Jan 12, 2016

Ventura Martínez, Automobilista

Here is Joaquín Ventura Martínez’s first driver’s license dated 1928. It is approx. 5” x 3” and folded to fit a wallet, “Titulo de Automovilista”  “Auto Driver’s Diploma” signed by the president of the examination board, the administrative secretary and the mayor of Camaguey.

The $5 stamp means he had to pay $5 for it. That is the equivalent of $68 in today's dollars. (Cuba’s pesos were pegged to the U.S. dollar until 1959.) A Maryland drivers license today cost $30 for 5 years. His did not expire. It was still in his wallet when he left Cuba in 1968.

I find it amazing that in 1928 it had a photo. My first Maryland driver’s license from 1968 had no photo, just a description (height, weight, hair and eye color).

Municipality of Camaguey, Automobile Driver’s Diploma
5" by 3" folded to fit a wallet
It reads “Mr. Joaquín Ventura Martínez y Martínez, born in Havana, age adult, race white, nationality Cuban, son of Joaquín Buenaventura and Mariana, residing at Republica [Street No.] 57, Municipal District Camagüey. Entry No. 21, Folio 1. [dated in] Camagüey, 26th of April, 1928.”

“Entry No. 21 in Folio 1” may indicate that this is the the 21st license ever issued in Camaguey. Perhaps in 1928 they had finally gotten around to requiring drivers licenses. Or maybe there were only 21 licensed drivers in Camaguey on April 28, 1928. Maryland first required drivers licences (a badge you pinned on  your duster) in 1904. 

Note how, due to the Spanish naming convention, there is no need, and no space for his parents last names. His name automatically carries both of their last names.