Texas Woman's University, the Woman's Collection

Willa Cather Collection

An Inventory to the Collection


Creator Cather, Willa, , 1873-1947.
Titile: Willa Cather Collection
Dates: 1865-1974
Abstract: Letters to family members containing Cather's opinion on illustrators of children's books and reactions to favorable and unfavorable publicity, biographical sketch, news clippings and four family photographs. Also contains a diary written by Cather's father, Charles F. Cather, at age seventeen describing his experiences in rural Frederick County, Virginia, near the end of the Civil War.
Location: Mss. 152c
Size: 6 folders, 22 items.
Language of Materials English
Repository Texas Woman's University, the Woman's Collection

Biographical Note

Willa Sibert Cather was born on December 7, 1873, on a farm in northern Virgina. Ten years later the family moved to the Nebraska frontier. She was educated at home until high school and later attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. After college, Cather moved to Pittsburgh where she worked as a journalist. In 1906, she joined the staff of McClure's Magazine in New York City.

Cather began her career as a novelist in 1912 with her works reflecting the Nebraska plains and the people who inhabited them. She received the Pulitzer Prize in 1922 for One of Ours, a novel concerning World War I.

During her middle-age years, Cather appears to have experienced a spiritual rebirth and wrote four novels concerning the value of religion in life, including Death Comes for the Archbishop. The last sixteen years of her life she wrote little. She died on April 24, 1947.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

A small group of (22) collected items brought together by gift and purchase pertaining to Willa Cather and her family. One of the more significant items in the collection is the diary of her father, Charles F. Cather, written near the end of the Civil War, and five letters written by Willa Cather to her mother and sister.

Arrangement of the Collection

Folder 1: Correspondence
Folder 2:Correspondence cont.
Folder 3: Photographs
Folder 4: Diary
Folder 5: Biographical
Folder 6: Articles
Folder 7: Willa Cather Memorial Education Foundation


Access to Collection:

This collection is open for research use.

Publication and Copyright Statements:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained in writing from the Coordinator for Special Collections. All responsibility for questions of copyright that may arise in copying, scanning, and use of material shall be assumed by the user.

Administrative Information


The bulk of the collection, including correspondence, new clippings and diary, were purchased ca. 1978. The commemorative stamp was a gift of Dr. Evelyn Blagg-Huey, 1987.

Encoded by:

T.L. MacGowan, 2007

Detailed Description of the Collection

Willa Cather Papers / Letters to Family Members

Box Folder
1 1 Jessica Cather Auld (sister) / 3 items.
(1) December 17, 1908: Cather's opinion of several illustrators of children's books, including Maxfield Parrish,Howard Pyle, and Jessie Willcox Smith.

(2) October 27, 19--Cather reacts to an unfavorable review.

(3) Saturday, 19--: Cather describes her ring-worm infection she contracted from a dog in France. The infection was treated with x-rays.
Box Folder
1 2 Virginia Cather (mother) / 2 items.
(1) March 2, 1925 Cather writes to her mother and tries to resolve a family disagreement, She asks, "Now what could I have done to upset you?" Also comments on unfavorable publicity.

(2) November 26, 29, 19--: Comments on household affairs, describing the "French woman" [Josephine Bourda] who is keeping house for her.


Box Folder
1 3 The Photos - 1920's / 3 items.

(1) Views of Willa Cather with unidentified members of her family, ca.

(2) Willa Cather postcard, 1987 written by Mary Evelyn Blagg-Huey of Texas Woman's University to Elizabeth Snapp.

(3)Unidentified group of women, undated, possibly dressed in historical clothing.

Box Folder
1 4 Charles F. Cather, Diary / 2 items.

(1) Pocketbook diary, 2-1/2" x 4"; 120 pages. written by Charles F. Cather, 1865-1866. Cather describes his experiences as a seventeen-year-old in rural Frederick County, Virginia, at the end of the Civil War. The diary includes references to the surrender of General Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy, "Yankee" and "Rebel" soldiers, school, farm chores, and other local activities and events.

(2) Typed transcript of Charles F. Cather diary, 35-pages.

Biographical Information

Box Folder
1 5 Sketches / 2 items.
(1) Willa Cather, A Biographical Sketch..., Alfred A. Knopf, publisher, New York, n.d. A published biographical sketch of Cather signed by Jessica Auld; includes obituary news clipping regarding the death of Virginia Cather (mother).

(2) Biographical sketch of Cather in The National Encyclopedia of American Biography ,n.d.


Box Folder
1 6 Newsclippings / 2 items.
(1) Mimeographed newsletter, "The Crumb" August 4, 1922, regarding Cather's visit to Bread Loaf; and the envelope addressed to her mother, April 2, 1923.

(2) News clippings and advertisement for Willa Cather on Writing, and a review of it written by Katherine Anne Porter.

Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation

Box Folder
1 7 Commemorations / 3 items.
(1) Letter, January 3, 1962, to Jessica Auld from Mildred Bennett, regarding Auld's membership in the foundation.

(2) Willa Cather Memorial and Educational Foundation Newsletter, 1974-1975.

(3) "Honoring Willa Cather," commemorative stamp, first day of issue, September 20, 1973. Program of the ceremony in Red Cloud, Nebraska.