The "Annie Oakleys": First Female Prison Guards in the United States

The "Annie Oakleys": First Female Prison Guards in the United States (HM1ESP)

Location: Wilmington, DE 19808 New Castle County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 44.329', W 75° 37.823'

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Completed in 1901, the New Castle County Workhouse at Greenbank was named the first penal institution in the United States to employ armed female guards. Nicknamed "Annie Oakleys" for their excellent shooting ability with the machine guns and rifles they carried, the women were first introduced to the Workhouse in 1943 as a solution to the loss of many male guards due to the war effort. the original group of four guards was expanded to eleven after the experiment was deemed a success. They were chosen from a pool of more than 50 applicants who responded to a newspaper advertisement for "women, age 21 to 35 for outside guard duty in towers." Prior to being hired, the women were taken to the Workhouse rifle range for tests involving the knowledge and use of firearms, physical health, and mental alertness. The women were also chosen based on their adaptability to guard responsibilities. All of those hired were Delawareans; many were married with children and made their home either in Wilmington or in the suburbs. Stationed in the Workhouse's three towers, the female guards worked 8-hour shifts, 48 hours per week and were compensated with a monthly salary of $110.00. Out of concern for their safety, the names of the eleven guards were not released; as 2013 only four guards had been successfully identified. The success of this experiment in the employing of female guards drew inquiries from prison wardens across the country. Thanks in part to the efforts of the "Annie Oakleys," women continue to play an active and important in the corrections profession today.
Marker NumberNC-199
Year Placed2014
Placed ByDelaware Public Archives
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 29th, 2014 at 5:43am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 445986 N 4398959
Decimal Degrees39.73881667, -75.63038333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 44.329', W 75° 37.823'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 44' 19.74" N, 75° 37' 49.38" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)302
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 210-250 Greenbank Rd, Wilmington DE 19808, US
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