Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920
Biography of Laura Reed Yaggy, 1887-1984
By Laura Darnell, Leavenworth County Historical Society
Laura Reed was born on June 10, 1887, in Kansas City, MO to Homer and Laura (Coates) Reed, whose father was Kersey Coates, a prominent business man in Kansas City during the late 1800s and whose mother was also a suffragist and friend to Susan B. Anthony. Laura was a musical prodigy on the violin and began taking lessons at age seven. By age thirteen, she performed the Mendelssohn Concerto with the Kansas City Symphony. This momentous concert caught the eye of famed violinist Camilla Urso who subsequently invited Laura to apprentice with her. One year later, Laura performed with the Kansas City Symphony again. At sixteen, she moved to New York and studied with Leopold Lichtnberg; and at seventeen she performed G Minor Concerto with Max Brunch.
In 1905, age eighteen, Laura married Edward Yaggy, son of Levi Yaggy. Levi, originally a publisher from Chicago, bought 1,350 acres of land from Thomas Parker and moved to Reno County, Kansas in 1884, where he began operating what would become the largest apple orchard in America. Edward followed in his father's footsteps and managed the orchard after his father. During their first seven years of marriage, Laura did not perform publicly, but in 1913 she began to do so once again. The couple had two children: Laura Coates Yaggy and Edward Esher Yaggy, Jr.
Unfortunately, not much is known of Laura Yaggy's life outside her incredible violin career. She was a life-long suffragist, and founded the Apollo Club in Hutchinson, KS. She was also elected President of the Reno County Equal Suffrage Association in 1912; and was involved in the suffrage campaign in Kansas that same year. According to the Kansas Historical Society, that campaign was one of the hardest fought within the state of Kansas and resulted in "175,246 votes for the amendment [granting women the right to vote] and 159,197 against." The next year, she was elected Second Vice President of the Good Citizenship League, previously the Kansas Equal Suffrage Association, at the Jubilee Convention in May 1913, held in Lawrence, KS.
Although not much is known about her political contributions after the Campaign of 1912, it is known that she continued to play a prominent role in the suffrage movement. For example, in 1917, she and Mrs. Henry Ware Allen of Wichita, journeyed to Columbia to speak at the University. A newspaper article mentions details Laura's anticipated speaking points as "the woman's place in the industrial world, will tell of Germany's attitude toward women as one of the direct causes of the war and of the pressing need of women now in the big world outside the home."
Bickle, Amy. "Historic Yaggy Plantation - once the largest shipping point from the Missouri River to California - is for sale." The Hutchinson News. Modified September 27, 2016. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.hutchnews.com/10790a49-0314-5f46-9140-5b1985b9a5f0.html.
Caldwell, Martha B. "The Woman Suffrage Campaign of 1912." Kansas Historical Quarterly Vol. 12, No. 3 (1943). Accessed March 8, 2016. https://www.kshs.org/p/kansas-historical-quarterly-the-woman-suffrage-campaign-of-1912/12944.
Lacy, Barbara. "Laura Reed Yaggy." Find A Grave. Modified August 19, 2010. Accessed March 8, 2018. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/57355773/laura-yaggy.
Mrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection, Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, SC58. Accessed March 8, 2018. http://www.kchistory.org/content/coates-house-hotel-2.
"Noted Suffragists to Visit Columbia." The Missourian Evening, November 1917. Accessed March 8, 2018. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89066315/1917-11-21/ed-1/seq-1.pdf.
Ploughe, Sheridan. History of Reno County, Kansas: Its People, Industries and Institutions, Volume 2. Reno County, KS: B.F. Bowen & Company, 1917.
Stanton, Elizabeth Cady, Susan B. Anthony, Matilda Joslyn Gage, and Ida Husted Harper. History of Women Suffrage: 1900-1920. Fowler & Wells, 1922. [LINK]