Biographical Sketch of Nancy Waller Sandford McLaughlin

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920

Biography of Nancy Waller Sandford McLaughlin, 1852–1945

Third Vice-President of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association (1899–1912)

By Paul A. Tenkotte, PhD, Professor of History, Northern Kentucky University

Nancy Waller Sandford McLaughlin was born in the tiny Ohio River town of Taylorsport in Boone County, Kentucky, on November 10, 1852. Her family, the Sandfords, were one of the earliest settlers of Northern Kentucky. In 1871, she married Edward Ball McLaughlin (1852–1911) of Cincinnati, Ohio, who shared her interest in women's suffrage. The couple had four daughters and two sons.

McLaughlin was one of the founders of the Twentieth Century Club of Covington. She also served as secretary of the Covington Equal Rights Association (CERA), and she was a member of the Kenton County Equal Franchise Association. The CERA was interested in a number of causes, including child support by delinquent fathers fleeing to neighboring states, as well as affordable food supplies for families.

McLaughlin served as Third Vice-President of the Kentucky Equal Rights Association (KERA) from 1899 until 1912. She was a state delegate to several national conventions including the 1903 and 1904 meetings and the one held in 1912 in Philadelphia.

McLaughlin died at age 93 on December 13, 1945 at the home of one of her daughters in Strafford, Pennsylvania. Her obituary stated that she was a friend of Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906). For a number of years, she served as a society editor for the Kentucky Times-Star in Covington. She was buried in Linden Grove Cemetery in Covington.


Paul A. Tenkotte, James C. Claypool, and David E. Schroeder, eds. Gateway City: Covington, Kentucky, 1815–2015 (Covington, KY: Clerisy Press, 2015).

"Mrs. McLaughlin Succumbs at 93," Kentucky Post, December 18, 1945, 1.

"Want Worst Penalty for Wife Deserters," Kentucky Post, February 27, 1912, 3.

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