Western Association of Writers
L 217, V 238
1 mss. box, 3 vol.

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Processed by:
Elizabeth M. Wilkinson, November 2004
Additions by: Elizabeth M. Wilkinson, May 2006

Organizational History:

The Western Association of Writers was organized in June 1886 after a gathering of writers met in the Plymouth Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The original name chosen had been the American Association of Writers, but the group felt that the organization was to serve a specific region and not be national.  The majority of members were from Indiana, but several members were from other Mid-western states such as Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio.  The object of the association was to “cultivate the highest and purest style of literary work, and to encourage and assist in the development of a true and healthy American literature.”

The WAW held one meeting a year.  All but one meeting took place in Indiana.  From 1889 until 1904 the WAW held its annual meeting at Winona Lake near Warsaw, Indiana. The last full WAW meeting seems to have taken place in 1904, though in later years smaller WAW groups got together until at least 1908.

Notable members included: George Cottman, Ida Husted Harper, Benjamin Parker, Amos Butler, Meredith Nicholson, James Whitcomb Riley, Maurice Thompson, Will Cumback, Sarah T. Bolton, John Clark Ridpath, Booth Tarkington, and Lew Wallace.

        Materials in the collection
        Cottman, George S.  “The Western Association of Writers.” Indiana Magazine of History September 1933: 187-197.
        Weygand, James L.  Winona Holiday: The Story of the Western Association of Writers.  Nappanee, Indiana: Maestro Books, 1948.

 Scope and Content Note:

This collection consists of some of the papers of the Western Association of Writers for the years 1887-1910, with the bulk of the coverage from 1896 to 1899.  Included here are the Articles of Association and by-laws, correspondence between the officers and members (majority of the collection), programs from some of their events, newspaper clippings concerning the WAW, miscellaneous WAW papers which include lists of officers, and miscellaneous pamphlets relating to the organization.

The volumes contain meeting minutes, notes about the Annual Banquets, correspondence, receipts, bylaws, treasurers reports, member lists, and newspaper clippings.

Box and Folder Listing:

 1 Box.




Articles of Association and by-laws, 1887


Correspondence, 1891-July 1895


Correspondence, Aug.-Dec. 1895


Correspondence, Jan.-Apr. 1896


Correspondence, June 1896-1897


Correspondence, 1898


Correspondence, 1899-1907


Miscellaneous papers, 1895-1900s


Programs, 1892-1897, 1902


Newspaper clippings, 1886-1910


Miscellaneous pamphlets, 1887-1890s, n.d.

V238-1	Minute book, 1891-1897
V238-2	Minute book, 1898-1901
V238-3	Minute book, 1901-1904

Collection Information


Size of Collection:

1 manuscript box, 3 volumes

Collection Dates:



Amos Butler, 19 September 1934; Kitty Wirrick, 1 December 1937; Caroline Dunn, 16 November 1961



Reproduction Rights:

Permission to reproduce, exhibit, or publish material in this collection must be obtained from the Manuscript Section, Indiana State Library.

Alternate Formats:


Related Holdings:

I810.6 W527 W.A.W. , A Souvenir
I810.6 W527w Winona Holiday
IPQ 810.6 no. 1 Western Association of Writers Clippings and Programs.



Photocopying Policy:

Manuscript materials CANNOT be photocopied or digitized in their entirety. Photocopies and/or digital images cannot exceed 25% of a collection or a folder within a collection. In some cases, photocopying may not be permitted due to the condition of the item. Check with a Manuscript Librarian for other options.