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National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) Indianapolis collection

Identifier: L514

Scope and Contents

This collection includes newspaper clippings, Indianapolis Branch newsletters, correspondence, membership directories, meeting minutes, treasury reports, programs and the official magazine of the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW), "The Pen Woman," ranging from 1928 to 2011.


  • 1928-2011


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research while separated materials are restricted. Contact the repository for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Literary rights, including copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their legal heirs and assigns. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts. The publisher must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Administrative History

The Indianapolis Branch of the National League of American Pen Women was organized in 1923 when Grace Porterfield Polk of Greenwood, Indiana who was a member of the National Board, invited some prominent women to meet at the late Ayres Tea Room.

Mrs. O.C. Fenton of Logansport, author and journalist, was elected president; Mrs. Felix T. McWhirter of Indianapolis, editor and journalist, vice-president; Blanche Foster Boruff of Bedford, feature writer, secretary; and Mrs. Ethel Arnold Tilden of Greencastle, poet and essayist, treasurer.

The name was changed in 1944 from the Indiana Branch to the Indianapolis branch when members from Muncie organized their own group. Later, Bloomington women organized a Bloomington branch in 1957.

Booth Tarkington's sister, Mrs. Ovid Butler Jameson, a writer, was president from 1930 to 1932. Emma Sangernebo, sculptor, made the cast of the bronze plaque which honored Indiana's first pioneer woman writer, Sarah Tittle Bolton. The cast was unveiled on October 18, 1941 in the rotunda of the Indiana State House. Another distinguished member was Senator Arcada Stark Balz, who was the first woman member of the Indiana legislature. Grace Golden, a member, was the dedicated director of the Children's Museum of Indianapolis for many years.

The Pen Women motto is: "One for All and All for One."

Historical Note

The National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) was founded in 1897 by a group of women journalists excluded from the all-male Washington Press Club in Washington D.C. The arts organization is headquartered in the Pen Arts Building and Art Museum in the DuPont Circle of Washington D.C.

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 providing 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.

Today, the NLAPW has 81 branches in 35 states and many members-at-large. There are over 1,600 professional women artists, writers, composers, and choreographer members of the League.


National League of American Pen Women website:


8.7 Cubic Feet (29 manuscript boxes, 14 volumes, 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series and subseries:

Series 1: Newspaper clippings, 1928-1997

Series 2: Newsletters, 1940-1997

Series 3: Correspondence, 1938-1997

Series 4: Minutes and treasury reports, 1958-1997

Series 5: Programs, 1936-1990s

Series 6: Rosters and bylaws, 2006

Series 7: "The Pen Woman" official magazine, 1946-1997

Series 8: Subject files, 1937-2011

Subseries 8.1: Board members documents, 1987-2011 Subseries 8.2: Members documents, 1937-2001 Subseries 8.3: Miscellaneous, 1940-2009

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as donations from Jill Chambers on 2013/12/18; Marian O'Haver on 2000/09/16; Julia S. Fangmeier on 1997/04/23 and Corinne Walker on 1982/07/26.


Further additions are expected.

Separated Materials

Materials containing confidential business and financial information are restricted.
National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW) Indianapolis 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.