1920  ;;

Publishes first annual Highways Greenbook, a report on road building in the U.S., and first AAA Campground Directory. AAA’s CampBook® guides later grew to include 11 editions covering all of North America.

Launches AAA School Safety Patrol in Illinois through the Chicago Motor Club. The brightly colored belts and silver badges worn by patrollers become enduring emblems of AAA’s concern for children, pedestrians and traffic safety.

About this time

The 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution (women’s suffrage) is ratified. The League of Nations holds its first meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.


Supports passage of the Federal Highway Act, which provides for an interstate road system. The act is signed by President Warren G. Harding on Nov. 9.

Works to defeat a proposed $10 federal tax on cars and trucks.

About this time

The Reparations Commission fixes German liability for World War I at 132 billion gold marks. German inflation begins.


Opposes motor vehicle taxes levied during World War I, including a gasoline tax and an excise tax on automobiles, trucks and automotive equipment. After six years of persistent opposition, the taxes are repealed in 1928.

Works to defeat a proposed federal registration fee of $2 per car, as well as a federal horsepower tax of $10 to $15 per vehicle.

Begins the National Road Reporting service within the National Touring Bureau. Clubs are sent bimonthly reports on changes in road conditions such as detours, construction work, speed traps, floods and impassable points.

About this time

Annual passenger car production exceeds 2 million worldwide. Benito Mussolini marches on Rome and forms a Fascist state.


Membership totals nearly 170,000.

Makes charges of price manipulation in opposition to rising gasoline prices.

Establishes testing stations for headlights.

Sponsors regular Wednesday night broadcasts on WRC in Washington, D.C., on matters of interest to motorists.

Launches a campaign against the unscrupulous practices of speed traps, roadside courts and justices of the peace who operate under a fee system. Over the decades, AAA remains vigilant in exposing and opposing speed traps, and many communities have instituted ordinances or laws against unreasonably increasing town coffers through the use of speed traps.

Begins first official inspection of comparative routes between Washington, D.C., and points in Florida. This inspection precedes Tour Book of the Southeastern States with Main Routes to Florida, published in 1925.

About this time

Annual passenger car production exceeds 3 million worldwide. George Gershwin writes Rhapsody in Blue.


Launches a campaign against diversion of auto tax revenues for non-highway purposes. Numerous campaigns have been conducted since then, but it isn’t until 1998 that Congress puts up a firewall that keeps Highway Trust Fund revenues, such as federal gas taxes, from being used for purposes other than building and maintaining roads.

Participates in the National Conference on Street and Highway Safety, which drafts the first Uniform Motor Vehicle Code to help enforce street and highway safety.

Formally establishes the National Touring Bureau as a AAA department, the forerunner of AAA’s Travel Services department, which spearheads AAA’s member publications program.

Merges with the National Motorist Association after a long rivalry over membership.

About this time

Vladimir Lenin dies, and Joseph Stalin wins the struggle for power in Russia. Adolph Hitler writes Mein Kampf while in prison.


Membership passes the 500,000 mark.

Supports Bureau of Public Roads program to establish a numbering system for U.S. routes and advocates adoption of standardized signs and signals for highways.

Hires Harry S. Truman as a salesman for Automobile Club of Kansas City.

About this time

Nellie Tayloe Ross becomes the first woman elected governor in the U.S. John T. Scopes is convicted of teaching evolution in the Scopes Monkey Trial. First images are transmitted through a television.


Membership reaches 600,000.

Releases the first series version of present AAA TourBook® guides. Three editions cover the Northeastern, Southeastern and North Central states, including parts of Canada. AAA also inaugurates its Official Appointment program, allowing lodgings to place the AAA logo on their buildings.

About this time

American swimmer Gertrude Ederle is the first woman to swim the English Channel.


Campaigns for safe railroad grade crossings and sponsors the first voluntary auto inspection program under its Save a Life campaign.

Creates the first national listing of AAA Emergency Road Service stations in the AAA Hotel, Garage and Service Station Directory. Previously, listings were in American Motorist.

About this time

The German economy collapses. Charles Lindbergh flies the first successful non-stop solo flight from New York to Paris. Al Jolson stars in The Jazz Singer, the first talking motion picture.


Membership totals more than 800,000.

Establishes a foreign division to handle steamship service and ship members’ cars abroad.

Establishes a traffic safety department and publishes a safety education curriculum for use by teachers. Distributes 250,000 safety posters nationwide. Drafts the first model of a safety responsibility bill.

Creates a child safety policy to “continue its aggressive safety campaign,” which includes support of AAA School Safety Patrols and incorporation of safety instructions in public and private schools.

Urges Congress and the president to share information on highways with Pan American Union countries and assist them in development of their highway programs.

Handles routing by air through the Western Airline Company for the first time, through Automobile Club of Washington.

About this time

Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin. Richard E. Byrd begins an expedition to Antarctica.


Membership passes 900,000.

Develops all-inclusive travel services, including complete tour packages.

About this time

U.S. stock market prices collapse, with U.S. securities losing $26 billion — the first phase of the Great Depression. The St. Valentine’s Day massacre occurs in Chicago.


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