Nancy Landon Kassebaum-Baker, U.S. Senator

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Nancy Kassebaum-Baker (Landon)

Birthplace: Topeka, KS, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Alf Landon, Governor and Theo Landon
Widow of Howard H. Baker, Jr., U.S. Senator & Ambassador
Ex-wife of <private> Kassebaum
Mother of Richard Landon Kassebaum and <private> Kassebaum
Sister of <private> Landon
Half sister of Margaret (Peggy) Anne Mills

Managed by: Ewan Alexander Caldwell
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Nancy Landon Kassebaum-Baker, U.S. Senator

Nancy Landon Kassebaum Baker (born July 29, 1932) represented the State of Kansas in the United States Senate from 1978 to 1997. She is the daughter of Alf Landon, who was Governor of Kansas from 1933 to 1937 and the 1936 Republican nominee for president. She was the first woman ever elected to a full term in the Senate without her husband having previously served in Congress.

Early life

Baker was born Nancy Landon in Topeka, Kansas, the daughter of Theo (née Cobb) and Governor Alf Landon. She attended Topeka High School and graduated in 1950. She graduated from the University of Kansas in Lawrence in 1954, where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. In 1956 she received a master's degree in diplomatic history from the University of Michigan, where she met her first husband, Philip Kassebaum, whom she married in 1956. They settled in Maize, Kansas, where they raised four children. They separated in 1975, and divorced in 1979.

U.S. Senate


Baker went by Nancy Landon Kassebaum while serving in the Senate. She was the first female senator not elected to the political office held by her husband (Margaret Chase Smith of Maine was first elected to the House of Representatives to fill her husband's vacancy, but later won a Senate election), nor appointed to fill out a deceased husband's term. She was also the first woman to represent Kansas in the Senate.

She defeated eight other Republicans in the 1978 primary elections to replace retiring Republican James B. Pearson and then defeated former Democratic Congressman Bill Roy (who narrowly lost a previous election bid to Kansas's junior senator, Bob Dole, in 1974) in the general election. She was re-elected to her Senate seat in 1984 and 1990, but did not seek re-election in 1996.


Baker is a moderate-to-liberal Republican who is known for her health care legislation, known as the Kennedy-Kassebaum Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which was co-sponsored by Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, a Democrat.

Personal life

She is an Advisory Board member for the Partnership for a Secure America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy.

In 1996, she married former U.S. Senator Howard Baker, Jr. of Tennessee.

Her son, Bill Kassebaum, is a former member of the Kansas House of Representatives. Her other son, filmmaker Richard Kassebaum, died of a brain tumor August 27, 2008 at the age of 47.

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Nancy Landon Kassebaum-Baker, U.S. Senator's Timeline

July 29, 1932
Topeka, KS, USA
Age 27