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Lincoln woman attains NLAPW membership

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[January 24, 2013]  Nancy Rollings Saul, of Lincoln, was recently inducted into the Central Illinois Branch of National League of American Pen Women, in the Letters division. Working as a freelance writer and photographer, she has produced numerous postcards of Logan County landmarks.

Saul retired in 2010 after serving more than 22 years as lifestyle editor of The Courier newspaper in Lincoln, where she received numerous awards from the Illinois Press Association and the Associated Press. Prior to her Courier job, she worked as a freelance writer and photographer for numerous central Illinois newspapers.

Earlier in her career, she also wrote for the Publications Division of the Indiana Department of Commerce, the Public Information Office of Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois in Springfield), the Illinois State Journal-Register, the Springfield Sun and the Mattoon Journal-Gazette. She served as editor for the 50th anniversary edition of The Progressive Miner.

The Central Illinois Branch, NLAPW, meets at 1:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Bloomington Public Library. Professional women writers, artists or composers who are interested in visiting a meeting may contact Betty Story, membership chairman, at 309-664-0319 or, or contact Saul at

The League of American Pen Women was organized in June 1897 by Marian Longfellow O'Donoghue, niece of President William McKinley, in protest of the way women writers were treated by their male counterparts. O'Donoghue, who wrote for newspapers in Washington, D.C., and Boston, invited fellow journalists Margaret Sullivan Burke and Anna Sanborne Hamilton to join her in establishing a "progressive press union" for Washington's female writers.

The group, including writers, a teacher and an artist, banded together to seek mutual aid, advice and career advancement. Professional credentials were required for membership as they are today, and the women determined that Pen Women should always be paid for their work.

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Today, the expanded mission of the organization includes mentoring, encouraging and promoting emerging professional women in the arts. In a time when arts in the classroom are being curtailed or eliminated, the national organization also provides outreach programs that give students a chance to discover and explore their artistic gifts.

Additional information about the league is available at

The National League of American Pen Women was founded in 1921 with 35 local branches in various states. The organization is headquartered in the historic Pen Arts Building in the DuPont Circle area of Washington, D.C. First ladies have always been awarded honorary memberships, and in some cases, such as Eleanor Roosevelt, have actively participated in league functions. More than a decade into its second century, league membership has included more than 55,000 professional women writers, artists and musicians.


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