Skip to main content

James, Stephen P., 1893-1971



  • Existence: 1893 - 1971


Stephen P. James was born June 9, 1893 in Hazel Green, Kentucky. An early pioneer in the field of highway safety and education, his career spanned more than thirty years from the 1920’s through the late 1950s. He joined the Highway Education Board in Washington, D.C., in 1921, having earlier worked in Ohio for the Firestone Ship-by-Truck Bureau. In later years, he worked for the Automotive Safety Foundation, as Director of the Education Division and was also President of the American Public Relations Association in the 1950s. After retiring from the Automotive Safety Foundation in 1958, he continued to be active in the promotion of highway education. Mr. James died Sept. 30, 1971 in Lynchburg, Virginia.

One of Mr. James's accomplishments was his work on behalf of the Pan American Union. It was he who suggested the idea of the Pan American Highway, which would connect every Latin American country. He was a representative at the Pan American Highway Congresses and was the director general of the Pan American Highway Confederation. He also established the Inter-American Student Forum, where students all over America and Latin America could submit essays regarding Inter-American affairs and politics.

Influenced by his time working for Harvey Firestone, Mr. James established the "Good Roads Program" with the Highway Education Board, which then led to National Essay contests that students and teachers could participate in. Part of these papers include winning essays of the contests which Firestone sponsored, accompanying literature, photographs, and news releases from across the country.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Stephen P. James Collection

 Collection — Box 1
Identifier: TL014

Stephen P. James (1893-1971) was an early pioneer in highway safety development and education. This collection covers his and his colleagues' work from 1920 to 1969, including the organization and management of essay contests, supporting research programs at universities, and the planning and construction of the Pan American Highway.

Dates: 1920 - 1969; Other: Majority of material found within 1920 - 1958; Other: Date acquired: 07/05/2015