Even though Willa Cather's time spent on the Nebraska frontier was relatively brief, it affected her deeply. Though she spent her professional life
as a writer in Pittsburgh and New York, she drew much of her subject matter from life in Nebraska.
Wilella Sibert Cather was born in Virginia in 1873. Ten years later, the family moved to the Nebraska plains to farm. The venture failed after eighteen months and the family moved to the town of Red Cloud where Willa's father set up a real estate/insurance business. Willa attended the University of Nebraska, at first intending a medical degree, then changing to journalism. She earned her B.A. in English in 1894. Willa spent ten years writing in Pittsburgh, then moved to New York where she died in 1947. She had a long-term relationship with editor Edith Lewis, with whom she lived for 39 years.
Though Cather wrote novels set in various geographical areas, it is her writings about Nebraskan pioneers that have most endeared her to the public.
Photo above courtesy of Doug Stremel.