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Willa Cather, Collected Materials

Title: Willa Cather, Collected Materials

Collector: University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries

Dates: 1901-1989

Quantity: 2 boxes (0.8 linear feet)

Collection Number: MS 0008

Language: English

Restrictions: Please ask at repository.

Access and Use: For information on access or copyright, please see our guidelines or email archives@unl.edu.

Historical Records Statement: Please see our statement on historical records and materials.

Preferred Citation: Willa Cather Collected Materials (MS 0008). Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.


Willa Cather was born in Back Creek Valley, Virginia, on 7 December 1873, the first child of Charles Cather and Mary Virginia Boak Cather. In 1883, when Cather was nine, the family relocated to Nebraska. In 1890, Cather graduated from high school, moved to Lincoln, and enrolled at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. In 1893 she began working as the theater and drama critic for the Nebraska State Journal and the Lincoln Courier. While attending classes she wrote for the student newspaper, The Hesperian, and became the managing editor in 1893. She graduated from the University in 1895.

Cather wrote short stories, essays, and novels that focused on her Nebraska experience, her early years in Virginia, her life in New York and Pittsburgh, and her travels to New Mexico, Canada, and Europe. Her novels include Alexander's Bridge (1912), O Pioneers! (1913), The Song of the Lark (1915), My Antonia (1918), A Lost Lady (1923), One of Ours (1922), The Professor's House (1925), My Mortal Enemy (1926), Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927), Shadows on the Rock (1931), Lucy Gayheart (1935), and Sapphira and the Slave Girl (1940). Her short story collections include The Troll Garden (1905), Youth and the Bright Medusa (1920) and Obscure Destinies (1932).

For more biographical information on Cather, please visit The Willa Cather Archive

Scope and Content:

This material includes original Cather correspondence written to Norman Foerster and others. There are two typescript carbons of the short story "Two Friends." The edits are done by Cather and possibly Edith Lewis, with distinct edits done on both typescripts. A copy of Cather's speech in honor of University of Nebraska Chancellor James H. Canfield, titled "Friends and Members of the Old Class," is included. A copy of Cather's last will and testament details provisions for family and friends, and provides specific information on publication restrictions for her novels. The documents relating to the burial site of Edith Lewis include a copy of her last will and testament. Original materials include a brochure created to promote the autograph edition of Cather's works published by Alfred A. Knopf. The reprints, articles, and reviews collected are those written about Cather for academic and regional publications. The bibliographies in the collection list Cather's novels, short stories, letters, and newspaper and magazine articles in addition to dissertations and theses produced by students at the University of Nebraska and other academic institutions. Several of the bibliographies were produced at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries for reference and access purposes. The newspaper clippings, some which were published in Czech newspapers, include selected biographical information about Cather, reviews of her works, and articles on Cather activities and associated individuals, such as Mildred Bennett. Materials related to the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial include brochures and conference publications. The majority of documents in this collection are photocopies.

The collection includes various documents relating to the 1925 and 1934 motion picture film adaptations of Cather's novel A Lost Lady. The correspondence includes letters regarding rights to the novel. Additional letters written between 1989 and 1994 note efforts to locate copies of the 1925 and 1934 films, requests for still images, and publication permissions. The materials relating to the Warner Brothers adaptation of the novel include correspondence, story summaries, final scripts, actor contracts, budgets, and reviews of the film. The majority of documents in this series are photocopies.


Cather, Willa, 1873-1947

Lewis, Edith

Cather, Willa, 1873-1947 -- Criticism and interpretation

Cather, Willa, 1873-1947. A Lost Lady

Container List: Box 1. Folder 1. Correspondence, Cather, 1910-1969, undatedItem 1. Correspondence, Cather to Mr. Braithwaite, 1910, Dec. 14 Item 2. Correspondence, Cather to Mr. Pattullo, 1911, May 16 Item 3. Correspondence, Cather to Miss Bartley, 1921(?), July 14 Item 4. Correspondence, Cather to Edwin Winter, 1923?, May 19 Item 5. Correspondence, Cather to "dear little girl," 1924, Feb. 28 Item 6. Correspondence, Cather to Kendall Falke, 1936, Mar. 31 Item 7. Correspondence, Sarah Bloom, typist, 1932, 1937 Item 8. Correspondence, Cather to Mrs. Westcott, 1944?, Aug. 26 Item 9. Correspondence, Sigrid Undset to Cather, 1944 Item 10. Correspondence, Cather to Will Edson, ?, Aug. 30 Box 1. Folder 2. Letters, to Cather c/o Knopf, 1944 Box 1. Folder 2. Speech, Cather (photocopies), undated Box 1. Folder 3. Typescript, corrected carbon, pgs. 1-25, "Two Friends," cover letter to Miss Bloom, undated Box 1. Folder 4. Typescript, corrected "ribbon" carbon, pgs. 1-25, "Two Friends," undated Box 1. Folder 5. Short story, "Jack-a-Boy," Saturday Evening Post, 1901, Mar. 30 Box 1. Folder 6. Last will and testament (photocopies), 1943, Apr. 29, undated Box 1. Folder 7. Burial site, Edith Lewis Box 1. Folder 8. Publicity materials, Knopf, 1934, 1953 Box 1. Folder 9. O Pioneers, script Box 1. Folder 10. Book jackets, biographies Box 1. Folder 11. Essay, Artemis Pelantova, "Cather and Her Conception of Creative Personality; an Interpretation," 1927 Box 1. Folder 12. Article reprints, about Cather Box 1. Folder 13. Articles, reviews, about Cather Box 1. Folder 14. Bibliographies, University of Nebraska Box 1. Folder 15. Bibliographies, dissertations, thesis Box 1. Folder 16. Bibliographies, "Writings of Willa Cather," Bulletin of New York Public Library, 1956, June-Aug. Box 1. Folder 17. Bibliographies Box 1. Folder 18. Programs, newspaper clippings, Cather Centennial Celebration, 1973 Box 1. Folder 19. Envelope and commemorative stamp honoring Cather, 1973, Sep. 20 Box 1. Folder 20. Program, brochures, Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial Box 1. Folder 21. Programs, Theater Works, My Antonia, 2004 Box 1. Folder 22. Newspaper clippings, biographical Box 1. Folder 23. Newspaper clippings, biographical and associated activities (see also Cather oversize box) Box 1. Folder 24. Newspaper clippings, Czech Box 1. Folder 25. Photographs, Cather (photocopies) Box 2. Folder 1. Correspondence, 1934-1974 Box 2. Folder 2. Correspondence, publication permission requests, 1984-1998 Box 2. Folder 3. Contracts, actors, 1924-1925 Box 2. Folder 4. Final screenplay, Dorothy Farnum, 1925 Box 2. Folder 5. Contract, motion picture rights, 1929, Dec. 23 Box 2. Folder 6. Screenplay, Francis Edwards Faragoh, The Reckless Hour, 1930 Box 2. Folder 7. Story summaries, Gene Markey and Kathryn Scola, Warner Brothers, 1934 Box 2. Folder 8. Final screenplay, Gene Markey and Kathryn Scola, Warner Brothers, 1934, May 21 Box 2. Folder 9. Contracts, actors, 1930 1935 Box 2. Folder 10. Budget, 1934 Box 2. Folder 11. Photographs, film stills (photocopies), 1935 Box 2. Folder 12. Film reviews, newspaper clippings, press book (see also oversize box) Box 3. Folder 1. Screenplay, "The Bohemian Girl," Will Schmitz Box 3. Folder 2-3. Genealogy research Box 3. Folder 4. Genealogy research, "Frederick County, Virginia," Wilmer Kerns Box 3. Folder 5. Event pamphlets, cd-rom, clippings, UNL Libraries Box 3. Folder 6. Commemorative stamp, general articles Box 3. Folder 7. Will Edson, articles on Cather Box 3. Folder 8. Will Edson, news clips Box 3. Folder 9. Letters, to Cather, sent care of Knopf, 1944
Related Material and Resources: Cather, Willa and Dorothy Canfield Fisher. "The Fear that Walks by Noonday, "Sombrero, 1895.Additional Willa Cather materials appear in several collections in the Archives & Special Collections. The Archives & Special Collections also contains several collections of Willa Cather books, including selected items from her personal library. These books can be located through the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries on-line catalog.

If you have questions about the Archives & Special Collections, please email "archives@unl.edu."
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