October 22, 2010
We took a couple of day trips and were able to visit Cather's hometown of Red Cloud, Nebraska. My daughter is quite the Cather scholar and really gave me a superb 'busman's tour' of all of the important Cather sites and scenes from many of her novels. It was just an awesome experience!
I took several photographs while visiting Red Cloud, and thought that it might be fun to share them with all of you. The photograph at top upper-right is a black and white conversion that I made of Cather's childhood home in Red Cloud. Please do make sure that you 'click' on each photograph for the larger view.
Here's Cather's home in color. The trees are all just starting to change into their fall colors too.
This black and white photograph (at right) is the Miner House (the fictional 'Harling' house), and is where Willa Cather frequently stayed when she came back to Red Cloud to visit family and friends. This house is thought to have been built in 1878, and is in the Italianate style. She dedicated My Antonia to two of the Miner girls, Carrie and Irene ("To Carrie and Irene Miner, In memory of affections old and true").
This is the house that Anna Pavelka lived in out on the Nebraska prairie outside of Red Cloud. Anna is the woman that Willa Cather generally based her character Antonia Shimerda upon in her classic novel, My Antonia. The root cellar (tornado shelter too?) in the foreground is the one that Jim and Antonia climb out of followed by the gaggle of little children. While this old abandoned house is owned by the Nebraska State Historical Society, it is in a desperate state of disrepair. I hope that the means can be found to protect and restore this beautiful piece of Americana.
Willa Cather was born in Virginia in 1873, and died in 1947. When Willa was nine years old, her family moved to Red Cloud, Nebraska. She later attended and graduated from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska. She then went back east and worked as a teacher, newspaper writer and editor, and an editor of magazines. Most importantly though, Willa Cather is known for her beautiful novels. To finish this posting I am including a listing of all of her novels, in the order in which they were published.
Alexander's Bridge (1912)
O Pioneers! (1913)
The Song of the Lark (1915)
My Antonia (1918)
One of Ours (1922, for which she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1923)
A Lost Lady (1923)
The Professor's House (1925)
My Mortal Enemy (1926)
Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927)
Shadows on the Rock (1931)
Lucy Gayheart (1935)
Sapphira and the Slave Girl (1940)