The Greenwich Pen Women - Wordsmiths


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.


Writers Instruments.jpgGrace 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:

SOURCEThe Greenwich Time (Hearst Newspapers) 





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I'm impressed with your research; I know that you read at least 75 newspaper articles!

You may be interested in the Greenwich Pen Women poetry contest.

Winners will receive cash prizes totaling $1100 and will be featured in a professionally published, hard bound book - "Women's Voices of the 21st Century." This book will include all of the poems selected for the honor in addition to the prize recipients.

More information and the entry form are available on the poetry page of the Greenwich Pen Women website and at

Thank you for educating me on the history of my own organization!

Best regards,

Currently and through Father's Day, 4 of the artists in the Greenwich Branch of the Pen Women (which is distinct from the Pioneer Branch) have artwork in the Spectrum 2012 show at the Carriage Barn in New Canaan. They are, Liana Moonie, Fereshteh Priou, Margaret Esme Simon, and Connie Stancell.
Connie Stancell will be a featured artist in the soon to be published biannual Studio Visit Magazine.
The group will have two jurie
There will also be a juried show at the UConn Gallery in Stamford in April 2013.
Margaret Esme Simon will be in a 4 person show at the Historical Society from November through the end of the year.
Margaret Esme Simon co-chair (with Barbara O'Shea) of the Artists Group of the Greenwich Pen Women

Margaret - Thank you for this information. I'm going to add this to my Historical Happeneings blog for this week. It would be a nice activity for Fthers' Day. New Canaan is very close by. Thank you for this information. Carl

Dear Carl,
As a past president of Pen Women and Owl Award recipient (1996)I want to thank you for the wonderful article about us. We have come a long way and today we are proud to have successful and professional women in the arts, letters and music.
Personally, I have written four books with Macmillan and Harcourt Brace. My latest book, number five, in 2009 is "In The Company Of Originals" in print and e-form. I have also written numerous articles for national publications and newspapers (including N.Y. Times) and am an op-ed columnist for Greenwich Time. I am a member of the Authors Guild.
Thank you again for your interest in Pen Women.
It gives us a big boost! Carla
My father's name was Carl, hence the Carla.

The CT Pioneer Branch of the National League of American Pen Women is still alive and flourishing in our area. The oldest branch in the state, its writer, artist, and music members reside in Greenwich, the rest of Fairfield County and Westchester. It holds monthly meetings, such as the book talk given by "literary lioness" Esther Bushell at the Greenwich Library Meeting Room last February and its Annual Art Exhibition held in May at the Greenwich YWCA. Current President Carol Nipomnich Dixon just received an award at the National League of American Pen Women's Biennial Juried Exhibition held at the Sumner Museum in Washington D.C. Past President Marcia Preston recently received a National
Music Award and Polly Memhard, also a Past President received a National Writers Award.

Carl, your readers may be interested to know that the public can stay in the historic Pen Arts building near DuPont Circle in Washington, DC for just $70/ night!

Not only is the Pen Arts building a wonderful, inexpensive place to stay in D.C., it was at one time the home of Abraham Lincoln's son, Todd. I stayed there with three of my friends two years ago. It is conveniently located also! Nice write-up about Greenwich Pen Women. Thanks, Ann

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Carl White published on June 8, 2012 9:00 AM.

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