Our Rich History

Founded in 1897 in Washington, D.C., The National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) is the oldest multi-discipline arts organization for women in the United States. It was founded as an alternative to the (then) all-male National Press Club. Realizing a need for an organization that would include women of the press, Marian Longfellow O’Donoghue, niece of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, decided to create such an organization.

Today, NLAPW promotes and conducts literary, educational, and charitable activities in the fields of Letters, Art and Music. The mission remains to encourage, recognize and promote the production of creative work of professional standard in the fine arts.  Our official League Headquarters is in the Pen Arts Building, part of the DuPont Historical District in Washington, D.C. Our archives chronicle the legacy of the illustrious members, such as Vinnie Ream, Eleanor Roosevelt, Pearl Buck, Amy Beach, Georgia O’Keeffe, Grandma Moses, Erma Bombeck, Maya Angelou, Rosalyn Carter, Hillary Clinton, and Eudora Welty.

SOURCE: https://www.sarasotapenwomen.org/history

Marian Longfellow O’Donoghue

Thank You to NLAPW Sarasota Branch for providing the permission to use “Our Rich History” on our website.

Pen Women from Our History

Vinnie Ream
Eleanor Roosevelt
Maya Angelou
Pearl S. Buck
Rosalyn Carter
Eudora Welty
Amy Marcy Cheney Beach
Grandma Moses

Atlanta Branch History

In late 1930, a group of professional women with vision, diligence, and creative ability met and organized an Atlanta Pen Women Club with the announced intention of becoming a full-fledged branch.
Mrs. Erskine R. Jarnigan, who as “Polly Peachtree” was the Society Editor for The Georgian newspaper and became the group’s organizing president. However, before the club achieved Branch status, Mrs. Jarnigan moved from Atlanta and the fledgling organization did not start up until the next year.

After meeting NLAPW President Grace Thompson Seton in California in 1931, Atlanta musician Bonita Crowe renewed the group’s enthusiasm for Pen Women affiliation. With the members of the original club as a nucleus, newly-recruited members, and Bonita Crowe as Charter President, the Atlanta Branch was accepted as an official branch of the National League of American Pen Women, Inc. on September 23, 1931.

The History of the Atlanta Branch is captured through Scrapbooks, “The Presidents Book”, and recorded Minutes, all of which are preserved in the archives of the Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, NW, Atlanta, GA 30305.

Atlanta Serves National Organization

In the more than seven decades since its founding, the Atlanta Branch has sustained the spirit of its charter members. In addition to providing a forum for continued artistic and professional growth, the Branch is proud to have had an Atlanta Pen Woman, Virginia T. Avery – daughter of founding member and past president Lida Wilson Turner – serve The National League of American Pen Women as its President from 1982-84. More recently, the Branch sent Harriet Fay Woodcock to Washington to head the national music program. Most recently, past president Candace Long has been serving on the National Executive Board as Vice-President of Development.

Pen Women Nature Garden

Years ago, one-acre plots in the forest of Stone Mountain Park were made available to several different community organizations. Ann E. Lewis initiated the campaign that culminated in our organization being included in this program. Wanting to preserve the natural beauty of the area, the Atlanta Branch developed the Pen Women Nature Garden in 1961. In 2011, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of this green acre that has long nourished our creative spirits.

The nature garden is backed by the steep granite of Stone Mountain to the North, and bordered by a meandering creek on the South. A rustic footbridge leads to a trail of stones, each one honoring a current or former member of the Atlanta Branch of the National League of American Pen Women. Initially, thirty-three stones were placed, with additional dedications held every two years, bringing the current total to ninety-four stones.