Profile profile for whiter

Roger B. White


M. A., American Civilization and Museum Studies, University of Delaware, 1977 (Hagley Fellow).
B. A., American Studies, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1975.

Research Specialties: 
  • History of automobiles, trucks, buses, bicycles, motorcycles, carriages, highways, and travel
  • Social and cultural aspects of road transportation history, with emphasis on automobiles
  • Intersection of automotive design, technology, and motorists; safety and sustainability issues
  • Projects: 

    Current Projects:

    • Research and collecting project focusing on changes in the design and use of motor vehicles in response to environmental and safety issues, finite oil supplies, and other sustainability issues
    • Paper, "An Exposition of Our Own: Corporate Identity, Consumer Advertising, and Atlantic City's National Exhibits, 1898-1968"

    Past Projects: I served as curator on the following exhibitions:

    • America on the Move, 2003–
    • Evel Knievel: Happy Landings, 1998–2002
    • The Family Car, 1997
    • History of the Bicycle, 1989–2002
    • At Home on the Road: Autocamping, Motels and the Rediscovery of America, 1985–1987


    Home on the Road: The Motor Home in America. Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2000.

    A history of recreation vehicles since 1900 with emphasis on self-propelled units and adaptations of motor vehicles. Explores motorists' innovations, furnishings, family vacation travel and domestic life, and early RV manufacturing.

    “The Controversial Parking Meter,” Antique Automobile, January–February 1997.

    A study of curb space, efforts to control it, and effects on central business districts. Cities installed parking meters in the 1930s to relieve congestion and increase revenue; motorists and storekeepers mounted a brief, intense legal battle.

    "Planes, Trailers and Automobiles: The Land Yachts of Glenn Curtiss,” Automobile Quarterly, April 1994.

    A look at motor vehicle innovations by airplane pioneer Glenn Curtiss, including lightweight car-trailer combinations
    that led to the establishment of a recreational house trailer industry.

    "Stations by Tichy: Modern Architecture for the Pennsylvania Railroad, 1940–1957," Keystone, Autumn 1993.

    This article examines small-town railroad stations reinterpreted in a moderne, streamlined style by Lester Tichy,
    chief architect for Raymond Loewy.

    "Three Cheers for Henry Clay: The Construction and Advance Demonstration of the Morse Telegraph at Annapolis Junction," Anne Arundel County History Notes, January 1993.

    A day-by-day account of adversity and triumph during construction of the first telegraph line in 1844. Midway between Washington and Baltimore, Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail set up a telegraph station and sent the first practical messages and news bulletins by wire.

    "Body by Fisher: The Closed Car Revolution,” Automobile Quarterly>/i>, August 1991.

    The article examines the democratization of the closed car in the 1920s and Fisher Body Corporation's role in supplying closed bodies in huge quantities and varied styles. It looks at design changes, manufacturing changes, and aspects of consumer demand that explain the soaring popularity of the closed car.

    "The Selden Automobile Patent,” in Icons of Invention: American Patent Models, 1990.

    A study of George Selden's 1895 patent on the automobile and the control that he exercised over the early automobile manufacturing industry.

    "The Stars Wore Stripes: GIs Entertaining GIs at Fort George G. Meade and Overseas, 1941–1945," Anne Arundel County History Notes, April 1990, July 1990, October 1990, July 1991.

    A description of the Special Service Division, the Army's equivalent of the USO. Talented soldiers organized stage
    shows, sports activities, canteens, movies, and other morale programs for soldiers near battle fronts.

    "A Presidential Train Wreck,” Maryland Magazine, Summer 1990.

    An account of an 1881 collision involving Rutherford B. Hayes and his family.

    "Fisher Body Corporation." Encyclopedia of American Business History and Biography. New York: Facts On File, 1988.

    A history of the Fisher Brothers and Fisher Body Corporation, an automobile body manufacturing firm that supplied General Motors and helped to popularize the luxurious closed car in the 1920s.

    "At Home on the Highway.” American Heritage, December 1985.

    A brief history of recreation vehicles, including house cars, tent trailers, and house trailers.