Willa Sibert Cather was born December 7th, 1873 on a small farm in Back Creek Valley near Winchester, Virginia. Her mother and father, Mary and Charles Cather, had seven children, Willa being the oldest. The family moved to the immigrant village of Red Cloud, Nebraska in 1883. Cather grew up around many different cultures from Europe and was, therefore, exposed to the harsh realities of new life on the Great Plains at an early age (Webster 's 69). Cather 's grandmothers educated her because there no schools close enough for her to attend. They taught her many things including Latin and Classic English literature. Her first literary influence was Virgil (Twentieth 257).
To pay her way through college, Cather took a job with the Pittsburgh Leader. Some have speculated that this caused her to become a realist as an author (Downs 54). From 1906-1912 Cather was the managing editor of McClure 's Magazine. According to Ida Tarbell, Cather didn 't like the magazine 's " 'muckraking ' and crusading methods" and eventually quit (Twentieth 258). According to her obituary in the Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, one of Cather 's friends once said, "She did her work, did it well, and let it go at that. She avoided the limelight" (Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph 1).
According to Twentieth Century Authors, Cather 's books can be divided by subject:Her novels may be divided into three groups: those dealing with the West, and particularly with foreign-born farmers…; those short stories and novelettes… and deal mostly with artists and sophisticated Easterners; and those, merging into almost legend, which evidence her interest in Roman Catholicism… (Twentieth 258).
Cather believed that
Cited: And Death Comes for Willa Cather, Famous Author." Pittsburgh Sun-TelegraphApril 25, 1947: 1-2. Downs, M. Catherine. Becoming Modern: Willa Cather 's Journalism. New York:Susquehanna University Press, 1999. Kinsella, Kate, et. Al. Prentice Hall Literature: The American Experience. Boston:Penguin Edition, 2007. The Public Media Foundation. "Historical and Literal Contexts." James A. Miller. Scribbling Women. 2007. The Public Media Foundation at Northeastern University College of Arts and Sciences. 3/9/08. Genevieve Netz. "Pioneer Life on the Prairie: A Wagner Matinee."Genevieve Netz. Prairie Bluestem. 3/19/07. Blogspot.3/9/08. Ostwalt, Conrad Eugene. After Eden: The Secularization of Willa Cather andTheodore Dreiser. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1990. Various Authors. " A Wagner Matinee." Christine Stelle. Wikipedia. 1/21/08. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Wagner_Matinee>"Willa Cather." Twentieth Century Authors. 1942 ed. "Willa Cather." Webster 's Dictionary of American Authors. 1995 ed.