10 Authors Who Are Sorority Women (Hint – Caddie Woodlawn, Kinsey Millhone, Atticus Finch, Too)

In honor of Women’s History Month, here is a list of noted authors who are National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) women. Limiting it to 10 women is quite difficult, especially when there are 26 NPC groups (and I did not address the four NPHC groups; that is a post in itself). This list could include hundreds of women.

Carol Ryrie Brink (1895-1981), Gamma Phi Beta. Brink is the author of more than 30 books. Caddie Woodlawn won the 1936 Newbery Medal.

Jane Brody, Phi Sigma Sigma.  Brody, a New York Times “Personal Health” columnist, is the author of best sellers Jane Brody’s Nutrition Book and Jane Brody’s Good Food Book.

Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1879-1958), Kappa Kappa Gamma. She authored 22 novels and 18 books of non-fiction, including Understood Betsy. Published in 1916, it introduced a Montessori style of learning to an American audience. She also spearheaded Kappa Kappa Gamma’s war work in Bellevue-Meudon, France during World War I. It included a “free dispensary, doctor, visiting nurse and free meals for the sick and underfed children of this district. Many tons of clothing, shoes, toys, soap, and medicine were sent. Underclothes, dresses, suits, layettes, etc. were made by the chapters and alumnae associations for the children and women of Bellevue,” according to accounts which appeared in the “Exchanges” section of other NPC organizations’ magazines.

Liz Carpenter (1920-2010), Alpha Phi. She was the first woman executive assistant to a U.S. Vice President, when she served on Lyndon B. Johnson’s staff. In Dallas on that fateful November day in 1963, she wrote the seven sentence, 58-word statement which President Johnson spoke upon his return to Washington.  She then became Mrs. Johnson’s press secretary. In 1969, she wrote Ruffles and Flourishes about her experiences in the White House.  In 1980, Carpenter received Alpha Phi’s Frances E. Willard Award. 

Sue Grafton, Pi Beta Phi. Private investigator Kinsey Millhone, a resident of the fictional California city of Santa Teresa is at the center of her alphabet series.  “A” is for Alibi was the first book to be published; “W” is for Wasted is the latest installment. Grafton was awarded the British Crime Writers’ Association’s Cartier Dagger and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Judith Guest, Sigma Kappa. Her first novel, Ordinary People, was made into a movie. The film won the 1980 Academy Award for Best Picture.

Nelle Harper Lee, Chi Omega. In 1961, To Kill A Mockingbird won a Pulitzer Prize. In 2007, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature.  

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1896-1953), Kappa Alpha Theta.  Her best known work, The Yearling, won the 1939 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. 

Joyce Carol Oates, Phi Mu. Since 1963, Oates, a Syracuse University alumna, has published more than 40 novels.  

Gail Sheehy, Alpha Chi Omega. An author and journalist who was part of the New Journalism movement, her 1976 book Passages: Predictable Crises of Adult Lives was named one of the 10 most-influential books of our time in a Library of Congress survey. Sheehy also wrote “The Secret of Grey Gardens” for the January 10, 1972  issue of New York magazine. The cover story was later the basis for one of my favorite Broadway musicals, Grey Gardens

Please note that Pearl Buck, Kappa Delta, was included in last week’s post. I also compiled a list of  authors who have written stories about sorority women. In that post, I mentioned the historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Delta Delta Delta. See http://wp.me/p20I1i-1tc for a few more authors who happen to be sorority women.


On International Women’s Day, I posted a group of notable NPC women with international ties. For more information about these women see http://wp.me/p20I1i-1viAstute readers will note that I can not count. There are 11 women in this group.

Mildred “Micky” Tuttle Axton (1919-2010), Alpha Delta Pi.

Margaret Bourke-White (1904-71), Alpha Omicron Pi.

Louise Bryant (1885-1936), Chi Omega.

Pearl Buck (1892-1973), Kappa Delta.

Lillian Copeland (1904-64), Alpha Epsilon Phi.

Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976), Pi Beta Phi.

N. Jan Davis, Ph.D., Alpha Xi Delta.

Dian Fossey, Ph.D. (1932-85), Kappa Alpha Theta.

Anna McCune Harper (1902-99), Sigma Kappa.

Jessie Wilson Sayre (1887-1933), Gamma Phi Beta.

Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch (1867-1951), Kappa Kappa Gamma.


Here is my first post about ten women whose membership in a National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) organization surprises many people. The women included in that post are:

Mary Ritter Beard (1876-1958), Kappa Alpha Theta.

Carrie Lane Chapman Catt (1859-1947), Pi Beta Phi.

Laurel Salton Clark, M.D. (1961-2003), Gamma Phi Beta.

Ada Comstock Notestein (1876-1973), Delta Gamma.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alpha Epsilon Phi.

Betsey Johnson, Alpha Xi Delta.

Alice Duer Miller (1874-1942), Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Condoleezza Rice, Ph.D., Alpha Chi Omega.

Pat Summitt, Chi Omega.

Frances Willard (1839-98), Alpha Phi (Honorary).

 Visit the post at  http://wp.me/p20I1i-1sy for more information about these women.

Please visit my Pinterest page with information on more than 225 sorority/fraternity women http://www.pinterest.com/glohistory/notable-sorority-women/

Please visit my GLOHistory Pinterest page with information on more than 225 NPC and NPHC women http://www.pinterest.com/glohistory/notable-sorority-women/

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. All Rights Reserved.

This entry was posted in Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Fran Favorite, Gamma Phi Beta, GLO, Greek-letter Organization, Greek-letter Organization History, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, National Panhellenic Conference, Notable Fraternity Women, Notable Sorority Women, Phi Mu, Phi Sigma Sigma, Pi Beta Phi, Sigma Kappa, Syracuse University and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.