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Meet the town’s first policewomen

They joined the force in the late 1950s through the early 1960s. Although they didn’t carry weapons or make arrests, they were indeed sworn officers. They were on-call to conduct pat-downs of female detainees. They also monitored and (if necessary) physically engaged female prisoners at Burlington’s police station. And they escorted female prisoners during transfers, before the county assumed that responsibility.

Burlington, MA police matrons, c. 1965. Photo credit: Maureen Putnam Paille.
Eleanor Doyle, Anne Field, Edith Johnson, Jane Glover, Madeline Burwell, Maureen Putnam Paille (owner of these photos)


But day-to-day, they functioned as traffic supervisors for the schools and town events.

Putnam with boys

Putnam crossing children

Police matrons sitting, Burlington MA

Barbara Reichert, Meadowbrook School Burlington MA
Barbara Reichert, Meadowbrook School
Margaret Ryan, Memorial School Burlington MA
Margaret Ryan, alternate at Memorial School
Anne Field, Wildwood School Burlington MA
Anne Field, Wildwood School (Bedford Street crossing)
Teresa Battistello, Wildwood School Burlington MA
Teresa Battistello, Wildwood School (Francis Wyman Road crossing)
Madeline Burwell, Burlington MA
Madeline Burwell, supervisor
Eleanor Doyle, Fox Hill Elementary School, Burlington MA
Eleanor Doyle, Fox Hill
Maureen Putnam, Pine Glen Elementary School Burlington MA
Maureen Putnam, Pine Glen
Patricia Ornell, alternate at Center School Burlington MA
Patricia Ornell, alternate at Center School (Memorial shown in pic)


Maureen Putnam montage:

Putnam on steps solo

8 thoughts on “Meet the town’s first policewomen Leave a comment

  1. I remember Madeline Burwells aqua 1963 Ford Galaxy hard top.Barbara Reichert was a friend of mine as well as Maureen Putnam.Most of these fine ladies walked me across Bedford St to the Wildwood school when I was a kid 50 years ago . I remember it like it was yesterday.Thank you all.Kim Ranger

  2. I remember Mrs. Fields and Mrs. Burwell. Wasn’t Mrs. Fields also a girl scout leader? I can recall her telling me she would not give me a badge as I ‘flew up’ from Girl Scouts to Cadet’s unless I was serious about being a Cadet. Got my badge, but she was right…I was never a Cadet. (I thought I was serious) I can still see Mrs. Burwell’s beautiful eyes – as pretty as her daughter, my classmate/friend….Leigh Ann! I think Mrs. Burwells eyes matched her car!

  3. Little sad no mention of my mother who did at least 30 years of service to the town. She was crossing the kids in front of Memorial school and then the highschool for many many years. Im 51 and she croased me going to Marshall Simonds. The town has never done anything for these women its a shame. They protected our babies crossing the street, our most precious commodity and the town did nothing for them, not even a bouquet of flowers when they retired. My mother is 79 now and the women she worked are all around that age group. Kind of sad.

  4. I knew so many of these women. They were loving, capable and awesome women. God bless all of them. They had such positive influences on so many children. Maureen Putnam became a personal friend. I was blessed to have known her and her family.

  5. I love this article! I only know Maureen Putnam, she’s such a sweet lady. I had no idea she was such a pioneer!

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