Women Guardians of the Peace

From 1913 to 1915, Frank Leslie’s Weekly ran a regularly occurring article titled In the World of Womankind by Frances Frear. These articles featured news about the suffrage movement as well as segments exploring American women’s growing role in the professional world:

This department is devoted to the interests of women. It aims to deal with vital problems in a wholesome and helpful way, and invites the co-operation of its readers. Inquiries will be answered, either through the columns of the paper, or by letter.

This item about women in police forces ran on July 30, 1914.

Women Guardians of the Peace

In the World of Womankind by Frances Frear

In the World of Womankind by Frances Frear

Woman, whose field of work used to be domestic service for the uneducated and the teaching profession for the educated, has won her way into every calling and line of work. One of the newest positions in an ever-widening field of activity is that of an officer of the law.

The policewoman is not to be pictured as an Amazon quelling a disturbance and putting offenders under arrest. A truer picture is that of a quiet little woman in a neat uniform, having the power of arrest, but spending her time in the more important work of prevention.

Policewomen are occupying a growing position of usefulness in the United States and in every important country of Europe, with the exception of England, because it is realized there are certain lines of work that a woman can do better than a man. She can attend to cases of desertion or of separation, investigate newspaper advertisements for women, follow up advertisements luring girls away from home under false promises of employment, and she can score most heavily in the fight against prostitution.

Frank Leslie’s Weekly, published from 1855 to 1922, was an American illustrated news publication started by publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie. While only 30 copies of the first edition were printed, by 1897 its circulation had grown to an estimated 65,000 copies.
The inspection of public places of amusement, where children under 14 are forbidden to go unaccompanied by parent or guardian, is one of her principal duties. In becoming an adviser with women and girls who are in distress, the policewoman is able to do a socially constructive work that no man could accomplish.

It is one thing to put a lawbreaker under arrest, it is another, and a finer thing, to use one’s position as an officer of the law to prevent people from committing offenses. This is the field in which the policewoman has worked with conspicuous success.

Source: Frank Leslie’s Weekly, July 30, 1914
Top Image: Bain News Service, P. Policewomen: Pitkin, Schroeder, Stevenat, Elder, Wilson. , . [no Date Recorded on Caption Card] [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress.

All images included in blog posts are from either Accessible Archives collections or out of copyright public sources unless otherwise noted. Common sources include the Library of Congress, The Flickr Commons, Wikimedia Commons, and other public archives.

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