Notes from the Archives
By Nancy Noble, Archivist/Cataloger
One lived to a ripe old age. The other died at 23 in the line of duty. One was a Greek immigrant. The other was a native Mainer, born in Biddeford. One had a decades-long career. The other’s lasted only a few years. But each man was dedicated to his profession and community, serving as policemen in Lewiston and Berwick.
Maine Historical Society recently acquired and processed two collections revolving around the lives of two policemen in Maine. The Anthony Petropulos collection (Coll. 2722) is large — over 10 linear feet. It documents in detail Petropulos’ life as a Greek immigrant, not only his police service from 1918 to 1945, but also his early life, family, and community involvement as a politician, a member of the American Hellenic Club of Lewiston, and his connection to the Greek population of the Lewiston area. His police work is reflected in his beat books, and numerous newspaper clippings about this popular local character. Objects in the collection include Petropulos’ uniform coat and police whistles.
The Robert Gallant collection (Coll. 2728) is smaller, and offers only a glimpse into the short life of Robert Gallant. Part of the collection is dedicated to the circumstances of his death. Gallant was killed on duty by a hit and run driver. The court transcript and many other legal documents are included in this collection. Gallant served with the Berwick Police Department before his death in September 1982. His police reports from November 1981 to August 1982 are also included. They offer a fascinating look into the daily work of a small-town policeman, from a rabbit on the loose to a kidnapping, and everything in between.
Indeed, studying these collections gives one more appreciation for the work being done by the police officers in our state, including risking their lives in the line of duty.