Rosalind Warren: From the Law to the Library

I met Rosalind Warren at my local library, where she checks out books, prepares books for shelving, and performs various other library duties. Since I had assumed she was a librarian, when I interviewed her as a result of learning she was also a writer working in the library, I decided an interview for National Library Week would be perfect. (It was actually last week, but I was busy editing a student paper and a revised bibliography of my 25 year old cookbook, so I got behind.)

Before Roz became a single parent about 10 years ago, she worked at a law firm in the field of bankruptcy, a job she found fascinating.  However, it was very demanding and stressful and she made the decision to leave the law in order to raise her son. In our interview she was very clear about that decision and has no regrets.

All her life Rosalind has been a reader (“bookish” is the word she used) and also a “goofy” person (her words again), so when I told he about my menupause website and my divorce blog, she told me about her humor books that she anthologized on women’s issues. My curiosity was piqued and a few weeks later she left me some of her books to review. I read them and smiled, giggled, and laughed at all the wonderful quotes, jokes, and cartoons about women in various stages in their lives.

Rosalind told me she has always loved humor and has been writing forever. Many of her short fiction stories can be found in collections. Her anthologies were published by Crossing Press, a small feminist publisher that I know from reviewing a couple of their books, such as Women of the 14th Moon.

For years, Rosalind collected humorous cartoons and jokes and put them in a drawer, finally sending a query letter to Crossing Press who liked the idea of a women’s humor anthology. She signed the contract, and then using her legal and research skills, went about contacting all the writers/artists to gain permission to place their work in the anthologies. (This was before the Internet, so tracking people down took some sleuthing.)

Warren paid each writer or artists in her anthologies from her advances (monies given to the author before publication) or royalties. While most contributors often receive only free copies, Roz thought payment was in order. I find that admirable!

From our conversation and Rosalind’s explanation, I realize now that women’s humor has long been in the closet, either because publishers thought that women weren’t funny or because they were threatened by their biting humor. The publishing of these anthologies, so cleverly collected by Rosalind, has given female artists/writers of humor an open window to share their work with others. I was impressed by this fact, because I had not thought much about it before  In other words, Warren has provided a market for these women where there was none before. Good for her!

While the books are no longer in print, they are still available through the Internet and directly from Rosalind Warren. Her website is:

Below is a list of the books that Rosalind gave me as gifts and for review. I have included at least one joke or quote from each book.  I love these books and recommend any one of them to tickle your female funny bone!

MOTHERS: Cartoons by Women-Edited by Roz Warren  Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press (1993)

(I may review this for Mother’s Day es)

Sample cartoon by cartoon by Rhonda DicksionMen are from Detroit, Women are from Paris: Cartoons by Women Edited by Roz Warren. Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press (1995)

Quote from Diane Jordan: Before accepting a marriage proposal, take a good look at his father. If he is still handsome, witty, and has all his teeth…marry him instead.

Funny Words by Funny Women. Edited by roz warren, illustrations by fris kovick. Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press (1994)

My grandmother’s 90. She’s dating. It’s going great. They never argue. They can’t hear each other.—Cathy Ladman

When Cats Talk Back: Cat Cartoons with Attitude, Edited by Roz Warren. Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press (1999)

There are two kinds of cat fur: Dark fur that sheds on light fabric, and light fur that sheds on dark fabric.

Women’s Glibber: State-of-the-Art Women’s Humor. Edited by Roz Warren. Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press (1992)

Housecleaning by Nikki Giovanni

i always liked housecleaning
even as a child
i dug straightening
the cabinets
putting new paper on
the shelves
washing the refrigerator
inside out
and unfortunately this habit has
carried over and i find
i must remove you from my life


The Best Contemporary Women’s Humor. Edited by Roz Warren. Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press (1994)

“Quote Repair “by Flash Rosenberg (This article covers 3 pages; I have just posted two.)

Study the past if you want to divine the future. — Confucius

quote repair: Study the divan if you want to patch the furniture.


Catch the bear before you sell his skin.

quote repair: You’ll catch hell if you bare your skin.


Note: Most of the books also have cartoons, but I was not sure about permission, so I only included one. IF I can reach Rosalind and get permission, I will scan some additional cartoons. ellensue


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