Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Women's National Book Association records, 1917-2020

Summary Information


The Women's National Book Association Papers document the history and work of the Women's National Book Association from their founding in 1917 until today. The organization is active in promoting women in the book industry through awards and programs to increase women's participation in the profession and the role of women in publishing and other book-related fields.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1372
Bib ID 4079627 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Women's National Book Association
Title Women's National Book Association records, 1917-2020
Physical Description 72 linear feet (150 boxes)
Language(s) English .

This collection has no restrictions.

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.



Materials arranged into eight series. The collection is arranged into eight series based on the material's accession date and with a separate series for subject files received from the national chapter. Most of the materials are arranged within the series by chapter or by event, with some separation of types of materials including correspondence and published materials. Some chapters separated their materials more specifically into groupings of by-laws, minutes, events and membership, while other chapters are only grouped by chapter and date. Some of the early materials are cataloged individually and the Pearl S. Buck letter is on microfilm.



The collection consists of correspondence, memoranda, photographs, meeting minutes, membership materials, publications, financial information, reports and other materials important to the day-to-day operation of the organization. The bulk of the materials document the major awards given by the WNBA, the Lucile M. Pannell Award, the Constance Lindsay Skinner Award (now the WNBA Award), and the Amy Loveman Award. Each chapter has numerous materials from their founding until today, and the collection includes the important information about membership, how the chapter was run, events and important guests and speakers. Some important correspondents from the early documents include Catherine Drinker Bowen, Howard Fast, Marchette Chute, Mary Ellen Chase, Marguerite Henry, Abraham Ribicoff, Irita Van Doren, Beatrice Warde, Pearl S. Buck, Edward Weeks, and Alice B. Toklas.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection has no restrictions.

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Women's National Book Association records; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Related Materials

For WNBA related papers, SEE the Ann Heidbreder Eastman Papers in the Eugene B. Powers Collection for the Study of Scholarly Communication and Information Transfer, University of Michigan


Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. Contact rbml@columbia.edu for more information.

Alternate Form Available

Pearl S. Buck letter is on: microfilm.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Records: Source of acquisition--WNBA. Method of acquisition--Gift.

Gift of officers and members of the Association, 1974-1990.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Records Entered in AMC 12/05/1990.

This collection was processed by Alison Lotto, New York University and the Palmer School, Class of 2013. Finding aid written by Alison Lotto in August 2011.

Revision Description

2011-09-14 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz

2018-04-09 XML document instance updated by Catherine C. Ricciardi. Addition of Series VIII.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

2019-06-21 Finding Aid revised by Patrick Lawlor for Accessions 2018.2019.M155 & M156

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Audiocassettes Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Brochures Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bylaws (administrative records) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Financial records Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Newsletters Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Programs (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Questionnaires Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Reports Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Speeches (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Tables Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
minutes (administrative records) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID


Heading "CUL Archives:"
"CUL Collections:"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
Authors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Book industries and trade Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Booksellers and bookselling Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bowen, Catherine Drinker, 1897-1973 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Buck, Pearl S (Pearl Sydenstricker), 1892-1973 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bush, Barbara, 1925-2018 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chase, Mary Ellen, 1887-1973 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chute, Marchette, 1909-1994 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fast, Howard, 1914-2003 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Henry, Marguerite, 1902-1997 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Literature Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Publishers and publishing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Publishers and publishing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Ribicoff, Abraham, 1910-1998 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Scrapbooks Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Toklas, Alice B Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Van Doren, Irita Taylor, 1891-1966 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Warde, Beatrice, 1900-1969 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Weeks, Edward, 1898-1989 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Women authors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Women in literature Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

The Women's National Book Association (WNBA) was formed in 1917 as a group to promote reading and the role of women in the book industry. They currently have nine chapters across the country as well as a number of corresponding and supporting members. The WNBA has had a number of important members including Pearl S. Buck and Alice B. Toklas, and most of the members are active authors or editors.

The chapters of WNBA are based in Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. New York City was the first chapter, and remains the center of the national organization. Many of the chapters were founded by former members who moved to new places and organized local women involved in the book industry into the group. The organization continues to grow, the Seattle Chapter was founded in 2008 and Charlotte in 2009.

The WNBA gives several awards every year. The WNBA Award formerly the Constance Lindsay Skinner Award) is given to a woman who works in the book industry full time, and has done exceptional work in promoting books beyond the responsibilities of her job. The WNBA Eastman Grant gives money to library associations to support the training and professional development of librarians in states where there is a WNBA chapter. The WNBA Pannell Award is given to booksellers who work to promote interest in books among children and young adults.

The WNBA is also a Non-Governmental Organization member of the United Nations, and is active in working with the United Nations to promote literacy across the world. They are particularly involved in work with UNICEF and were active in the International Book Year and the International Year of the Child.