Gail Laughlin Office

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Gail Laughlin Office

(former)

119 Exchange Street

Gail Laughlin (1868-1952), a prominent woman lawyer, legislator, and suffragist, practiced law here. A graduate of Portland High School, where she received the Brown Medal for the highest grades among girls, Laughlin earned her law degree from Cornell, raising money for her tuition by writing for the American Economist. She travelled the country as a national suffrage speaker, campaigning for the National Woman Suffrage Association from 1902-1906. She returned to Portland in 1924 to share a law office with her brother. Elected to the Maine Legislature for three terms beginning in 1929, Laughlin successfully worked for the passage of several laws to improve the lives of women. She sponsored bills raising the legal marriage age of women to 16 (from 13), preventing husbands from committing wives to mental institutions without medical consultation, and including women on juries. She served in the Maine State Senate from 1935-1941 and organized the Maine Department of Health. She was the first woman lawyer to serve in the state legislature and chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee from 1939-1943.