Pillar #2

Early Civic Reforms

In its first decade, the WCA advocated for mandatory meat and milk inspection, city-wide garbage collection, fire protection programs, a woman on the board of education, and a female probation officer. Members visited slaughterhouses to examine practices and make recommendations. They pushed for higher pay for teachers and the elimination of shared drinking cups in schools. All these reforms were enacted. In addition, the Club held canteens and dances to keep children off the streets. The Club’s activities were focused on the domestic sphere of women and children, because women were unwelcome in the world of politics and business at that time.

According to original documents written by WCA members many years ago, the first female probation officer in Albany was Maude Miner, and Mrs. Rose Fitzgerald was a subsequent probation officer. The newspaper clippings presented below appeared in the WCA 1911-1912 scrapbook and help to illustrate the times.

Mrs. Rose Fitzgerald

Female probation officer in Albany


Every member of the Social and Industrial department of the Woman's club of Albany who attended the meeting yesterday afternoon felt that the discussion was an incentive for real accomplishment and work. The speaker was Mrs. Rose Fitzgerald, probation officer in the police court, and she told of her work during the past year, the first there ever has been a woman probation officer in Albany. ... "I have received a large number of letters from girls who have been under my care, and who now are doing well in other places."


A public hearing on the question of the appointment of a woman probation officer for the criminal courts of Albany will be given by the police committee of the common council tonight. Alderman John C. Malone is chairman of the committee and will preside at the hearing. There are two ordinances before the committee, one providing for the appointment of one or more women probation officers by the recorder who will serve without pay and the appointment of a woman probation officer by the police magistrate at a salary of $900 per year. Both ordinances were introduced by Alderman Frank J. Lochner. It is the latter ordinance that will be favored by the members of the Woman's club and other prominent citizens, all of whom have expressed themselves as favoring a salaried officer. Every citizen who is interested in the question is urged to be present and speak for the ordinance. 

The Woman's Club of Albany

725 Madison Avenue • Albany • New York • 12208



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