Musselman, Helen

Archive Tucson is the oral history project of Special Collections at the University of Arizona Libraries. This interview is with Helen Musselman and covers the following themes:

  • Growing up on a subsistence farm in Ottumwa, Iowa during the 1920s.
  • Meeting her husband, Darvin, also known as Pappy.
  • 1929 Stock market collapse.
  • Moving to Douglas, Arizona during the Second World War. Descriptions of travel, childcare, first impressions of Arizona, and wartime life in Douglas.
  • Helen and Darvin enter the motorcycle sales business in 1945. Motorcycle culture in the 1950s.
  • Tucson in 1945 and the shadow of wartime rationing.
  • Leisure activities: motorcycle racing in Phoenix. Women racing “micro midget” vehicles. Hanging out at the Wetmore Pool.
  • Tucson’s jalopy and motorcycle racing scene in the 1950s.
  • Arrival of Honda motorcycles in the US market and the change in motorcycle culture.
  • Waterskiing and Arizona boat culture.
  • The Grant/Stone area in the 1940s and 1950s and explosion of Supreme Cleaners. Neighborhood changes over several decades.
  • Changes in motorcycle culture; the rise, fall, and rise of the Harley.
  • Helen’s roles at her dealerships.
  • Women in racing.
  • Growth of Tucson.

This interview was recorded at Musselman Honda in Tucson, Arizona on January 8th, 2018.