Libraries & Centers: Special Collections and University Archives: Manuscripts:

Finding Aid : Container List : Sisters in Crime. Records, 1979-2004 (bulk 1988-1998)

Manuscript Collection 1105
Special Collections and University Archives
Rutgers University Libraries

QUANTITY: 9 cubic feet (6 cartons, 7 manuscript boxes, 1 phase box and 1 map folder)
PROCESSED BY: Carmen Godwin; updated by Alexandra Rimer.


CONTENTS


HISTORICAL SKETCH

The organization Sisters in Crime (SinC) consists of "authors, booksellers, editors, agents, librarians, critics, teachers and readers, whose primary purpose is advocacy through communication." According to the organization's by-laws, the purpose of Sisters in Crime is "to combat discrimination against women in the mystery field, educate publishers and the general public as to inequities in the treatment of female authors, raise awareness of their contribution to the field, and promote the professional advancement of women who write mysteries."Although members agree that "much has improved since the early days of the organization," they still feel it is vital to continue their efforts. By 1999, the organization had "a membership of well over 3,000 worldwide," both female and male, and consisted of "50 chapters in the U.S., Canada, and in Hamburg, Germany."

Background

In January of 1986, Phillis Whitney, a past president of Mystery Writers of America (MWA), wrote a letter to the MWA regarding sexual discrimination in the awarding of the MWA Edgars, annual awards given to mystery writers in various categories in the name of Edgar Allan Poe. Between 1945, when the MWA began, and 1986, when Phillis Whitney wrote her letter, only seven women were awarded best novel Edgar in the 41 years of the MWA's existence, and no American woman had won since Charlotte Armstrong in 1956. Whitney sent copies of her letter to nearly 100 members of the MWA organization, and in March of 1986, the MWA formed a committee to look into discrimination in the awarding of the Edgar. By October, the MWA board members submitted their report, which was divided over the report's statement that "there has been, in the past, bias in the Edgars Awards toward the traditional, male-oriented, 'hard-boiled' mystery." They even attached a dissension letter to the report from one of the committee members, Barbara Mertz.

Whitney's letter and the following actions and structure changes to the MWA's awarding of the Edgars became the catalyst to Sara Paretsky's organization of an impromptu breakfast meeting in Baltimore at the October 1986 Bouchercon. This event is an annual convention of mystery fans, authors, booksellers, publishers, editors and agents working in the mystery field at which Anthony awards are given, annual awards presented to mystery writers in various categories to honor the memory of William Anthony Parker White. Paretsky's meeting brought women writers, readers, buyers and sellers of mysteries together to discuss common concerns for women in the field of mystery writing and from this meeting sprung the beginnings of the organization that was later named Sisters in Crime. By November of that same year, Sara Paretsky began to build the formal organization and to solicit members.

Formal Organization and Initial Projects

By May of 1987, it was official; the organization would be called Sisters in Crime (SinC). The organization's first steering committee was elected in May and it consisted of writers Charlotte MacLeod, Dorthy Salisbury Davis, Sara Paretsky, Nancy Pickard and Susan Dunlap, bookseller Kate Mattes, and mystery enthusiast Betty Francis. The by-laws of the organization outline the responsibilities of each officer and committee member, which in the beginning included the president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, and three members at large.

At the same time that SinC was forming, however, Marilyn Wallace was in the process of editing and publishing the first book of five in an anthology called Sisters in Crime, an independent project from the Sisters in Crime organization. Because it was not clear which came first, the name of the organization or the anthology, the Sisters in Crime steering committee granted Marilyn Wallace permission to use the name. Although some Sisters in Crime members were included, authors who participated in the anthology did not have to be members of the SinC organization. So, Sisters in Crime stipulated that the anthology had to include a statement that it was not connected to the Sisters in Crime organization and the SinC logo could not be used.

By 1988, the Steering Committee began to meet formally twice a year, the Fall meeting always coinciding with the event of Bouchercon. During October of 1988, the first By-Laws Committee meeting took place and the members began to develop a working purpose and guidelines for the organization. By May of 1989, the Sisters in Crime by-laws were approved by a mail-in vote and a show of hands at the semi-annual business meeting during Edgar Week in New York. These by-laws would serve as the foundation of the Sisters in Crime organization. The next step was for the organization to become "official," and in April 1990, the state of New Jersey incorporated Sisters in Crime, Inc., as a not-for-profit corporation.

During 1988, as the organization began to develop, members initiated projects meant to further the cause of women writers in the detective and mystery genres. For instance, the Book Review Project was started as a way to judge the bias of book reviewers working for various periodicals. Members volunteered to monitor specific papers for book reviews in the genre in order to statistically point out bias to periodical owners. In an effort to correct this problem, volunteers counted reviews of books written by men and women and then Sisters in Crime would inform newspaper editors of their findings.

The Publications Program

Projects were also developed in order to keep Sisters in Crime members informed. In September of 1988, the organization began to publish the Sisters In Crime Newsletter. Member Kate Mattes served as the first newsletter editor/publisher, attempting to publish the newsletter twice a year in the beginning. By 1993, as the newsletter evolved with the organization, it became a national newsletter that was published four times a year. In addition to the newsletter, the organization began publication of the first Membership Directory in 1989, as a means to improve contact within the network of Sisters in Crime's current members.

In addition to keeping members informed about the organization itself, SinC became involved in creating directional and promotional publications for its members. For example, when a female bookseller informed the organization that Mysterious Bookshop's Christmas Catalog, which was distributed to mystery bookshops around the country, contained only a few female authors, Susan Dunlap compiled an informational pamphlet entitled What do Women Really Write?. This publication would serve as the first version of Sisters in Crime's Books-In-Print and Dunlap distributed the pamphlet to 185 bookstores in order to demonstrate the strength, vitality and variety of mysteries written by women. In October of 1989, the organization published the first edition of Shameless Promotion for Brazen Hussies, a tool for writers seeking better publicity and recognition of their work. The contributing editor of this publication was Linda Grant, who would later serve the organization as publicity chair, vice-president and president.

Malice Domestic and the Agatha Award

With controversy still surrounding bias in the MWA Edgars, the first Malice Domestic convention was held in April of 1989, an annual convention in metro D.C. that salutes books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie. This new convention would provide authors with the opportunity to win the Agatha Award for "mysteries of manners." Instead of the traditional hard-boiled detective type mysteries, the "mysteries of manners" are loosely defined as "works without explicit sex or excessive violence" that "feature an amateur detective, confined setting and characters who know each other." Sisters in Crime held its annual Spring meeting at this first annual Malice Domestic conference, a joint meeting tradition that they would attempt to uphold. In addition, Sisters in Crime member Carolyn Hart, who would later serve the organization as publicity chair, vice president and president, was presented with the very first Agatha.

Publicity Activities and Programs, 1990-1991

In 1990, the organization increased efforts of self promotion, first by creating a pamphlet, entitled An Introduction to Sisters in Crime, which described the goals of the organization and how to become a member. Then in 1991, Sisters in Crime supported a booth at the American Library Association convention for the first time. Also, the Sisters in Crime map, "Solving Mysteries Coast to Coast," was created for distribution to bookstores, both as a promotional device and for individual collectors. This map carried the character representations from books by 44 Sisters in Crime authors and would bring recognition to the organization as well as to individual SinC authors. Also in 1991, Ed Gorman offered Sisters in Crime a column in the national Mystery Scene Magazine, a project welcomed by SinC and undertaken by member Eve Sandstrom, who would later serve the organization as newsletter editor. In addition, the National Women's History Project began to collect publicity clips and other information about Sisters in Crime authors and their protagonists for archival purposes, a venture in which 118 authors participated.

In addition to programs that would promote the organization, Sisters in Crime initiated projects that would assist in bringing recognition to SinC authors. In 1991, the Sisters in Crime Speakers Bureau was formed, which would be a way to unite authors with organizations needing speakers, such as libraries and bookstores, for seminars and to conduct interviews. Sisters in Crime also made the decision to support the American Crime Writers League's comprehensive royalty statement, which would legally "give writers a clear statement of the status of their books."

An Executive Secretary

In order to better administer Sisters in Crime, with its rotation of officers, the position of Executive Secretary was incorporated into the organization in May of 1992. Beth Wasson was appointed to process dues, handle bank accounts, put out mailings, maintain the membership database and handle general correspondence. The organization's officers felt very strongly about having a specified person to handle given tasks or inquiries. Since the officers were spread about the country, a single location for specific office duties helped to better organize SinC.

Publicity Activities and Programs, 1992-1993

Publicity efforts continued as Sisters in Crime secured a booth at the American Booksellers Association convention for the first time in 1992. In addition, a Sisters in Crime National Press Kit was developed by SinC's publicity chair, Elaine Raco Chase, who would later serve the organization as vice-president and president. The organization also began to publish an informational booklet for authors entitled, So You're Going to do an Author Signing, which was compiled by SinC's secretary, Barbara D'Amato, who would later serve the organization as vice-president and president. In 1993, the organization began a clipping service that enlisted members to clip book reviews for other SinC authors. In addition, Jan Burke compiled a publication entitled Breaking and Entering: A Guide to Finding an Agent, Selling a Manuscript and Other Mysteries of Publishing. In regards to publicity, Mae Woods began work on a Sisters in Crime TV series in 1993 and the first Sisters in Crime television program, V.I. Warshawsky, actually scripted in 1994, aired in the fall of 1995. The organization also began the Radio Tape Project in 1993, which would broadcast 30-minute pre-taped programs featuring Sisters in Crime mystery writers.

Outreach Initiatives and Local Chapter Formation

In 1992, Sisters in Crime began to explore ways to expand its membership through outreach programs. The Women of Color outreach group searched for ways to encourage minority women in the mystery business, to inform them about Sisters in Crime and to invite them to join the organization. In 1993, Nicole St. John launched the formation of a special interest group within SinC for young adult mystery writers called the Sisters in Crime Writing for Youth Network, which by 1994 sent out its first group press kit to over 200 bookstores. Also in 1993, Carolyn Wheat began to coordinate the Outreach to Lesbian Mystery Writers program.

Groundwork was also laid in 1993 for an outreach program to Internet users. The Sisters in Crime Internet Chapter was originally founded on Genie, an Internet computing service providing "real time conferencing," or interfaces that allowed for immediate responses to inquiries, and electronic bulletin boards. It was created in order to provide a convenient meeting ground for members outside of local chapter areas. In addition to the Internet Chapter, a Sisters in Crime section was opened on Time Warner and Mysterious Press's on-line Authors Forum in 1994, at the request of the two organizations. The same year, Rhonda Keith opened and oversaw the first Sisters in Crime folder on America On-Line. By this time, at least sixteen local chapters were already in formation under the umbrella of the national organization. Although the national organization agreed to the formation of chapters for local support for members, each chapter had to be a member of the national and abide by its by-laws. Voting members and officers must be members of the national SinC and each chapter must write its own set of by-laws and include the chapter name when using the national SinC logo. In the beginning the issue of chapters was a fragile one as the organization did not want to isolate members outside of chapter areas by having too much information passed through the local level or selecting chapter members only to be national officers. The focus was to have smaller chapters, local reports in the national newsletter and to make sure communications from national got to all members.

Organizational "Rewards"

In 1994, the organization presented Elaine Raco Chase with the first and only "Athena Reward" in recognition of her work in publicity for Sisters in Crime. The decision to call it a reward instead of an award was important to the organization because it did not want to be viewed as favoring certain members, and their work, over others. This reward came in the form of a magician's hat and was presented to her at the Sisters in Crime breakfast during Malice Domestic VI. Other rewards prior to the Athena included the first and only "Good Old Girl Reward" presented to Marilyn Wallace during the 1992 Bouchercon in acknowledgment of her writing, teaching, editing and support for other writers.

Publicity Activities and Programs, 1994-1995

Publicity continued to suffuse the organization's efforts. In May of 1994, member Kate Mattes buried a time capsule of Sisters in Crime materials in a tomb in front of her Mystery Books store in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sisters in Crime was also added to the 24-hour Talking Book Directory in 1994, which provided talking books by telephone. Exhibiting the growth and strength of the organization, Sisters in Crime sponsored the organization's first Writers Retreat and Conference in Houston in August of 1995, called Murder My Sweet. The same year, member Jan Burke organized the publication of the Sisters in Crime Tour Directory, Hit and Run: Mystery Authors on Tour, a booklet intended to assist authors who are traveling on tours in contacting libraries, bookstores and groups who are looking for mystery writers as speakers and for book signing events.

Special Interest Groups

Special interest groups also continued to emerge and reform themselves within the organization. In 1994, the True Crime Writers Network was organized by E.W. Count, later appointed chair of the group, in order to bring together members of this genre. Sisters in Crime's Mysteries for Minors group began its own clipping service and speakers bureau in 1995. By 1996, the first juvenile and young adult book list was published called Kids Love Mysteries, later changed to Mysteries for Minors. Because of the emergence and strength of each individual special interest group by 1995, member Kate Daniel was named liaison between the national organization and the various SIGs (special interest groups) within Sisters in Crime. In 1996, Outreach to Women of Color changed its name to Outreach to Authors of Color. And in 1997, Barbara Lakey initiated the Guppy Group for "pre-published" (i.e., unpublished) writers of full-length mystery novels as the newest special interest group of Sisters in Crime.

Administrative Changes

Minor changes to the organization continued as Sisters in Crime grew. For instance, in June of 1994, the Internal Revenue Service denied the organization tax exempt status and its appeal was also denied in 1995. In October of 1994, a motion was passed to increase the size of the Sisters in Crime steering committee from seven members to nine, expanding the number of members-at-large from three to five. In 1995, another change in the by-laws was agreed upon when members voted to make the office of treasurer appointive. They did this in order to retain Mary Lou Wright as treasurer because her five year limit as part of the steering committee had expired. This steering committee felt this decision was imperative for the stability of the organization. In April of 1995, a trademark protection motion was passed, a process that protects the name and logo of Sisters in Crime from being printed in any design or typeface without the authorization of Sisters in Crime.

In addition to these changes, the immense growth of Sisters in Crime led to a decision concerning regional representation in 1996. The organization was divided into three regions, Western, Central and Eastern, by number of members in each region. Then a representative was selected from each region to work with the chapter liaison on the national board. In addition, a Concern Committee was created in 1997 by the national board in order to improve the lines of communication between the national steering committee and the chapters and members of the organization. The organization also began to consider the idea of giving its records to an archives, and in 1997, SinC chose to donate the records to Douglass College of Rutgers University, in recognition of it being the largest women's university and of its "women in the arts" initiatives.

Publicity Activities and Programs, 1996-1997

Publicity efforts continued throughout 1996 and 1997. In 1996, BuffCon, the Buffalo (N.Y.) Mystery Convention, hosted Sisters in Crime as its special guests. Then the Sisters in Crime "Solving Mysteries Coast to Coast" map became a part of the Library of Congress's annotated bibliography of literary maps. In addition, the new World Wide Web site opened in 1996, and was attached to Bookstacks, so that people could order books directly from the SinC Books-in-Print Catalog. Furthering this effort, the paper copy of Books-in-Print was distributed to 9,000 bookstores and 1,500 libraries in June of 1996. In April of 1997, Sisters in Crime was invited to join other author groups as part of the Authors Coalition, which helps authors to reclaim non-title specific royalties from photocopies made abroad.

Ongoing Programs

Sisters in Crime is still engaged in ongoing projects that help women to gain recognition within the detective and mystery genres. This effort includes the Books-In-Print catalog, which lists members' works and is distributed twice a year to more than 10,000 wholesalers, distributors, libraries, bookstore chains, mystery bookstores, and other independent bookstores. The catalog also has a pull-out insert that lists SinC authors who write young adult and juvenile mysteries. The organization continues to produce publications, such as Breaking and Entering, Shameless Promotions for Brazen Hussies and So You're Going to do an Author Signing. It also continues to support several special interest groups, such as those for authors of color, writers of true crime, writers of young adult and juvenile mysteries, and pre-published writers. The organization maintains booths at the American Library Association National Convention, as well as at regional conventions, and regional American Booksellers Association Trade Shows. Sisters in Crime also sponsors group ads in Publishers Weekly, as part of the magazine's twice a year survey of the mystery genre. In addition, the SinC Internet Chapter proceeds to grow and produce on-line visibility for the organization and its members. The national newsletter continues to be published four times a year and "covers upcoming events, news about members and the publishing world, [with] columns and articles of interest to writers, fans, and members in the book trade."


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SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

This collection contains the records of Sisters in Crime (1988-present), an organization dedicated to combating discrimination and bringing recognition to woman writers in the detective and mystery genre. Most of the material in the records is in paper format. The collection also contains audiovisual materials, in the form of photographs and VHS videocassettes, and several items of memorabilia. The collection is approximately nine cubic feet in size and is composed of six records center cartons, seven manuscript boxes, one phase box and a map folder. It spans the period 1979 to 2004, with the bulk of the records dating from 1988-1998.

The collection is organized into several subgroups. One subgroup is the General Records, which includes the series BY-LAWS, MINUTES, ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORTS, PUBLICATIONS, PUBLICITY AND PRESS COVERAGE, PHOTOGRAPHS, VIDEOTAPE RECORDINGS and MEMORABILIA. In addition, a separate subgroup is included for each officer whose records are in the collection. The officers thus represented are Sara Paretsky (one item only), Annette Meyers, Elaine Raco Chase, Barbara D'Amato, Linda Grant, P.M. Carlson, Margaret Maron and Eve Sandstrom, each of whom, as vice-president and as president, kept files that document the activities of the organization during her term of office.

Because each vice-president progressed into the presidency the following year, and most presidents were highly involved in other offices or activities within the organization, their records often overlap and interrelate on a wide array of subject matter. The variety of issues represented within each officer's files include but are not limited to SinC projects, local chapters, finances, publicity, nonprofit status, special interest groups, SinC publications, steering committee issues, SinC by-laws, major conventions and conferences, board meetings, membership, trademark protection, the Internet chapter, the Sisters in Crime writers retreat, the nominating committee and liability insurance, as well as general and specific correspondence. Some of the records also contain SinC-related documents that precede or postdate the years in which a person served as an officer of the organization.

The records of Sisters in Crime provide insight foremost into the formation, organization and upkeep of a successful, supportive advocacy and self-promotional group for women authors at the national and regional levels. They also depict the efforts taken by a group of women authors writing within a specific genre to document and counteract gender-based discrimination, still extant in the 1980s. In more general terms, the records provide insight into various aspects of publishing detective, crime or mystery fiction from the author's perspective.

Processing Note

The collection contained some newspaper clippings and facsimiles that have been photocopied onto acid-free paper due to their brittle condition. Also for preservation purposes, three folders of photographs, primarily depicting past presidents, have been removed as noted from their respective series and filed together. In addition, the BY-LAWS, MINUTES, ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORTS and PUBLICATIONS were originally found scattered throughout the officers' files, but were brought together as separate series for the researcher's convenience, as these materials are most often found together in an organization's records.

In 2004, additional material was added to the collection. It was processed in a manner consistent with the original accession and filed in boxes ten through fourteen (and in a map folder). The PUBLICITY AND PRESS COVERAGE series was created at this time.

Related Materials

The Newberry Library in Chicago holds the papers of Sara Paretsky. These papers include materials relating to Paretsky's role as founder and first president of Sisters in Crime.


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SERIES DESCRIPTIONS


LIST OF SERIES



General Records


BY-LAWS, 1989-2003. (1 folder in box 1 and 1 folder in box 10)

Arranged chronologically.

Original proposal of Sisters in Crime's by-laws, adopted in 1989 and upheld by members of the organization, and five later revisions of those by-laws. These by-laws constitute the underlying operations of the group by providing basic rules for Sisters in Crime members and officers. They include standards regarding the name, seal and purpose of the organization, membership, general management, the steering committee, officers, committees, meetings, local chapters, elections, nominations, notices, dues, discipline, amendments to the by-laws, indemnification, dissolution and rules of procedure and parliamentary authority. The by-laws state the purpose of the organization and provide information regarding different types of memberships available within Sisters in Crime. They also lay out how the steering committee is nominated and elected and describe the role of each official position. In addition, they provide rules for the local chapters to follow within the guidelines of the national organization. The minor changes within each new set of by-laws reflect the changing needs within the structure of the organization.

Go to: Series List


MINUTES, 1991-1997. (2 folders in box 1)

Arranged chronologically.

Documentation of steering committee meetings and business meetings as recorded by the secretary. These meeting records pertain to all proposals discussed and voted upon during the business meetings, at which all members were invited to attend, and the steering committee meetings, at which only the organization's officers met. These records provide insight into the types of issues and proposals brought before each body, how they were resolved and which members were most active in the operations of the organization during particular years. To clarify, Sisters in Crime holds business meetings, also referred to as membership meetings, twice a year, once in the Spring in New York, in conjunction with the Mystery Writers of America convention, and the again in the Fall, in conjunction with the Bouchercon convention. During the Fall meeting, the annual election of steering committee officers takes place. The steering committee also meets twice a year and, according to the by-laws, is to meet within seven calendar days prior to the membership meetings. During the spring steering committee meeting the nominating committee is appointed to select candidates for the fall elections. The majority of meeting minutes between 1991 and 1997 are accounted for in these records.

Go to: Series List


ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORTS, 1991-1996. (1 folder in box 1)

Arranged chronologically.

Documentation of Sisters in Crime income and expenses. The reports (of which 1991, 1992 and 1994 are complemented with charts) show that membership dues provided the majority of the organization's funds during the years 1991-1996, and also provide insight into what projects served as alternative sources of income for the organization. The reports also demonstrate which projects Sisters in Crime devoted the most funds to and show researchers how and where the organization gained or lost money in particular years.

Go to: Series List


PUBLICATIONS, 1988-2004. (.55 cubic feet in box 1 and .65 cubic feet in boxes 10 and 11; oversize in map folder)

Arranged alphabetically by publication title and thereunder chronologically.

Internal and external publications of the organization Sisters in Crime. These publications pertain to a variety of subjects, including a) promoting Sisters in Crime; b) promoting members' books; c) assisting members in their own publishing and promotional efforts; d) creating a record of Sisters in Crime members for the organization and other members; and e) providing members with a newsletter of pertinent information regarding the organization and the field. The records consist of pamphlets, flyers, newsletters, letters and larger publications.

Of particular interest is the Sisters in Crime Newsletter, which dates from 1988-2004, and provides a wealth of information about the activities of the organization. Published four times a year by 1993, the newsletter usually includes a letter or article from the president regarding the state of the organization, news from special interest groups and local chapters, and information on new projects and updates on the progress of ongoing ones. It also provides members with information regarding upcoming conferences and new publicity ideas and contacts. In addition, the publications Breaking and Entering, So You're Going to do an Author Signing, and Shameless Promotion for Brazen Hussies, demonstrate how particular Sisters in Crime authors attacked the hardships of their field by providing these collections of helpful hints and suggestions for new authors regarding publishing and publicity.

Also included in this series under Miscellaneous are printed materials in the form of general welcome letters from presidents distributed to new members, membership and welcome information, and announcements of members who have been nominated for awards.

Go to: Series List | Container List (at Box 1) | Container List (at Box 10)


PUBLICITY AND PRESS COVERAGE, 1976-2003. (.4 cubic feet beginning in box 11; oversize in map folder)

Organized into three sub-series, Authors, Mysteries and Mystery Writing and Sisters in Crime; arranged thereunder alphabetically by folder heading.

Articles, advertisements and reviews pertaining to Sisters in Crime, its members or topics of interest to the organization, such as bookstores specializing in the mystery genre or mystery conventions. The bulk of the series consists of clippings and articles from newspapers and magazines. It also includes newsletters, book covers, a convention program for Malice Domestic XIII, publicity postcards and a poster.

Of particular interest is the cover and four-page advertisement in Publishers Weekly that Sisters in Crime purchased to celebrate its fifteenth anniversary in 2002.

Go to: Series List | Container List (at Box 11)


PHOTOGRAPHS, 1989-1998. (3 folders in box 1)

Arranged alphabetically by subject headings and thereunder chronologically.

Photographic documentation of the Sisters in Crime organization. Included are photographs of various members, with a focus on past presidents, as well as pictures of publicity displays.

Of particular interest is the Sisters in Crime Presidents folder, which contains a document created by Margaret Maron that comprises the pictures of Sisters in Crime's first seven presidents and a photograph of eight former presidents attending the 1996 Bouchercon. It should be noted that several of the promotional photographs of members were collected for an exhibit at Douglass College and added to the collection afterwards. These photographs are included in the Sisters in Crime Members folder.

Go to: Series List | Container List (at Box 1)


VIDEOTAPE RECORDINGS, 1995-2001. (.35 cubic feet beginning in box 1 and .16 cubic feet in box 13)

Arranged alphabetically by movie title.

Primarily made-for-television movies based on novels by selected members of Sisters in Crime. The recordings are in VHS format and include commercials. The films represented are: a) When Danger Follows You Home, a USA Channel original (1998), rated PG-13, based on a story by Sisters in Crime member Sara Paretsky, starring JoBeth Williams and directed by David Peckinpah; b) Dead Man's Island, a CBS movie (1996) based on a story by Sisters in Crime member Carolyn G. Hart, starring Barbara Eden and William Shatner and directed by Peter Hunt; c) The Cold Heart of a Killer, a CBS movie (1995) based on the novel Murder on the Iditarod Trail by Sisters in Crime member Sue Henry, starring Kate Jackson and directed by Paul Schneider; d) Let Me Call You Sweetheart, a Family Channel movie (1997) based on a novel by Sisters in Crime member Mary Higgins Clark, staring Meredith Baxter and directed by Bill Corcoran; e) Malice in Maggody, a CBS special based on a novel by Sisters in Crime member Joan Hess, starring Kate Jackson and directed by Arlene Sanford; f) The Corpse Had a Family Face, a CBS special based on the autobiography of Sisters in Crime member Edna Buchanan and directed by Joyce Chopra; g) While My Pretty One Sleeps, a USA movie (1997), based on a novel by Sisters in Crime member Mary Higgens Clark, starring Connie Sellecca and directed by Jorge Montesi; h) Moonlight Becomes You, a Family Channel movie (1998), based on a novel by Sisters in Crime member Mary Higgins Clark, staring Donna Mills and directed by Bill Corcoran; and i) Silent Scream, based on the novel Guests of the Emperor by Sisters in Crime member Janice Young Brooks, starring Gena Rowlands and Annabeth Gish and directed by Anthony Page. Also included are two copies of Annette and Marty Meyers' appearance on CBS Sunday Morning in 2001.

Go to: Series List | Container List (at Box 1) | Container List (at Box 12)


MEMORABILIA, 1991-1998. (1 cubic foot in box 9; remainder in map folder)

Unarranged.

Several pieces of Sisters in Crime memorabilia. Present are Sisters in Crime map posters ("Solving Mysteries Coast to Coast"), broadsides for the 1995 Sisters in Crime writers retreat called Murder My Sweet, SinC stick pins from the retreat, the Athena Reward in the form of a magician's hat, and programs and an autographed poster from the SinC gift dedication at Douglass College, Rutgers University.

Go to: Series List | Container List (at Box 9)


Sara Paretsky Records

PRESIDENTIAL FILES, 1984. (1 folder in box 12)

A single folder containing results of The Armchair Detective's reader survey.

Go to: Series List


Margaret Maron Records [Maron's presidential term: 1989-1990]


VICE PRESIDENT'S AND PRESIDENT'S FILES, 1979(1988)-1995. (.35 cubic feet in box 2)

Arranged alphabetically by subject headings and thereunder chronologically.

Documentation of the activities of Sisters in Crime during the vice-presidency and presidency of Margaret Maron as kept by Maron. The records pertain to various subjects, including Sisters in Crime projects, local chapters, finances, publicity efforts and nonprofit status to name a few. Included in the records are correspondence, press clippings, post cards, editorial drafts and booklets.

Of particular interest is the folder on the Book Review Monitoring Project, which includes guidelines for determining the gender of authors in order to tabulate the percentage of female authors included in book reviews, correspondence regarding the reliability of such statistics and the tabulations for the Washington Post during 1989. Also of interest is the By-Laws folder as it demonstrates through correspondence how the first draft was originally created and revised and by whom. Early history of the organization is documented in the Sisters in Crime folders. In addition, the Miscellaneous folder contains correspondence with women outside of the United States who were trying to reach the organization, some of which helped to prompt a change in the by-laws to allow members from Canada and Mexico. The Publicity folder highlights the beginnings of Sisters in Crime publications and promotions through correspondence with the publicity committee. Other interesting material is located in the Research folder, which contains correspondence and information about a study conducted at the Family Research Laboratory on Women and Violence that Sisters in Crime was involved with.

Although Maron held the offices of vice-president and president from 1988-1990, included within this series are documents preceding these years, including magazine clippings and correspondence and announcements surrounding the inception of the organization. The documents that postdate her service include information regarding the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of Sisters in Crime, general correspondence sent to past presidents, publicity efforts within Sisters in Crime (such as her inclusion in Books-In-Print and the map poster project) and her involvement with the nominating committee. Within the Finance folder is also a treasurer's report for 1989, the first full year of the organization's existence.

Go to: Series List | Container List (at Box 2)


NEWSLETTER EDITOR'S FILES, 1992-1994. (.05 cubic feet in box 2)

Arranged alphabetically by subject headings and thereunder chronologically.

Documentation of the activities of Sisters in Crime's newsletter editor, Margaret Maron, during the years she served in this capacity. The records contain suggestions, complaints, article submissions and announcements to be included in the newsletter. Included in the records are correspondence, newspaper clippings, newsletters and cards.

Of particular interest is a memorandum within the Miscellaneous folder that discusses Sisters in Crime's intention to promote the creation of a White House Mystery Library by donating mystery novels to the White House after reports surfaced stating that President Clinton was a mystery enthusiast. In addition, the Executive Editor folder demonstrates through correspondence how this new position was created to assist the incoming editor with the transition. The files also contain several chapter newsletters, which demonstrate activities taking place on the local level.

Go to: Series List | Container List (at Box 2)


P.M. Carlson Records [Carlson's presidential term: 1992-1993]


GENERAL FILES, 1990-1996. (3 folders in box 2)

Arranged chronologically.

Documentation of the activities of Sisters in Crime collected by P.M. Carlson during six of the years of her membership in the organization, including while she held the offices of secretary, vice-president and president. The records relate to a variety of subjects, including projects, interest groups, local chapters, newsletters, finances, and the steering committee. Included in the records are letters received, facsimiles, newspaper clippings and press releases.

Of particular interest is correspondence outlining Sisters in Crime's participation in the Convocation for Literacy, sponsored by St. Johns Institute for Arts and Letters and Rutgers University. In addition, documents regarding issues brought before the steering committee are located in the files and show the process of decision making within the organization. Although Carlson held the offices of secretary, vice-president and president from 1990-1993, included within this series are documents postdating these years, including news clippings, correspondence regarding Sisters in Crime's salute to Phillis A. Whitney (the past MWA president who wrote a letter to the MWA regarding sexual discrimination in the awarding of the Edgar Awards), Carlson's service on the nominating committee and proposed by-laws changes.

Go to: Series List


Linda Grant Records [Grant's presidential term: 1993-1994]


PUBLICITY CHAIR'S FILES, 1990-1992. (.1 cubic feet in box 2)

Arranged alphabetically by subject headings and thereunder chronologically.

Documentation of the activities of Sisters in Crime's publicity chair, Linda Grant, during the years she served in this capacity. The records contain information regarding Grant's involvement in the planning for maintaining booths at major conventions, a bibliography project meant to outline the work of women mystery writers, proposed by-laws changes, various publicity efforts and steering committee issues. Included in the records are correspondence, flyers, pamphlets, cards, news clippings and press releases.

Of particular interest are incoming memoranda from the steering committee that reflect the role and relationship of one officer within the committee as a whole. Also, within the Correspondence folder is the Report of Findings from a survey undertaken to "provide a group portrait, a composite picture of female authors and their protagonists," which was conducted jointly by the Sisters in Crime and the National Women's History Project. Within this series are documents postdating Grant's service as publicity chair that relate to her contributions towards the planning of and her participation in the American Library Association's 1992 convention. Also postdating her official term is information relating to her efforts towards the bibliography project. Although she held no office while these records were created, she was editing the Sisters in Crime publication Shameless Promotion for Brazen Hussies during this period.

Go to: Series List | Container List (at Box 2)


VICE PRESIDENT'S AND PRESIDENT'S FILES, 1991-(1994)1998. (.35 cubic feet in box 2)

Arranged alphabetically by subject headings and thereunder chronologically.

Documentation of the activities of Sisters in Crime during the vice-presidency and presidency of Linda Grant as kept by Grant. The records pertain to various subjects, including major conventions and conferences, publicity, board meetings and steering committee issues, publications, chapters, Sisters in Crime projects, membership, nonprofit status and special interest groups. Included in the records are correspondence, brochures, news clippings, minutes, agendas, logs, facsimiles, broadsides, speeches, an information packet, pamphlets, newsletters and legal agreements.

Of particular interest is the Calendar of Duties for the President and Vice President, created in order to guide new officials through their service to the organization, which Grant kept in the Activities Log folder along with her own drafts of duties to be completed. This folder also contains an information sheet about the Authors Coalition, which SinC later joined. Also of interest are chapter newsletters, such as Los Angeles' Ransom Notes and Northern California's Stiletta, which are found in both the American Library Association and Chapter folders. Grant also collected a variety of materials that shed light on the role of chapters within the umbrella of the national organization, such as an information packet for new officers of the Los Angeles chapter (that outlines the duties of each officer and provides sample time lines, action plans, minutes and service awards) and a variety of materials under the Chapters heading. In the Backlash folder, Grant collected articles and letters received regarding a disconcertion with the organization and its policies. A keynote speech prepared by Grant for the 1994 California Library Association conference is also included in this series and provides an idea of the types of issues brought forth at such events. Although Grant held the offices of vice-president and president from 1992-1994, this series contains documents that precede these years, including articles, news clippings and SinC seminar information booklets, located in the Biographies and Articles folder, as well as information on the Northern California Chapter. These documents were generated while Grant served as publicity chair. The few documents that postdate her term of office include a letter to a SinC member in Austria regarding improving service to members abroad, and information collected as a committee member for the special interest group Outreach to Authors of Color.

Go to: Series List | Container List (at Box 2)


Barbara D'Amato Records [D'Amato's presidential term: 1994-1995]


SECRETARY'S FILES, 1991-1993. (.2 cubic feet beginning in box 2)

Arranged chronologically.

Documentation of activities of Sisters in Crime's secretary, Barbara D'Amato, during her service in this office, and materials she collected during that time. The majority of the records pertain to SinC membership and SinC local chapters, but others topics include newsletters, steering committee issues, projects, finances, nonprofit status and conferences. Included in the records are correspondence, memoranda, news clippings, facsimiles, newsletters, broadsides, press releases, by-laws, greeting cards, reports, minutes and brochures.

Of particular interest is the information regarding the formation of chapters, initial problems that arose and how the organization dealt with those problems. One item in particular is a letter that D'Amato submitted to Pat Carlson in September of 1992 suggesting smaller chapters, area reports in the newsletter, less cumbersome chapter formation, local officers to be national members and a chapter liaison. Also of interest is information about the activities of specific chapters, such as reading and writing groups and local library support, as well as the Mid-Atlantic chapter's by-laws, both located in the February 1993 folder.

Go to: Series List


VICE PRESIDENT'S AND PRESIDENT'S FILES, 1993 and 1995. (.05 cubic feet in box 3)

Arranged chronologically.

Documentation of Sisters in Crime during the vice-presidency and presidency of Barbara D'Amato as kept by D'Amato. The records pertain to various subjects, including Midwest Chapter news and information, publications, trademark protection and newsletter reports. Included in the records are correspondence, reports, facsimiles, brochures, articles, greeting cards, broadsides and minutes.

Of particular interest is Midwest chapter information, especially that regarding field trips for members to various places, such as the American Police Center and Museum and the Poison Control Center.

There is a gap in D'Amato's records, as they skip from December 1993 to April 1995.

Go to: Series List


Elaine Raco Chase Records [Raco Chase's presidential term: 1995-1996]


PUBLICITY CHAIR'S FILES, 1991-1995. (.7 cubic feet in box 3)

Arranged alphabetically by subject headings and thereunder chronologically.

Documentation of the activities of Sisters in Crime's publicity chair, Elaine Raco Chase, during the years she served in this capacity. The majority of the records pertains to the various publicity efforts put forth by Raco Chase for which SinC presented her with the Athena Reward. Also included is information regarding local chapters, the Internet chapter, major conferences, SinC projects, nonprofit status and the steering committee. Included in the records are correspondence, press releases, brochures, information packets, minutes, broadsides, postcards, newsletters, facsimiles and news clippings.

Of particular interest is Raco Chase's correspondence with the White House, beginning in February of 1993, regarding Sisters in Crime's donation of autographed mystery novels and the coordination of a possible appearance by President Clinton to accept these books, which never materialized. In the June and July 1993 Correspondence folders, letters explain the difficulties with this process in more detail and how the donation ended up being housed in the Camp David collection instead of in the White House Library. Steering committee correspondence regarding this matter is included in the September 1993 folder. Also of interest are the Los Angeles chapter's Ransom Notes and the American Crime Writers League's Bulletin newsletters, which display issues dealt with by a local chapter within SinC and by a separate organization for writers of mystery fiction. Located in the May Correspondence folder is a contract between Mae Woods and Meryl Marshall Productions, Inc., and the Sisters in Crime regarding a proposed television program series using the SinC name.

Within this series are documents postdating Raco Chase's service as publicity chair (i.e., after October of 1994), the majority of which consist of news clippings within the Public Relations and Advertisements folder.

Go to: Series List | Container List (at Box 3)


VICE PRESIDENT'S AND PRESIDENT'S FILES, 1994-1996. (.9 cubic feet beginning in box 3)

Arranged alphabetically by subject headings and thereunder chronologically.

Documentation of the activities of Sisters in Crime during the vice-presidency and presidency of Elaine Raco Chase as kept by Raco Chase. The records pertain to a variety of subjects, including major conventions, the Sisters in Crime writers retreat, steering committee issues, local chapters, the Internet chapter, finances, nonprofit status, by-laws, publicity, newsletter articles, SinC projects, trademark protection and SinC's archives. Included in the records are correspondence, news clippings, facsimiles, e-mails, broadsides, booklets, brochures, surveys, newsletters, catalogs, post cards and greeting cards.

Of particular interest are folders regarding the one-time collaboration in 1996 between SinC and Buffcon, the Buffalo Mystery Convention, which explain how the convention coordinator became interested in hosting SinC and the details that went into putting on this convention. Also of interest is information included in the Conference folder regarding the organization's first writers retreat, Murder My Sweet held in Houston in 1995, and the follow-up survey completed by members regarding their opinions on the conference. The large quantity of publicity information located within this series displays how the organization allowed each president to focus on particular duties that interested her, in addition to the primary presidential responsibilities, and how committee members contributed to the duties designated to other committee members. Also of interest is general, often informal, correspondence between SinC officers, past and present, regarding issues within the organization.

Raco Chase's records contain a great deal of copy for issues of the newsletter, yet it is unclear whether or not all of these draft articles were published, or in what form they appeared.

Go to: Series List | Container List (at Box 3)


Annette Meyers Records [Meyers' presidential term: 1996-1997]


VICE PRESIDENT'S AND PRESIDENT'S FILES, 1991(1994)-1998. (.8 cubic foot beginning in box 4 and volume in box 14)

Arranged alphabetically by subject headings and thereunder chronologically.

Documentation of the activities of Sisters in Crime during the vice-presidency and presidency of Annette Meyers as kept by Meyers. The records pertain to a variety of subjects, including major conventions, the Authors Coalition, SinC projects, local chapters, the Internet chapter, nonprofit status, SinC publications, special interest groups, finances, by-laws, steering committee issues, the nominating committee, liability insurance, trademark protection and publicity. Included in the records are correspondence, news clippings, broadsides, brochures, greeting cards, press releases, facsimiles, emails, newsletters and information packets.

Of particular interest is information regarding the relationship between Sisters in Crime and the Authors Coalition, which displays the importance of SinC's membership in this organization. Also of interest are the Chapters folders, which help shed light on how the local and international chapters function in relation to the Sisters in Crime national organization and describe the initial process behind the election of regional representatives. The folders also provide information on how the Internet chapter became official and how and why it moved off of the Genie Internet service in 1997. Additional information on the Internet chapter is located in the Correspondence and Web Site folders.

Although Meyers held the offices of vice-president and president from 1995-1997, included within this series are documents preceding these years, including correspondence and news clippings she collected (both while she was a member of SinC and the organization's secretary) and information relating to her duties while she served as secretary (1993-1995), all located in the Correspondence, Edgar Week Breakfast, Miscellaneous, Press Clippings and Sisters in Crime folders. There are also documents that postdate her presidential term located in this series, including those relating to her involvement in coordinating a speaking engagement at a New York elementary school, which is located in the Projects folder.

Go to: Series List | Container List (at Box 4)


PRESIDENTIAL E-MAIL, 1996-1997. (1.1 cubic feet beginning in box 5)

Arranged chronologically.

Printouts of electronic documentation, emails, kept by Annette Meyers during her service as president of Sisters in Crime recording the activities of the organization and specific SinC members. The records pertain to various subjects, including correspondence, SinC publications, publicity, major conventions, trademark protection, chapters, steering committee issues and meetings, the Internet, special interest groups, SinC projects and by-laws. Included in the records are incoming and outgoing emails.

These records are particularly interesting because the informality of the correspondence depicts the often uninhibited responses of Meyers and those sending her messages. The documents show how officers and members work together on a daily basis and solve issues brought forth to the organization.

Go to: Series List


ARCHIVE LIAISON FILES, 1995-1998. (.2 cubic feet beginning in box 7)

Arranged alphabetically by subject headings and thereunder chronologically.

Primarily documentation of Sisters in Crime's effort to locate a library to which to donate its records and the organization's collaboration with Douglass College at Rutgers University in order to make that gift to the university's library system. Also documents that pertain to the 1998 Sisters in Crime at Douglass College celebration (which included a day of workshops, panels and a SinC exhibit on the campus) and meeting materials for this celebration. Included in the records are correspondence, facsimiles, emails, a sample finding aid, minutes, agendas, broadsides, news clippings, newsletters, publicity folders and book covers.

Of particular interest is correspondence between Douglass College representatives, such as Librarian Francoise Puniello and Dean Barbara Shailor, and Meyers over the conditions of donating SinC's records, which show the dynamics of an organization presenting its archives to an institution, as well as the reasoning behind SinC wanting to donate its records.

Incorporated in this series are some materials collected by Douglass College, for exhibition during the Sisters in Crime at Douglass College celebration, that were not actually part of the records donated by Meyers.

Go to: Series List | Container List (at Box 7)


Eve Sandstrom Records [Sandstrom's presidential term: 2001-2002]

PRESIDENT'S FILES, 2002. (2 folders in box 12)

Arranged alphabetically.

Two letters (and a related item, probably an enclosure) written by Sandstrom during her tenure as SinC president. The topics represented are Bouchercon 2002 and SinC's fifteenth anniversary.

Go to: Series List

PRESIDENTIAL E-MAIL, 2002. (1 folder in box 12)

Nine e-mail communications received by Sandstrom during her tenure as SinC president. The bulk of the correspondence pertains to the evaluation of SinC as an organization and what its goals and activities should be. An isolated e-mail concerns a discussion of film rights.

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Version date: 04 / 25 / 06