Helen Miller Malloch 20th president of IWPA
for a national organization of professional newspaperwomen and writers in 1935, similar to the vision Marion MacBride from the Boston Post had in 1884, as the World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial took place in New Orleans, La.
Although the national organization did not materialize that year, two local groups were formed. Marion started the New England Woman’s Press Association and Mrs. Frances A. Conant, a Chicago press correspondent, the Illinois Woman’s Press Association.
In 1935, with Helen Malloch as its president, IWPA was interested in getting copyright legislation through Congress. She saw it as one of many advantages that unification could offer its membership.
The IWPA members enthusiastically endorsed the federation idea at its members meeting on March 20, 1936.
President Malloch appointed members to work on the IWPA Committee for Federating Press Women with Martha Dunlap as Chairwoman. Of those original committee members, Helen, Martha and Agnes Harkness Anderson remained to develop promotional material. Helen, Martha and Minnie Starr Goodwin wrote the first NFPW constitution with Martha suggesting it be a federation of autonomous state groups. It would be “an organization of professional women writers.” Professional was interpreted as active participation in journalistic or literary service for remuneration.
By September of that year, Malloch reported widespread interest of expansion. An invitation was extended to Malloch by the Press Club of Ohio to address them at their annual breakfast on Oct. 4. Encouraging responses were being received from groups including the New England Woman’s Press Association, the Texas Woman’s Press Association, the Kansas Woman’s Press Association and the Indiana Women’s Press Association.
A tentative constitution was submitted for those groups to act upon at their annual fall meetings. The Ohio group was the first to officially endorse the project on Oct. 5, 1936, followed by word from Oregon and Indiana on Oct. 13. Shortly after, all of these press clubs appointed committees to work on promotion of the federation.
The first official meeting began at 10 a.m. on May 6, 1937, at the Chicago Woman’s Club, 72 E. 11th St. Luncheon was served at 1:30, an afternoon session from 2 to 4:30 was followed by a tour through the Tribune “plant.” Six states were represented.
As a result of the initiative taken by Malloch, NFPW was organized, a constitution and by-laws adopted and officers elected.