Friday, December 30, 2016

On This Date in Minnesota History: December 30

December 30, 1920 – Mrs. Mary Walsh Connelly, police matron, will be Duluth’s first patrolwoman. Chief of Police Warren E. Pugh made the announcement this morning. In addition to her matron duties at a salary of $140 per month, she will begin her new position on Jan. 1.

Mary Walsh Connelly1

Mrs. Connelly will be required under her new position to work assigned to her on the city streets as is thought required from time to time by the chief of police. She will also supervise halls where public dances are regularly given, visit picture shows and in general pay special attention to girls and women found walking streets at nights and those who frequent cafes unescorted.

Mrs. Connelly has been police matron for the Duluth police department for more than 12 years. Her duties have been confined entirely to taking care of women prisoners brought into headquarters. As such she was required to respond to duty at any time of the day or night when needed by the police to search and lock up women prisoners.

Her new duties will not relieve her of the matron’s work and although subject to call at any time because of an arrest, her hours as patrolwoman will be so arranged as not to impose too hard a burden on her, according to Chief Pugh.

The chief announced that within a few days a conference of dance hall managers will be called at his office at which the dance hall question and regulations will be thoroughly discussed. At this conference it is proposed to draw up regulations bearing on the subject of proper and improved acts on the dance floor. When these regulations are agreed upon and approved by the chief, the duty of special patrolmen employed by the managers as well as that of Mrs. Connelly will be to see that these are enforced.

Chief Pugh said he did not know just what regulations would be made but that it would embrace all dancing that is considered improper, would likely eliminate the cheek-to-cheek dancing that is said to be common, prohibit the “bunny-hug,” shimmey, and numerous other steps and wiggles that later may be suggested by the new policewoman.

Bunny Hug Dance2

“There are many duties on the street that a woman can do a great deal better than a man,” said Chief Pugh. “Mrs. Connelly will be especially valuable in many of these duties because of her familiarity with police work. The dance hall question is another that can far better be judged by a woman and her work there, I am sure, will be especially valuable to the city as a whole.”

The Duluth Herald; “Patrolwoman is Appointed. Mrs. Mary Walsh Connelly Named; Dance Hall Regulations.”; Dec. 30, 1920; p. 1.




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