Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Jeanette "Nettie" Bromley Loughead, 1870-1936
By: Maddy Baird, Colin Bruckwick, Adams Freeman, Alyssa Frisby, Maria Hill, Lauren Williams, Ruth Johnson, Niya King, Alison Murphy, Lindsay Shepherd, Thomas Wermuth, Riley Whalen, undergraduates, and Christine Anderson, faculty sponsor, Xavier University, Dayton, Ohio
Ohio State Senator; suffragist
In September 1870, Robert W. and Hannah Bromley, immigrants from England, became parents of a daughter, Jeanette "Nettie" Bromley, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Nettie Bromley's father, from Staffordshire, worked as a potter for Brighton Pottery. Her mother kept house. Nettie had an older brother, William, and a sister, Ethel, who was fifteen years younger. Nettie was taught to read and write at an early age. Growing up, she attended Cincinnati public schools: Sands School, Fourth Intermediate School, and Woodward High School. On March 20, 1890, Nettie Bromley married Charles Wilbur Loughead. Her husband owned a dry-cleaning business. They had one son, Wilbur Bromley Loughead, and in later years they had four granddaughters.
During World War I, Loughead volunteered with several social welfare organizations. She was an active member of the Ohio Red Cross, which provided compensation from the government to injured soldiers and they helped veterans find jobs after the war. Loughead also supported the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), supplying "the needs of women and girls—wives and families of service men, workers in cantonment areas and in war industries, nurses and employees at military posts, and others directly affected by the emergency needs of the nation." Other wartime service included the War Chest and the Belgian Baby Drive. Her support of the war effort reflected the strategy of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, which hoped American women would be given the franchise as a reward for their war service.
In 1922, Loughead, a Republican, was one of the first two women elected to the Ohio Senate, and one of only six women in the 85th General Assembly, she remained in the legislature until 1928. Nettie Loughead was also the first Ohio woman to introduce successful legislation, Senate Bill 91, authorizing submission of municipal ordinances to referendum at special elections. The referendum was a political reform associated with the Progressive Movement as were other policies Loughead advocated, including the minimum wage and social welfare. Because of her interest in women's issues, Loughead was named chair of a committee to choose bills in women's best interest. She also served on a number of other state senate committees.
She was a member of the Business and Professional Women Club and the Board of Directors of the Woman's City Club of Cincinnati, an organization that started community conversations, educated citizens on local issues, and moved citizens to action. Following Charles Loughead's death in 1931, Nettie Bromley Loughead became secretary and treasurer of the dry-cleaning company her husband had founded. At age 66, Nettie Bromley Loughead passed away on September 14, 1936.
Common Schools of Cincinnati. 56th Annual Report for the School Year Ending August 31
"First Woman in Ohio Senate Dies." Cincinnati Enquirer. September 15, 1936, p. 8.
Murphy. James L. Cincinnati Canners: A Nineteenth Century Cincinnati Industry and Some of Its Competitors. Grove City, Ohio: Grove Lucky Press, 2010, 4-12.
Ohio Statehouse (website). "Ladies Gallery: Nettie Bromley Loughead." Accessed April 16, 2018. http://www.ohiostatehouse.org/museum/ladies-gallery/nettie-bromley-loughead.
United States Bureau of the Census, Population of the United States. 1870-1930 Census. Ancestry.com.
VCU Libraries Social Welfare History Project (website). "Y.W.C.A.: Brief History of Service in Times of War, 1942." Last updated March 21, 2016. https://socialwelfare.library.vcu.edu/eras/civil-war-reconstruction/y-w-c-brief-history-service-times-war/.
Williams' City Directory. Cincinnati, Ohio: William's Directory Company, 1924, 76.
Woman's City Club of Greater Cincinnati (website). "About Us." Accessed April 16, 2018. https://womanscityclub.org/about/.