You've probably read about the Greenwich Pen Women in local papers, and think it's a group of professional women who write. That's partially right! The group also recognizes professional women artists and composers. It's part of the larger National League of American Pen Women, and is dedicated to encouraging and supporting women in these fields.
The League of American Pen Women (LAPW) was organized in 1897 by Marion Longfellow, niece of none other than author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It grew out of a feeling of inequality in the writer's craft. Women were treated differently, especially when it came to libel, copyright and plagiarism law. Ms. Longfellow wrote for newspapers in Washington, DC and Boston. She is known for organizing the first progressive press union for female writers in this country - the Women's Press Club. LAPW members are required to have professional credentials. That is, they are women writers, artists and composers who have been paid for their work to establish their "legitimacy". Branches gradually sprang up across the nation. In 1921 the name was changed to the National League of American Pen Writers. The headquarters is located in the Pens Art Building near the DuPont Circle in Washington, DC. Today, it provides seminars, workshops, art exhibits, readings, concerts and other outreach programs. There have been 55,000 members of NLAPW over the years.
Grace Gallatin Thompson Seton, a member of the NLAPW, organized a Connecticut Pioneer Branch in Connecticut in 1925. Ms. Seton wrote for San Franciscan newspapers under the pen name "Dorothy Dodge". She married Ernest Thompson Seton, and was the mother of author Anya Seton. Grace Seton was a suffragette, serving as vice president and president of the Connecticut Women's Suffrage Association. She was a leading fundraiser for war bonds. Grace and her husband organized the Girl Pioneers, the predecessor to the Campfire Girls. She served two terms as the president of the NLAPW. Since the state organization was mainly artist-oriented, Greenwich members pulled out of the Connecticut Pioneer branch in 1955, and founded the Greenwich branch. It's called the Greenwich Pen Women.
Greenwich Pen Women present an annual Owl Award to recognize a member for her outstanding talent and achievement in her artistic field, as well as giving service to the Greenwich Pen Women and larger community. Past members who have won the award include Betty Coughlin and Ann Caron, who are known for writing columns for the local newspapers. Membership is open to professionals involved in writing, art and music composition.
For more information on the Greenwich Pen Women, check out the website at:
SOURCE: The Greenwich Time (Hearst Newspapers)