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Collection contains materials relating to the artistic career of Charles J. McLaughlin, including original works of art, exhibition catalogs, correspondence, photographs, and clippings. It also contains family papers, including biographical material, correspondence, clippings, a scrapbook, and photographs, relating to the McLaughlin, Kellogg, Stearns, and Keys families of Covington, Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio.


Creators: McLaughlin family
                McLaughlin, Charles J., 1888-1964
                Dammann, Nancy McLaughlin, 1917-2007

Span Dates: 1913-2000, undated                              Bulk Dates: 1916-1964

Extent: 6.3 linear feet

Languages: The materials are in English.

Repository Location: Eva G. Farris Special Collections and Schlachter University Archives, W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky


Art schools--France--Fontaineblaeu
Balls (Parties)
Covington (Ky.)--Social life and customs
Floods--Ohio River Valley
Landscape paintings
Portrait paintings
Smith College--Students--Social life and customs
Women college students--United States--Social life and customs

Dammann, Nancy McLaughlin, 1917-2007
Fontainebleau School of Fine Arts
Kellogg, Charles H., Jr., 1845-1910
Kellogg family
Kellogg, Mary Guernsey Clark, 1843?-1934
Keys, Lucy Stearns, 1886-1963
MacDowell Society of Cincinnati
McLaughlin, Charles J., 1888-1964
McLaughlin, Dorothy Kellogg, 1888-1922
McLaughlin family
McLaughlin, Nancy Waller Sandford, 1852-1945
McLaughlin, Ralph Clark, 1916-1988
Smith College
Stearns family

Bruges (Belgium)
Covington (Ky.)
Fontainebleau (France)
Saltillo (Coahuila, Mexico)
Twentynine Palms (Ca.)



Separated Materials: Cincinnati, prints from the etching of E.T. Hurley (1916) has been separated and catalogued as F499.C545 H87 1916 in Special Collections Book Collection.

Related Archival Materials: “Art in Northern Kentucky,” a paper written by Charles J. McLaughlin and presented to the Christopher Gist Historical Society in October 1958, is found in MS-24 Christopher Gist Historical Society Collection, Eva G. Farris Special Collections, W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University.


Charles J. (Jasper) McLaughlin was born to Edward Ball McLaughlin (1852-1911) and Nancy Waller Sandford McLaughlin (1852-1945) on June 6, 1888. He attended Covington High School (now Holmes High School) in Covington, Kentucky followed by the Art Academy in Cincinnati, Ohio. While a student at the Art Academy, he took classes from well-known Covington artist Frank Duveneck. McLaughlin had a diverse career as an artist and architect. From 1913-1920, McLaughlin worked at Cincinnati’s Rookwood Pottery designing pottery. His pieces can be identified by the mark of his initials ‘CJM’ on their bases. In 1916, McLaughlin designed his own home on Riverside Drive (previously Front Street) in Covington, Kentucky. In 1925, he studied architecture at the Fontainebleau Schools of Music and Fine Arts in Fontainebleau, France and returned there in 1939 for further study. He also spent time studying and traveling throughout Europe, including Spain, Italy, Greece, and Belgium. In the late 1920s, McLaughlin taught architecture at Texas A&M as a substitute professor for a friend who was on an extended sabbatical. For about twenty years, McLaughlin spent six months of each year at his winter home in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. After selling his home in Mexico around 1955, he wintered in Twentynine Palms, California. Both locations served as inspirations for his artwork and their surrounding landscapes are prominently featured in his landscape paintings. McLaughlin also painted portraits, mostly oil on canvas, of family members, friends, and other acquaintances. McLaughlin was a member of the Christopher Gist Historical Society, the Cincinnati Art Club, and the MacDowell Society of Cincinnati.

In 1915, Charles J. McLaughlin married Dorothy Kellogg, who was born to Charles H. Kellogg, Jr. and Mary Guernsey Clark Kellogg in 1888. Dorothy’s father had been president of Third National Bank, which merged with Fifth National Bank to become what is presently known as 5/3 Bank. Dorothy and Charles had two children: Ralph (nicknamed Ruffie), born in 1916, and Nancy, born in 1917. Dorothy died in 1922 at the age of 34 and was buried in Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 1934, McLaughlin married his second wife, Lucy Stearns Keys. Her grandfather, George Stearns, was a founding partner in The Stearns and Foster Company, which owned a textile mill and operated a mattress-manufacturing plant. Lucy was the widow of Pierson Douglas Keys (died 1927), whom she had married in 1907. They probably lived on Reilly Road in Wyoming, Ohio prior to Pierson’s death. Charles J. McLaughlin and Lucy eventually divorced. Lucy died in 1963 and was buried in Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio. Charles J. McLaughlin died in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1964 and was buried next to his first wife Dorothy in Spring Grove Cemetery.

Nancy McLaughlin Dammann graduated from College Preparatory School in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1935 and from Smith College (Northampton, Massachusetts) in 1939. She also studied at the Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School in Boston. Nancy married John Francis Dammann Jr., a graduate of Harvard and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine on June 21, 1941. Nancy had several nicknames including “Maude,” “Maudie,” “Butch” and “Gootie.” Nancy died in 2007.


Series I, Charles J. McLaughlin Art Materials, contains correspondence from Charles McLaughlin and his daughter Nancy McLaughlin Dammann about possible sales of paintings to subjects or relatives of subjects featured in McLaughlin’s paintings. Notable correspondents include Irle R. Hicks of Covington, Kentucky; Samuel A. Parsons of New York City; Margaret Alter of Cincinnati, Ohio; Lowry Sweney of Columbus, Ohio; the family of composer James H. (Hotchkiss) Rogers; and Amada de la Fuente and Odila de Servin, friends of Charles’s from Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. The series also contains art appraisals, art inventories, and exhibition files. The exhibition files include catalogs, correspondence, and clippings documenting McLaughlin’s work on exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum (1938), the Morton Galleries in New York City (1938), the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (1939), the Art Institute in Zanesville, Ohio (1939), and the Betty Brown Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio (1940). Not all of the exhibition catalogs feature McLaughlin’s work; two are for exhibitions of works by Wayman Adams. The series also contains an address book and a photograph from the Fontainebleau Schools of Music and Fine Arts (also known as Fontainebleau School of Fine Arts) in Fontainebleau, France, which McLaughlin attended in 1925 and possibly again in 1939. It also has McLaughlin’s travel documents for the 1937 International Exposition in Paris, France. The series includes membership handbooks and publications from the MacDowell Society of Cincinnati, subject files on Rookwood Pottery and Frank Duveneck, photographs of portraits and landscapes painted by Charles J. McLaughlin and original art. The photographs of landscapes include scenes of the Ohio Valley; Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico; and Taos, New Mexico. Original art in the series includes both oil (9 ¼” x 9” h) and watercolor (9 ¾” x 13 ¾” h) portraits of his son Ralph McLaughlin and a watercolor portrait (9 ¾” x 13 ¾” h) of his daughter Nancy McLaughlin Dammann. There is also an oil on canvas portrait of an unidentified woman (26” x 32” h).

Series II, McLaughlin Family Papers, contains scattered materials from individual members of the McLaughlin family as well as the families of his wives Dorothy Kellogg McLaughlin and Lucy Stearns Keys.

Subseries 1, Charles J. McLaughlin, includes biographical information (obituaries) and correspondence, which mostly consists of postcards written to his children and sister while he was traveling in Europe in 1925 and 1926 although there is some incoming correspondence from friends and fellow artists. Topics discussed in the correspondence include references to Greek refugees (circa 1926), the state of family finances, health, school, and food. In letters dated January 1937, McLaughlin writes to daughter Nancy about rising water levels and describes his experience of the Ohio River flood.

Subseries 2, Nancy McLaughlin Dammann, contains personal papers of Nancy McLaughlin Dammann, daughter of Dorothy Kellogg McLaughlin and Charles J. McLaughlin. It has a scrapbook, spanning 1936-1941, documenting her time as a student at Smith College (Northampton, Massachusetts) and her life immediately following graduation in Covington, Kentucky. The scrapbook consists of newspaper clippings, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, and ephemera. Items range from a 1936 Princeton versus Harvard football game ticket to a poster for a “Disaster Dance” in Covington, Kentucky sponsored by the Young Voters League benefiting the American Red Cross after the 1937 Ohio River flood. The scrapbook also has playbills from the Wharf Theater in Provincetown, Massachusetts (1937) and exhibition postcards for Charles J. McLaughlin’s art shows. The scrapbook is filled with graduation, wedding, and baby announcements for friends and relatives of Dammann. The subseries also includes correspondence, clippings, and a program from the National Woman’s Party (1940). It also contains McLaughlin and Kellogg family genealogical research and correspondence that Dammann gathered, including biographical information on her paternal grandmother Nancy Waller Sandford McLaughlin and her maternal grandfather Charles H. Kellogg, Jr.

Subseries 3, Dorothy Kellogg McLaughlin, contains biographical information, such as clippings about her 1915 wedding to Charles and correspondence regarding her death in 1922; a 1907 yearbook for the College Preparatory School for Girls in Cincinnati, Ohio; and an unpublished short story written by Dorothy.

Subseries 4, Lucy Stearns Keys, contains a single newspaper clipping announcing her trip through the Panama Canal to California after her marriage to Charles J. McLaughlin in early 1934.

Subseries 5, McLaughlin Family Home, contains a 1965 contract of sale for the McLaughlin family home, which was located at 321 Riverside Drive in Covington, Kentucky. There are also clippings and leaflets about the house and its historic neighborhood, including information on the impact of the 1937 Ohio River flood and the architectural styles of the neighborhood’s homes. Riverside Drive was previously known as Front Street.

Subseries 6, Photographs, contains portrait photographs of Charles J. McLaughlin at various ages as well as candid shots of him in Europe (notably in Belgium and Italy) with friends and his aunt, Mary Burbank. There is one rolled photograph that that has a visible notation “C. J. McLaughlin” but is unable to be viewed due to its physical condition. The subseries also contains photographs of Ralph McLaughlin, Nancy McLaughlin Dammann, Nancy Sandford Waller McLaughlin, Dorothy Kellogg McLaughlin, female friends of Dorothy’s, and members of the Kellogg family. The portrait photographs of female friends had been assembled into a single matted display for hanging. Most of the images of Ralph and Nancy McLaughlin Dammann are from their childhood. In one photograph, Ralph stands next to a portrait that his father painted of him. The subseries also includes photographs of the McLaughlin family home (321 Riverside Drive, Covington, Kentucky). Among these are photographs showing how far the 1937 Ohio River flood waters reached into the historic neighborhood in which the house is located. There are also photographs (negatives and prints) of Charles H. McLaughlin’s winter home in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, which he referred to as Rancho San Carlos, and, after 1954, his home in Twentynine Palms, California. There is one folder of photographs of a home and land on Reilly Road in Wyoming, Ohio (near Cincinnati) that most likely came from the Keys family.

Series III, Postcards, contains postcards, mostly depicting art and architecture throughout Europe, collected by Charles J. McLaughlin during his travels. The vast majority contain no correspondence or annotations and a letter from McLaughlin in Series II, Subseries 1 indicates that he collected the postcards so that his children, Nancy and Ralph, could learn about European history, art, and architecture. There is a small amount of postcards from India, Mexico, and the United States of America.


This collection is arranged into three series: Series I, Charles J. McLaughlin Art Materials; Series II, McLaughlin Family Papers; and Series III, Postcards. The postcards are arranged alphabetically by country of origin.






Series I: Charles J. McLaughlin Art Materials






1955-2000, undated



Art appraisals and inventories

1964-1966, 1985



Exhibition files


1937-1953, undated



Schools of Music and Fine Arts,
  Fontainebleau, France




International Exposition, Paris, France travel




The MacDowell Society of Cincinnati
  publications and membership handbooks

1916-1925, undated

1; 2


Frank Duveneck subject file

1929-1993, undated



Rookwood Pottery subject file




Photographs of McLaughlin’s paintings


before 1964

1; see also SC Negatives Box 1


Four portraits


6, 7,
SC Art


Series II: McLaughlin Family Papers




Subseries 1: Charles J. McLaughlin




Biographical information






1923-1958, undated

1; see also Box 4


Subseries 2: Nancy McLaughlin Dammann






O/S Box 8


Correspondence, clippings, notebook,
  Daughters of the American Revolution 

1936-1943, undated



McLaughlin family genealogy

1911-1998, undated



Kellogg family genealogy

1891-1954, undated



Subseries 3: Dorothy Kellogg McLaughlin




Biographical information




The 1907 Annual of the College Preparatory
  School for Girls
(Cincinnati, Ohio) and
  unpublished short story “The Accompanist”

1907, undated

1; 2


Subseries 4: Lucy Stearns Keys





February 28, 1934



Subseries 5: McLaughlin Family Home




Contract of sale, clippings, and leaflets

1933-1966 undated



Subseries 6: Photographs  




Charles J. McLaughlin

after 1888-1963, undated

2; see also Box 6 and O/S Box 9


Charles J. McLaughlin and friends in Europe


2; see also O/S Box 9


Charles J. McLaughlin and family members




Charles J. McLaughlin and unidentified

1952, 1958, undated



Nancy Waller Sandford McLaughlin




Dorothy Kellogg McLaughlin

circa 1916

2; see also O/S Box 9


Kellogg family




Nancy McLaughlin Dammann and Ralph

1917? -1949, undated

2; see also O/S Box 9


McLaughlin family home and 1937 Ohio River




Rancho San Carlos, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico

1940-1956, undated

2; see also O/S Box 9 and SC Negatives Box 1


Charles J. McLaughlin home, Twentynine
  Palms, California

1954, 1983

2; see also O/S Box 9


Reilly Road and Pierson Keys family home,
  Wyoming, Ohio

circa 1914



Photograph of Stanley Gibson?   




Series III: Postcards









Conditions Governing Access: This collection is open for research access.

Physical Access: Access to fragile items is limited. Rolled photograph is severely damaged, limiting visibility of image. Scrapbook requires special handling procedures due to damaged binding and weak paper support pages. Department personnel will authorize use of originals on a case by case basis.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use: The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, US Code) governs the reproduction of copyrighted material. The User assumes full responsibility and any attendant liability for the fair use of materials requested in total compliance with the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) that may arise through the use of any requested materials.

Preferred Citation: [Box #, Folder #], MS-21 Charles J. McLaughlin Family Collection, Eva G. Farris Special Collections, W. Frank Steely Library, Northern Kentucky University


Immediate Source of Acquisition: Gift from Polly A. Dammann, Ralph K. Dammann, John F. Dammann, and Charles G. Dammann, 2012 and 2016 (NKU2012-001, NKU2016-018)


Processing Information: Processed by Anne Ryckbost, 2016