Oct 21 2013

Mystery Foto #38 Solved: 1915 Vanderbilt Cup Race Officials, Committee & Drivers in San Francisco

This week's Mystery Foto was a real challenge. Where in the world was the Vanderbilt Cup trophy?

Answers to Mystery Foto questions:

-Where was the Vanderbilt Cup trophy (city and state)?

San Francisco, California

-What year was the photo taken?

1915, likely in February.  Two races were run in conjunction with the Panama-Pacific International Exposition; the American Grand Prize (Febrauary 27, 1915) and the Vanderbilt Cup Race (March 6, 1915). Both races were won by Dario Resta in a Peugeot.

-Can you identify anyone in the photo?

Driver Ralph DePalma, winner of the 1912 and 1914 Vanderbilt Cup Races and an entrant in the 1915 race, can be seen on the right with a hand in his pants pocket. W.L. Hughson, Chairman of the Vanderbilt Race Committee, was seen to the left with a mustache.

Congrats to Mystery Foto expert Greg Oreiro was correctly identified the 1915 race and Ralph DePalma. Kudos to Ariejan Bos of the Netherlands who spotted Ralph DePalma.

This photo and the photos below are courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library.

If you have a suggested Mystery Foto, please send a jpeg to [email protected] .


Howard Kroplick

As noted in the credit line in the right-lower corner, the photo was taken by "Cardinell-Vincent Co., Official Photographers, P.P.I.E."

W.L. Hughson, Chairman of the Race Committee of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Hudgson was a San Francisco automobile distributor. He was appointed chairman in January 1914 and spent six weeks in New York lobbying the American Grand Prix and the Vanderbilt Cup Race for San Francisco.

Officials and the Committee for the 1914 Vanderbilt Cup Race.

San Francisco Public Library Photos

Additional 1915 Photos from the collection of the San Francisco Public Library.

The course for the American Grand Prix (104 Laps- 406.12 miles) and the Vanderbilt Cup Race (77 Laps- 300.685 miles)

Chairperson W.L. Hughson (left) and  Hollis E. Cooley, Chief of Special Events  for the P.P.I.E., (right) was seen on the Avenue of Nations. Sweden's Pavilion was being built on the right.

On the Avenue of Palms

1915 American Grand Prix

Entrants and results

1915 Vanderbilt Cup Race

Entrants and results

Dario Resta's Peugeot, winner of the 1915 American Grand Prix and the1915 Vanderbilt Cup Race.

Film "1915 Vanderbilt Cup Race"


Oct 18 2013 Ariejan Bos 8:58 AM

As we see Ralph De Palma standing on the right and the photograph has been taken by an official (!) photographer from San Francisco, I cannot but conclude that we are watching an official moment after De Palma’s victory in the Vanderbilt Cup race of 1914, held in Santa Monica. Also I have the impression that Edwin Pullen, winner of the American Grand Prize, is standing next to De Palma. As these events were held only 2 days apart on February 26 and 28, it could be a combined ceremony. However, if the flowers were his prize, then they must have been really expensive!

Oct 20 2013 Greg Oreiro 10:34 AM

-Where was the Vanderbilt Cup trophy (city and state)?

-What year was the photo taken?

-Can you identify anyone in the photo?

Tough one again, but got it…I think!
The Vanderbilt Cup, and race, were at the Panama Pacific International Exposition (possibly the Pennsylvania Building?) in San Francisco, March 1915. As per their mark on the bottom right corner, Cardinell-Vincent were the official photographers of the PPIE. The stern-looking gentleman behind the cup could be William Bailey Lamar, one of the commisioners of the PPIE. The 1912/14 V.C.R. winner, Ralph DePalma right, front (although I keep wanting to change his profession and call him Brian DePalma).

Oct 21 2013 Ted 10:39 PM

I didn’t get a chance to try to answer this one. I knew I’ve seen the person with his hand in his pocket,but didn’t know his name

Oct 21 2013 Ted 11:57 PM

As always you keep us all informed about anything to do with the Vanderbilt Cup Races. Thanks for these photos and short race clip

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