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The Road to the Automobile: Newport and the New Machine

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CarCrazy coverFirst conceived in 19th-century Europe, the automobile in America quickly became one of the most revolutionary technologies in history, altering the culture and economy while transforming people’s daily lives. On Thursday April 14, 2016 the Newport Historical Society will host G. Wayne Miller, author of Car Crazy: The Battle for Supremacy Between Ford and Olds and the Dawn of the Automobile Age, to present The Road to the Automobile: Newport and the New Machine.

G. Wayne Miller’s book takes readers back to the passionate and reckless years of the early automobile era, from 1893, when the first US-built auto was introduced, through 1908, when General Motors was founded and Ford’s Model T went on the market. The motorcar was new, paved roads few, and devotees of this exciting and unregulated technology battled with citizens who considered the car a dangerous scourge, wrought by the wealthy, that was shattering a more peaceful way of life. During The Road to the Automobile: Newport and the New Machine, this story runs through Newport, where a bicycle association began the national Good Roads movement – and the Vanderbilt and Astor families flaunted their fancy high-priced cars on Bellevue Avenue. Miller will share other details about this pivotal time in the City by the Sea.

A staff writer at The Providence Journal, a documentary filmmaker, the author of nine books of nonfiction, four novels, and three short story collections, Miller is Visiting Fellow at Salve Regina University’s Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy. His accomplishments include the 2013 Roger Williams Independent Voice Award from the Rhode Island International Film Festival; he was a member of The Providence Journal team that was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service and he was nominated for a 2012 New England Emmy. Additionally three documentaries he wrote and coproduced were broadcast on PBS.

This program takes place at 5:30pm at the Newport Historical Society’s Resource Center, 82 Touro Street, Newport, RI. General admission costs $5 per person, $1 for Newport Historical Society members, active duty and retired military with ID. Please RSVP to mdelaire@newporthistory.org or call 401-846-0813 x110.