PCL MS 142 Romance Writers of America Archives
|Title||PCL MS 142 Romance Writers of America Archives|
|Introduction||This collection was donated to the Browne Popular Culture Library in 1995 by the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Several additions have been made to the collection since, the latest coming in 2008. The collection contains RWA's organizational archives, including historical information relating to the founding of the organization, Board of Directors information, correspondence, Annual Conference planning records, and multimedia materials. The collection is open for research, but any reproduction of materials must comply with applicable copyright laws. The finding aid was completed by Manuscripts & Outreach Archivist Steve Ammidown in September, 2016.|
The Romance Writers of America (RWA) was founded in 1980 by a small group of writers to raise and maintain a national level of high quality romance writing in all genres; to strive to stimulate interest as well as an appreciation for the art of writing and to act as a central dissemination point for information concerning activities in the field of romance writing. The organization would also provide needed support and affiliation for published and unpublished romance writers everywhere. This group of authors felt the need to establish such a group since writers' conferences ignored the unique needs of romance authors and the publishing industry did not even consider romance writing to be a true literary genre.
Vivian Stephens, the founder of RWA, was an associate editor of Dell Candlelight Romances in 1979. She presented a workshop at the Southwestern Writers' Conference at the University of Houston on writing formula novels which eventually resulted in the formation of the organization. Her presentation sparked many of the attending writers to contact her about writing romance novels. Five women, Rita Clay Estrada, Parris Mton Bonds, Peggy Cleaves, Rita Gallagher and Sondra Stanford, who were all published authors, asked Vivian to help them form a romance writers' group. It was through their contact with Vivian Stephens and her editor-in-chief at Dell, that the first meeting of RWA was held in Houston, Texas on December 15, 1980. At this meeting, Rita Clay Estrada was elected RWA's first president. The first annual national conference of RWA was held the following year, 1981, also in Houston, Texas.
Today, RWA is the world's largest non-profit genre organization specializing in romance fiction. It has a membership of more than 9,000 members worldwide and more than 140 chapters in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Members include writers, editors, agents and other industry professionals. RWA is also a staunch supporter of literacy having raised nearly $410,000 for national and local literacy programs in the U.S. and Canada.
|Scope and Content||This collection contains approximately 22 linear feet of the historical documents of the Romance Writers of America, the first national organization dedicated to representing the interests of writers of romance fiction. This collection documents the actions of the organization's Board of Directors as well as the day-to-day activities of its officers and staff. |
Researchers interested in the growth of romance fiction in the United States since 1980 will find this collection of great use. There is also a significant amount of material about topics such as romance fiction sales, the planning and execution of the organization's annual conference, the selection of annual award winners, and a considerable collection of press clippings relating to the genre.
Board of Directors Materials
Includes materials relating to the formation and regulation of the organization as well as the Board of Directors. Copies of the Articles of Incorporations and its amendments may be found here. Also present are the original and revised Bylaws, including discussion and correspondence relating to amending the document. Meeting minutes of the Board of Directors may be found here, along with the organization’s original and revised Policy & Procedure Manuals.
Documents the founding and yearly accomplishments of the Romance Writers of America. Includes the files of the Historian Committee, founded in 1986 to document the founding and dearly days of the organization. Also present are annual files documenting the officers and accomplishments of each year. Files representing each year’s officer elections may also be found in this series.
Includes incoming and outgoing correspondence sent to the organization, separated by year.
Officer & Staff Files
Documents the day-to-day activity of the organization’s officers and staff, as well as committees. Includes, correspondence, memoranda, and other documents that illustrate the operation of organization’s conferences, publications, and other activities.
Includes documentation relating to the numerous awards given by the organization, primarily at its annual conferences. Includes a complete history of the Golden Heart and Golden Medallion (later called the RITA Award), as well as industry awards. Documents relating to nomination and judging of each award may be included in the file.
Files relating to the planning and execution of the organization’s annual conferences may be found here. Includes attendee programs for most years, as well as hotel information, author and presenter biographies, and press materials. Copies of the workshop handouts are available for several years (2004-2007), in either paper or electronic form.
Contains files produced by or for the treasurer of the organization addressing its financial health. Includes annual balance sheets, Treasurer’s reports, and annual audited financial statements for most years.
Contains information gathered from each chapter relating to the organization’s umbrella 501(c)(6) group tax exemption across multiple years. Includes a balance sheet for the chapter in question as well as copies of its organizational and governing documents.
Contains articles and clippings from local and national publications relating to romance fiction, the romance publishing industry, and romance writers.
Requires further inspection. This portion of the collection consists of Betacam and VHS tapes purporting to be recordings of annual awards ceremonies at various national conventions. The BPCL currently lacks the equipment to examine the tapes further.
Requires further inspection. This series contains a collection of audio cassettes labeled as recordings of various interviews and annual conference sessions. The BPCL currently lacks the equipment to examine the tapes further.
Requires further inspection. This series contains a collection of 3 ½” and 5 ¼” computer disks, some of which are labeled with file names and/or are accompanied by file tree printouts. The BPCL currently lacks the equipment to examine the disks further.
Contains a small collection of promotional items distributed at RWA’s Annual Convention, including t-shirts, a tote bag, and coffee mug.
|Transfers||A nearly complete run of the Romance Writers Report, the official publication of the Romance Writers of America, can be found in our catalog.|
A collection of 98 audio cassettes containing interviews with writers of romance fiction were separated and can be found in the Browne Popular Culture Library catalog. These are stored off-site and take 1-2 business days to retrieve.