Willa Cather (1873-1947)

American author known for her novels of frontier life on the Great Plains.

Quick Facts

Go Historic ID
85
Names
Wilella Sibert Cather
Willa Cather
Dates
1873-1947
Birth
December 7, 1873
Death
April 24, 1947
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Timeline

7 Dec 1873
Birth of Willa Cather
1883
At age 9, Willa Cather moves with her family from Virginia to the homestead of her grandparents in Catherton precinct, Nebraska. They travel by train to Red Cloud depot, then 16 miles by wagon.
1884
Willa Cather's family moves into a rented house in Red Cloud, Nebraska (pop. 2,500), now preserved as the Willa Cather House. Here she spends her formative years living among Swedish, Bohemian, Russian and German immigrants working the land on the Great P
1885
The Red Cloud Opera House is built above the town's hardware store. Young Willa Cather begins attending performances.
1888
Fifteen-year-old Willa Cather has decided to become a surgeon, a profession then reserved for men. She cuts her hair short, dresses in men's clothes, and refers to herself as "Wm. Cather, M.D." or "William Cather, Jr." She experiments with dissection and
1888
At the Red Cloud Opera House, Willa Cather dons a top hat and wax mustache to play Beauty's father in a production of Beauty and the Beast with the Miner girls. The play is a fundraiser for the victims of the 1888 blizzard.
Jun 1890
Willa Cather graduates from Red Cloud High School and delivers a speech in the Red Cloud Opera House.
1891
Willa Cather attends the University of Nebraska, where she exhibits strong talent for journalism and story writing.
1892
Willa Cather serves as the literary editor of the Hesperian, the student publication of the University of Nebraska.
Mar 1892
In her freshman year, Cather writes an essay about Thomas Carlyle that is published in the Nebraska State Journal. Cather later credits this event - seeing her name in print for the first time - with her desire to become a writer.
1893
Still in college, Cather begins working as a reporter for the Nebraska State Journal. Her first column is entitled, "One Way of Putting It."
1893
Willa Cather is the managing editor of the Hesperian at the University of Nebraska.
1895
Willa Cather meets Stephen Crane
1895
Willa Cather travels to Chicago to see the Metropolitan Opera.
Jul 1896
Cather is the editor of the Home Monthly in Pittsburgh.

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