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Western Association of Writers collection

Identifier: L217

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of some of the papers of the Western Association of Writers for the years 1886-1910, with the bulk of the coverage from 1896 to 1899. Included here are the articles of association and bylaws, correspondence between the officers and members (majority of the collection), programs from some of their events, newspaper clippings concerning the WAW, miscellaneous WAW papers which include lists of officers, and miscellaneous pamphlets relating to the organization.

The volumes contain meeting minutes, notes about the annual banquet, correspondence, receipts, bylaws, treasurers reports, member lists, and newspaper clippings.


  • 1886-1910


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Historical Note

The Western Association of Writers was organized in June 1886 after a gathering of writers met in the Plymouth Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. The original name chosen had been the American Association of Writers, but the group felt that the organization was to serve a specific region and not be national. The majority of members were from Indiana, but several members were from other Midwestern states such as Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio. The object of the association was to "cultivate the highest and purest style of literary work, and to encourage and assist in the development of a true and healthy American literature."

The WAW held one meeting a year. All but one meeting took place in Indiana. From 1889 until 1904 the WAW held its annual meeting at Winona Lake near Warsaw, Indiana. The last full WAW meeting seems to have taken place in 1904, though in later years smaller WAW groups got together until at least 1908.

Notable members included: George Cottman, Ida Husted Haper, Benjamin Parker, Amos Butler, Meredith Nicholson, James Whitcomb Riley, Maurice Thompson, Will Cumback, Sarah T. Bolton, John Clark Ridpath, Booth Tarkington, and Lew Wallace.


Cottman, George S. "The Western Association of Writers." Indiana Magazine of History (September 1933): 187-197.

Weygand, James L. Winona Holiday: The Story of the Western Association of Writers. Nappanee, Indiana: Maestro Books, 1948.


0.5 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box, 1 volume)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2004/11 by Elizabeth M. Wilkinson. EAD finding aid created 2016/05/11 by Lauren Patton. EAD finding aid updated 2019/10/01 by Lauren Patton.
Western Association of Writers collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.