The Charlotte Writers Club was born on June 6, 1922, with Adelia Kimball as its founder and first president. Kimball, who moved with her husband to Charlotte from Lowell, Massachusetts a few years earlier, was a writer, editor and consulting critic for publishing companies. As founder of Writecrafters, a short story training course, she was asked to lead a 10-session writing class for the “ladies auxiliary” of the Charlotte Newcomers Club.
At the conclusion of the final training session, the participants decided to form a separate writers club to continue meeting and learning about writing. The other elected charter officers of the Charlotte Writers Club—all women — were Mrs. Harvey Barrett as Vice President, Mary Pressly as Treasurer, Margaret Berry as Executive Secretary, Laura Burton Miller as Recording Secretary, and Willie Shelby as Publicity Secretary.
After a few months organizing and publicizing the new club, Kimball called the inaugural Charlotte Writers Club meeting to order on October 3, 1922 at the Carnegie Library (now Charlotte Mecklenburg Library). Open to anyone interested in writing, the meetings were held every other week at the library. With no budget and no dues, the Charlotte Writers Club operated primarily as a critique group. Meeting participants read their work aloud to the assembled group and received feedback aimed at not only improving the writing but also enhancing the prospects of getting published.
Kimball also recruited guest speakers to provide expertise and advice. On November 23, 1922, the Club’s first speaker was R.N. Wall, a writer from Richmond, VA who espoused newspaper writing as the best training ground for creating short stories. Before the end of the following year, several Charlotte Writers Club members had received acceptance letters from publishers. In 1927, the Charlotte Writers Club expanded its offerings again by holding its initial writing contest, providing a $25 prize to the best short story not exceeding 5,000 words.
Although much has changed in Charlotte over the subsequent 100 years, the mission of the Charlotte Writers Club remains intact and pertinent, thanks to its founder, Adelia Kimball. Kimball remained president of the Charlotte Writers Club until 1930, when she moved to New York as editor with book publisher Louis Carrier & Company. Although she never returned to the Charlotte Writers Club, her legacy lives on.