A Brief History of NLAPW
(Excerpted, in part, from the NLAPW website)

Logo by Herrel


The mission of the League, a not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation, is to encourage, recognize, and promote the production of creative work of professional standard in art, letters, and music, and through outreach activities provide educational, creative, and professional support to members and non-members in these disciplines. The core values of the NLAPW are respect, knowledge, creation, and preservation of the arts.

-National Outreach Mission Statement

The purpose of outreach is to advance the creative arts and increase an awareness of the need for all citizens to have access to the enjoyment of the arts and creative endeavors.  Women of the Central Ohio Branch support, encourage, inspire, and learn from one another. We mentor new members through the application process and celebrate one anothers’ successes. As Marian Longfellow O’Donoghue proclaimed at the first meeting in 1897, we are . . . “One for all, all for one.”

THE BEGINNING: The first meeting of The League of American Pen Women was organized by Marian Longfellow O’Donoghue, who wrote for newspapers in Washington D.C. and Boston. She invited fellow journalists, Margaret Sullivan Burke and Anna Sanborn Hamilton, to join her in establishing a “progressive press union” for the female writers of Washington. “The Dauntless Three” brought together seventeen women: writers, novelists, newspaper women, a teacher, a poet, and an artist. They hoped that these “active pen women” would find in the group “mutual aid, advice, and future development” for each other and their careers (quotes from The League Minutes, 26 June 1897). Soon, artists and composers also facing discrimination were welcomed by their literary sisters.

NEW TECHNOLOGIES LEAD TO CHANGES: At the turn of the 20th century the pen, pencil, and brush represented the main instruments used by writers, artists, and composers. Now in the twenty-first century, that is not longer so. Electronic instruments, digital studios, computer-manipulated images, paperless means of publishing and marketing, and other evolving technologies have given rise to new forms of artistic expression never dreamed of by our founders.

Darlene's Art PhotoTo be more inclusive of ever expanding contemporary art forms, at the 2016 National Biennial Conference, officers and members recognized the need to update the National By Laws. A new category of membership “Allied Professions” was added to the existing membership categories. Those changes have thrown open the doors for Branches to welcome gallery or museum curators, video artists, film producers and directors, art history professors, musicologists, arrangers, professional vocalists, instrumentalists, dancers, choreographers, publicists, teachers of journalism and creative writing, and many more professions in the arts.

NAMES OF SOME FAMOUS MEMBERS:  The association became The National League of American Pen Women in 1921. Membership increased through the 1920’s and 1930’s. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was lauded as the hardest working active member of NLAPW. The First Lady communicated through her syndicated column, My Day, as well as radio broadcasts and speaking engagements. Other noted Pen Women from the League’s rich history include: authors Pearl Buck, Eudora Welty, and Dayton, OH writer, Erma Bombeck. Art members include renowned Columbus artist, Alice Schille, Grandma Moses, Georgia O’Keefe, and Vinnie Ream, sculptor of the rotunda Lincoln. Music members include Amy Beach, Carrie Jacobs Bond, Dr. Antonia Brice and more.

NATIONAL BIENNIAL CONFERENCES: National conferences began in the early 1920’s and have continued as biennials alternating between Washington D.C. and other cities with branches around the nation.

THE PEN WOMAN magazine debuted in 1920 and continued until 1923 when The Official Bulletin was substituted for the periodical. In 1940, The Pen Woman reemerged as the organization’s journal and vehicle for members’ creative works and NLAPW communications. Now a quarterly, The Pen Woman is an award-winning magazine.

NLAPW headquarters

OUR BRANCH: The Central Ohio Branch of the National League of American Pen Women has been in existence in several iterations since 1932. In April of that year, charter number 65 was issued to the Columbus Branch with author Florence Ralston Werum as founder and Branch President.

MEETINGS: Branch meetings are held monthly from September to June, except January.  Stimulating programs with broad appeal are divided between music, writing, fine art, and allied professionals. Women in the arts necessarily have diverse schedules. In order to accommodate our members, the meeting times and places vary from month to month. Check back monthly to get details about the programs, meeting times, and places.


Additional information may be found at www.nlapw.org.