The Rhode Island Writers' Guild, or Writer's Guild as they called themselves in some materials, was founded in 1950 by Ruth Eddy. She placed an advertisement in a writing journal in 1949 seeking writers for a self-help group in Rhode Island and in 1950 got a turnout of four which formed the nucleus of the Guild. The motto of the Guild was "If you feel WRITE, the Guild's for you!", which was chosen after a contest and written by Ann Papazian. "The purpose of the Rhode Island Writers' Guild shall be to encourage the development of skills in writing, particularly writing for publication" according to the histories of the organization written by Muriel E. Eddy. Membership was not limited to those who lived in Rhode Island or those who had actually published. A member is described in the histories as "Anyone of good character interested in the objectives and purposes of this organization". Most members are described as semi-professional, meaning that they did not earn enough money from writing to retire from their jobs in other fields. The Providence Public Library occasionally referred potential members to the group. The Guild described itself as interested in the quality of the writing done by its members, and their contributions to the cultural life of their community and the state of Rhode Island. It also sought to encourage good communication and the spirit of fellowship among writers. In spite of the formation of splinter and rival groups in the early years of the Guild, the group flourished for about 25 years but faded out of existence after the death of Muriel Eddy in 1978 and met its formal demise in 1980.
In its active days, the Guild offered tutorials and workshops for budding writers, and helped them to find publishing opportunities. Published writers gave inspirational talks at meetings, and the Guild members helped to publicize events such as Author’s Week and Poetry Day. The Guild also offered awards such as writer of the year or poet of the year and sponsored readings of works by their members. Ruth Eddy had strong support with the organization of the Guild from her parents, Muriel Eddy and Clifford M. Eddy, both of whom served on the board of the Guild at various times. The Eddys were friends with H.P. Lovecraft and were themselves published authors in genres as varied as song lyrics and horror stories.
Ruth Muriel Eddy, the founder of the Guild, was born in 1921. She graduated from Central High School in Providence, Rhode Island in 1939, and from Eastern Nazarene College in 1943. In 1966, she received an extension diploma from Brown University. She was a proofreader for Oxford Press, a newsroom typist for the Providence Journal, and a public relations writer for WJAR-TV. Other jobs included stints in the departments of Employment Security and Social Welfare for the state of Rhode Island, director of senior citizens groups in both Providence and East Providence, Rhode Island, typing instructor and creative writing instructor. She was primarily a poet and several of her books of poetry, Impression of the Terminal, Poems for Christian Youth, and Stardust, Silver, and Gold are in the Harris Collection of American Poetry and Plays at Brown University. Some of her recollections of H.P. Lovecraft's visits with her parents are also in print along with a handful of horror stories.
Clifford Martin Eddy, Jr. (1896-1967) was born in Providence, Rhode Island and graduated from Classical High School in Providence. He is known primarily for his short stories in the horror, science fiction and supernatural genres and began his writing career by publishing stories in magazines like Weird Tales and Snappy Stories. He also wrote songs, both words and music, sometimes collaborating with others, particularly his daughter, Ruth. He was a theatrical agent, a proof reader for Oxford Press, the principal clerk of the State of Rhode Island and a creative writing instructor. He was also a friend and confidant of H.P. Lovecraft, the horror and occult writer, and the magician Harry Houdini. He and Lovecraft edited each others works and were investigators for Houdini. Eddy also did ghostwriting for the magician. He served from 1954 to 1956 as president of the Rhode Island Writers' Guild, and as secretary treasurer of the Rhode Island Theatrical Booking Agents' Association.
Muriel Elizabeth (Gammons) Eddy (1896-1978) was born in Taunton, Massachusetts and was educated in Attleboro Falls, Massachusetts, Redlands, California, and at the Horace Mann School in San Jose, California. She married Clifford Eddy in 1918 following a correspondence which developed from their common interest in creative writing. They both continued their writing careers after marriage and raised three children: Clifford Myron, Fay Audrey and Ruth Muriel. The Eddys met H. P. Lovecraft in 1923 and maintained a close friendship with him until his death in 1937. Over the years Muriel Eddy wrote many profiles of Lovecraft, the last of which, The Gentleman from Angell Street, is the most comprehensive. She published in many genres including biography, romance, occult, poetry, and recipes. She served for more than 20 years as the president of the Rhode Island Writers' Guild, taught creative writing and was a member of the American Federation of Indians and the League of North American Indians.