Photographs, correspondence, typescripts,
newspaper clippings, a trophy and scrapbooks relating to Dorothy C. Putnam
(1895-1991) and her partner of 50 years, Lois Mercer (1894-1989), bookkeeper
for ONE, Inc. The majority of the materials document Putnam's life and family
from her adolescence as a horseback mail carrier in Oregon; her activities as
the first licensed female chauffeur in California; her wins in economy-run
driving races in the 1920s; and her service in the Women's Ambulance and
Transport Corps of California (W.A.T.C.C.) and U.S. Air Force during World War
II. Materials also document Lois Mercer's service in the U.S. Air Force during
World War II; her contribution to ONE, Inc., from 1953; Putnam and Mercer's
community activism; and their 50 years of life together in Los Angeles.
Dorothy "Dot" Crocker Putnam was born in Massachusetts on October 15,
1895, the daughter of Frank Wright Putnam and Elle Crocker Putnam. She is a
descendant of American Revolutionary War General Israel Putnam, and claimed to
be a cousin of Amelia Earhart (although the relationship may have been to
Earhart's husband, George Putnam). As a young woman, Putnam was a horseback
mail carrier in Oregon. She later moved to Los Angeles, where she developed an
interest in automobiles. In 1918, she became the first licensed female
chauffeur in California, her clients including Carole Lombard, Charlie Chaplin
and Clark Gable. In addition, she also won a number of driving contests in Los
Angeles during the 1920s. During World War II, she served in the Women's
Ambulance and Transport Corps of California (W.A.T.C.C.), and later the Air
Force, rising to the rank of First Lieutenant. After retiring from the Air
Force, she became the first female senior truck driver for the Los Angeles
1 archive carton + 1 archive box
+ 1 flat archive carton + 1 trophy. 2.5 linear feet.
Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in
writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner.
Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in
the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant
copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for
all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).