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First woman detective

February 20, 2011

This entry marks the beginning of a series on remarkable women, which succeeded in fields considered as male domain. Many comments suggested lack of ambitions and interest in such industries prevent women to prosper on top positions. The following stories prove them wrong.

The first remarkable woman from the series lived in the 19th century, where Victorian role model was that of a wife and a mother. Kate Warne was born in New York in 1833. She married young, but her husband died, leaving her with no means of support. Nobody knows why she responded to the Pinkerton national detective agency advertisement.

Pinkerton agency, which played an important role in Wild West mythology, still operates. Back then the Pinkertons were hired by newly established Department of Justice to track outlaws such as Jesse James, Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid. Allan Pinkerton assumed the female applicant was looking for a clerical position. After finding out Kate is interested in becoming a detective, he politely informed her it was not the custom to employ women as detectives. She conceded his point, but argued a woman would be a valuable asset. Towards a woman she insisted, suspects might be less guarded and thus easier revealing secrets. She could also befriend the wives and girlfriends of criminals, coaxing out information. Pinkerton later stated, she eloquently explained women also had an eye for detail and are excellent observers.

Despite the fact security services are still male dominated Kate Warne became the first professional woman detective in America and possibly the world. On August 23rd 1856 she joined The Pinkerton agency.

Her story does not end there. American history records her also as the woman who prevented assassination of president-elect Abraham Lincoln in the so called Baltimore Plot. Kate played an important role in saving Lincoln’s life on his travel from Springfield, Illinois to Washington. On March 4th 1861 he was inaugurated as the 16th president of the USA.

From → Get Inspired

One Comment
  1. alenka m permalink

    This is amazing!! The first woman in police force in the USA in 1856 … a real pioneer


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