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Agnes Winifred (Winnie) McLaughlin was born in Northumberland, New Hampshire on April 15, 1882. She was raised in Lancaster, New Hampshire. A graduate of Lancaster Academy in 1901, she distinguished herself in debate and public speaking, prompting her classmates to predict that she would become a lawyer.

After graduation, Attorney McLaughlin attended Burdette Business College in Boston for secretarial training, after which she was employed by Attorney Fred C. Cleveland in Coos County. During this time, she also took depositions in French and English for Attorney George F. Morris, who recommended her as official court stenographer for the Berlin Municipal Court. After several years with the court, she became secretary to Jesse F. Libby, a prominent trial lawyer, and through him made connections with nearly all bar members in northern New Hampshire.

Attorney McLaughlin's petition to the New Hampshire Supreme Court "that she may be allowed to take an examination with a view to [bar] admission" states that she began the study of law with O. J. Coulombe in Berlin on December 28, 1911, and continued until August 5, 1916. Thereafter, she studied with M. J. Ryan from August 7, 1916 to April 7, 1917, and at the University of Maine Law School from April 9, 1917 to June 9, 1917.On June 30, 1917, she became the first woman admitted to practice law in New Hampshire.

On a business trip to New York during World War I, Attorney McLaughlin was offered a position at the law firm of Frank Laughran on Broadway in New York City. Soon afterward she accepted a position at the Equitable Life Insurance Society in a newly formed estate planning division, where she remained for 25 years until her retirement. Upon retirement, she returned to New Hampshire, first to a family farm in Shelburne, and, then, to Gorham, where she resided until her death on October 29, 1964.

Agnes Winifred "Winnie" McLaughlin

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