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  • Date :
  • 12/1/2004

Willa Siebert Cather


December 7,1873 -April 24,1947)

Willa Sibert Cather,Nebraska's most noted novelist, was born in l873 inVirginia. At the age of ten, she moved with her family to Webster County, Nebraska, and lived on a farm there for two years before moving into the town ofRed Cloud. Many of Cather's acquaintances and Red Cloud area scenes can be recognized in her writings. Cather was graduated from theUniversity of Nebraska in l895. While attending the university, she was a drama critic for theLincoln Journal. She worked forHome Monthly and the Daily Leader in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and later taught English and Latin at Allegheny, Pennsylvania. She moved to New York and became the leading magazine editor of her day while serving as managing editor of McClure's Magazinefrom 1906 to 1912. Cather continued her education and received a doctorate of letters at theUniversity ofNebraska in 1917. She also received honorary degrees from the University of Michigan, the University of California, and from Columbia, Yale, and Princeton.

Cather wrote poetry, short stories, essays, and novels, winning many awards including the Gold Metal of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. In 1922 she won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel,One of Ours, about a Nebraska farm boy who went off to World War I.

Cather died April 24, 1947 in New York. In 1961 Cather was the
first woman voted into the Nebraska Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners inOklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1974 and into the National Women's Hall of Fame atSeneca,New York in 1988.

The Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation at Red Cloud, Nebraska preserved her childhood home and other buildings connected with her writings. In 1978 these properties were given to the State ofNebraska to be administered as the Willa Cather Historical Center by the Nebraska State Historical Society. The Nature Conservancy purchased 2l0 acres of native grassland south of Red Cloud in l974, and the following year it was dedicated as the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie.

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