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The Willa Cather Foundation, Red Cloud

4.4
#13 of 25 in Historic Sites in Nebraska
Historic Site · Tourist Spot
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Willa Cather was born in Virginia in 1873, although her parents did not register the date, and it is probably incorrectly given on her tombstone. Because she is so famous for her Nebraska novels, many people assume she was born there, but Willa Cather was about nine years old when her family moved to a small Nebraska frontier town called Red Cloud that was populated by immigrant Swedes, Bohemians, Germans, Poles, Czechs, and Russians. The oldest of seven children, she was educated at home, studied with a Latin neighbor, and read the English classics in the evening. By the time she went to the University of Nebraska in 1891–where she began by wearing boy’s clothes and cut her hair close to her head–she had decided to be a writer.

After graduation she worked for a Lincoln, Nebraska, newspaper, then moved to Pittsburgh and finally to New York City. There she joined McClure’s magazine, a popular muckraking periodical that encouraged the writing of new young authors. After meeting the author Sarah Orne Jewett, she decided to quit journalism and devote herself full time to fiction. Her first novel, Alexander’s Bridge, appeared in serial form in McClure’s in 1912. But her place in American literature was established with her first Nebraska novel, O Pioneers!, published in 1913, which was followed by her most famous pioneer novel, My Antonia, in 1918. In 1922 she won the Pulitzer Prize for one of her lesser-known books. One of Ours. Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927), her masterpiece, and Shadows on the Rock (1931) also celebrated the pioneer spirit, but in the Southwest and French Canada. Her other novels include The Song of the Lark (1915), The Professor’s House (1925), My Mortal Enemy (1926), and Lucy Gayheart (1935). Willa Cather died in 1947.
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The Willa Cather Foundation reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
52 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • We stopped in to the Willa Cather Center downtown and just toured the displays there on our own. We had fun looking at all the historic photos of life in Red Cloud. What we did was free and fun. 
    We stopped in to the Willa Cather Center downtown and just toured the displays there on our own. We had fun looking at all the historic photos of life in Red Cloud. What we did was free and fun.  more »
  • We detoured on our drive from Lincoln to Denver to see the town where author Willa Cather lived from age 11 to 16. I’m glad we did. It is a driving tour with a docent where you visit sites... 
    We detoured on our drive from Lincoln to Denver to see the town where author Willa Cather lived from age 11 to 16. I’m glad we did. It is a driving tour with a docent where you visit sites...  more »
Google
  • I highly recommend visiting here, even if you have no idea who Willa Cather is. You'll get a great education from the foundation, either in person or through their app. The museum is a fantastic telling of Willa Cather's life and the gift shop has all of her books. There's even a cool art gallery!
  • Nothing too special, there was an art gallery thing that was interesting.

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