the family had moved to Baltimore where Frank was working for the Baltimore Cadillac Company. By the way, in the 1920s, Franklin automobiles were sold out of the building that became Kramerbooks.

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Mrs. Frank S. Biven and daughter (1908)
Mrs. Frank S. Bliven and daughter (1908)

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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  • She looks so happy to be driving that car and having her picture taken :/

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  • Cute kid, tragic name. And mom looks angry! lol

  • Publius Washingtoniensis

    Mrs. Bliven’s roadster was a 1907 Model “D” Franklin. The Franklin was a high-end motor car manufactured in Syracuse, New York, between 1902 and 1933. Large, fast, and reliable, it competed with Cadillac, Packard, and Pierce-Arrow for the luxury market. Franklin cars were was distinguished by the fact that the engine was air-cooled, and therefore,”winter-proof.” Franklin Automobile Company was a victim of the great depression, going bankrupt in 1833. In an interesting twist, Willis Carrier bought the factory and Carrier air conditioners were manufactured in the re-tooled Franklin plant for decades to come.