By on December 27, 2013

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One of the things I’ve discovered when writing about automotive history, it first occurred to me when I was researching street names in and around Detroit, is that we name things after people to memorialize them and, ironically, in time the memorial becomes all that we know about them. Not many people who drive on James Couzens Hwy in Detroit every day know that he was a U.S. senator and the mayor of Detroit before then, but hardly anyone at all knows that he went into politics after a fairly successful career as the business manager of a local Detroit family owned firm, a concern known as the Ford Motor Company. When Mary Barra was named to be the chief executive officer of General Motors, the first woman to run a large automaker, I was reminded of another woman who ran a significant automotive company, in the 1930s, when few women ran any businesses, let alone one in the automotive field, Helen DeRoy. Though DeRoy’s name is possibly familiar to you, her pioneering roles in women’s history and automotive history aren’t as well known as her name.

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