by Judy Martin-Urban
History of Muncie and National Branches
The National League of American Pen Women
The Muncie, Indiana Branch of the National League of American Pen Women began March 7, 1944. Susan Marsh served as first president. There were 20 members; 18 in letters and two in art.
On the national level, the organization began June 26, 1897 through efforts of Marian Longfellow O’Donoghue (yes, William’s niece), Margaret Sullivan Burke and Anna Sanborne Hamilton. They desired to bring together ‘women journalists, authors and illustrators for mutual benefits and strength that comes of union.’
Alice Morgan, a New York illustrator, designed the League insignia owl, symbolic of wisdom. The owl is placed in a triangle formed with a red pen, a blue pencil and a white brush, bearing colors of the American flag.
The first national convention was held in Washington, DC, April, 1921 with 300 women in attendance. President Harding attended the convention with his wife, who was a distinguished member. Mrs. Roosevelt and Mrs. Clinton have also been members.
Our local branch has sponsored academic scholarships and creative writing contests as well as many other worthy activities connected with the arts.
There are 135 branches in the United States.