HomeCar CultureLifestylePackard women (one was first female FBI agent) featured in museum presentation

Packard women (one was first female FBI agent) featured in museum presentation


The stories of James Ward Packard and his brother, William, may be very familiar to the car-collecting community, but did you know that their sister, Alaska, was the first female FBI agent?

Packard museum seminar features first female FBI agent | ClassicCars
Alaska Packard was the nation’s first female FBI agent

Saturday, beginning at noon, the National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio, presents “The Packard Women” as part of its “Coffee & Donut” educational seminar series. At the seminar, Cindee Mines, president of the Trumbull County Historical Society and a former Packard museum board member, will tell the story of the Packard women.

“Many books have been written about W.D. and J.W. Packard, but the stories of their mother, sisters, and wives remain largely untold,” the museum said in its announcement of the lecture.

“The Packard women were trailblazers in their own right. Their mother Mary Doud Packard was a suffragette and business woman who ran the family’s hotel business. Their sister Alaska served as Packard Electric’s plant superintendent and later became the first female FBI agent! Elizabeth Gillmer attended medical school prior to her marriage to W.D. Packard.”

Visit the museum’s website for additional information.

Special events this weekend

The Seal Cove Auto Museum in Maine stages its Brass Club Speakeasy party Saturday from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m.

It’s “Hoods-Up” weekend at the Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island, where the engines of all 60+ cars will be exposed Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The inaugural Philly NNL model car show takes place Saturday from 9 a.m until 2 p.m. at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia. “The Golden Age of Sports Car Racing: 1950-1970” will be the theme for the show of model cars. Also featured will be “Land of the Rising Sun” with a special display of Japanese car models.

Also Saturday at the Simeone, Demo Day will feature a pair of Ford GT40 1966 Le Mans racers.

Saturday evening, the Simeone hosts the 21st annual Fur Ball, a fund-raiser for the Morris Animal Refuge.

Saturday at 2 p.m., the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum in northeastern Indiana offers the third installment of its Dynamic Designer series with collections manager Sam Grate discussing coachbuilding and custom car designs of the 1930s.

Historian Christopher Tremblay will discuss “Walt’s Pilgrimage: The Walt Disney Story with a Gilmore Connection” on Sunday at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, Michigan, one of the few places where you can see an actual Disney movie prop.

Vic Elford will discuss “My Racing Life with Porsche” on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until noon as part of the Blackhawk Museum’s speaker series in Danville, California.

Mark your calendar

It may be St. Patrick’s Day that’s celebrated next weekend, but on Wednesday the Newport Car Museum in Rhode Island will offer a special showing of The Italian Job (most recent version) at 7 p.m.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. When J. Edgar Hoover took over the Bureau in 1924, he inherited two female agents: Jessie B. Duckstein and Alaska P. Davidson, who both resigned within a few months as part of the Bureau’s reduction of force. But on November 6, 1924, Hoover himself changed the employment status of Lenore Houston from “special employee” in the New York office to “special agent.” She served in two other offices before resigning at the end of 1928. The next women agents weren’t hired until 1972.


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