The Indiana Writers collection includes photographs, letters, documents and other materials that pertain to Indiana’s authors, poets and playwrights. It highlights writers from the Golden Age of Indiana Literature, as well as contemporary Hoosier writers. Authors in this collection illustrate Indiana’s rich literary history and include notables such as James Whitcomb Riley, Booth Tarkington, Meredith Nicholson, Florence Baker Holliday, Anna McKenzie and contemporary writers like Etheridge Knight Jr. Many were involved in their communities and promoted writers’ workshops, submitted writings for fundraisers – like Flower Mission’s yearly literary magazine – and were active in associations like the Western Association of Writers.
During the Golden Age of Literature, many Hoosier poets and authors joined the Western Association of Writers, created in June 1886. Most members were from Indiana, while others were from Illinois, Missouri and Ohio. The group included Ida Husted Harper, Amos Butler, Meredith Nicholson, James Whitcomb Riley, Maurice Thompson, William Cumback, Sarah T. Bolton, Booth Tarkington, Will Wood Pfrimmer and Lew Wallace. The association focused on developing writers to create their best literary works and to promote a culture of writers in the region. The Association held one meeting a year, often at Winona Lake near Warsaw, Indiana. The group is no longer active, but there are many contemporary writers’ groups that continue to cultivate a literary tradition in Indiana.
Photo: Western Association of Writers Group, Winona Lake, circa 1896 (Gift of Mrs. G.S. (Eleanor Hack) Marsh, IHS)