The National League of American Pen Women

NYC Manhattan branch

The National League of American Pen Women, Inc. is a professional organization comprised of women artists, composers an writers that promotes the development of the creative talents of professional women in the arts. The League consists of local Branches, State associations and Member-At-Large. The League has more than 5000 members with more than 200 branches throughout the United States and the Panama Canal Zone.

The League was founded in 1897 as an alternative to the all-male Press Club. The first meeting was held on June 28th of the year and 17 women were present: writes, novelists, newspaper women, a teacher, a poet and an artist. Alice R. Morgan, an illistrator for New York publishers designed the insignia: the owl, symbolic of wisdom, in a triangle formed by a red pen, a blue pencil and white brush, colors of the American flag and the colors chosen for the League.

Mrs.Eleanor Roosevelt and Mrs. Warren Harding were distinguished members of the League. Some of the names among the many National Honorary Members listed are Emma Bonback, Barbara Bush, Taylor Caldwell, Roslynn Carter, Dorothy Daniels, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Helen Hayes, Georgia O’Keefe, Dale Rogers Evans, Gloria Vanderbilt and Eudora Welty.


Professional women eligible for ART membership include painters, print-makers, photographers, cartoonists and illustrators, graphic artists, architects, designers and sculptors. Applying artists must have been accepted into three juried exhibits or have been published.


Professional women eligible for LETTERS membership include authors, co-authors, compilers, dramatists, editors, genealogists, poets, press writers, script writers for communication media or motion pictures, research workers and musicologists. Original writing of professional quality must have been paid for and published.


(Composition in Music and Dance)
Professional women eligible for MUSU+IC membership include composers, arrangers and choreographers. They may present published original compositions or original unpublished compositions or arrangements that have been performed in a public forum.