About us and our mission

Founded in 1897

The National League of American Pen Women, Inc. (NLAPW)  was founded in 1897 when women journalists were not permitted to join male-only professional organizations. The League became a professional organization for women writers, artists and composers, where they could be recognized for their talents.

NLAPW Headquarters, the historic Pen Arts Building


We are proud of the NLAPW headquarters, The Pen Arts Building and Art Museum, and its place among other historic buildings in Dupont Circle, a popular tourist destination in Washington, D.C.



More about NLAPW

Winter 2019 Pen Woman coverThe Pen Arts Building and Art Museum

More about the NLAPW

Celebrating 120 years

Legends and legacies

Pen Women history

Membership benefits

How to join

The Pen Woman quarterly membership magazine



Abraham Lincoln sculpture by Vinnie Ream

Abraham Lincoln sculpture by Vinnie Ream

The marble statue of Abraham Lincoln that stands in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol was sculpted by Pen Woman legend, Vinnie Ream, who won the Congressional commission in 1866 at age 18.

The first meeting of The League of American Pen Women was organized by Marian Longfellow O’Donoghue (yes, Henry’s niece), who wrote for newspapers in Washington D.C. She invited fellow journalists Margaret Sullivan Burke and Anna Sanborn Hamilton to join her in establishing a “progressive press union” for the female writers of Washington.

The NLAPW has a legacy of support for women in the arts and in arts education. Women writers, artists, and musicians everywhere need your support! Please help us continue to bring national recognition to creative women artists everywhere.

NLAPW mission statement:

“’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 provide 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.”

Our nondiscrimination policy:

[We continue] to seek a diverse membership and leadership with no barriers to full participation on the basis of age, race, creed, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, or class.