Skip to main content

Willa Cather Letters

 Collection
Identifier: MSN/MN 3001

Scope and Content Note

The two letters are unrelated. The first, a business letter, is addressed to an unidentified "Mr. Towne"; Cather turns down an apparent offer on his part to publish one of her works. The second letter, written much later, is a personal letter to Brother Emil Mohr, CSC, where Cather expresses her disenchantment with the current state of the world as well as her love of Latin. Entries for both letters can be found in A Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather, edited by Janis P. Stout (Lincoln and London: U. of Nebraska Press, 2002).

Dates

  • 1922, 1937

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Language of Materials

Collection material in English

Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Biographical Note

Willa Cather (1873-1947) was born in Virginia, but as a child, moved with her family to a farm near Red Cloud, Nebraska, where she grew up among the immigrants who are the subjects of many of her novels. Upon graduating from the University of Nebraska, she accepted a position in Pittsburgh editing a new magazine, the Home Monthly. She spent ten years in Pittsburgh, pursuing a career in journalism as well as teaching English and Latin in high school. In 1906 at the age of 33, Cather accepted a position on the editorial staff of McClure's Magazine and moved to New York City where she spent the rest of her life. While serving her apprenticeship in journalism, she began publishing the short stories and the novels that have made her famous. She is best known for her works which are set in Nebraska, such books as: O Pioneers! (1913) and My Antonia (1918); however, her range is much greater than that of a regionalist. For example, one of her finest works is The Professor's House (1925), which is about a middle-aged professor of history, who becomes profoundly depressed by the materialism surrounding him. Other examples of her work that diverge from the "local color" of Nebraska are her later historical novels set in Virginia, Quebec, and the American southwest. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1922 for One of Ours. Besides her ability to capture a sense of place, throughout her work Cather is a meticulous craftsman who developed a wonderfully clear prose style with an effective use of symbol and myth. She ranks among the major American authors of the 20th century.

Extent

2 folders; (2 items)

Overview

Two unrelated letters written by the major American author Willa Cather (1873-1947). The first is to a "Mr. Towne" and is dated 17 November [1922]. The second is written to Brother Emil Mohr, CSC, and is dated 7 May 1937.

Arrangement Note

The collection consists of one series; materials are arranged chronologically, one item per folder.

Acquisition and Processing Note

The circumstances surrounding the acquisition of these letters by the Hesburgh Libraries are not known. Arranged and described 2010, by George Rugg. EAD 2013, by Kenneth Kinslow.

Related Materials

Nearly 80 institutions hold Cather letters. The most important collections are those at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Harvard University, the Willa Cather Foundation located in Red Cloud, Nebraska, the Nebraska State Historical Society, the University of Vermont, the Morgan Library, and Yale University. The most important book of published letters is: The Selected Letters of Willa Cather, edited by Andrew Jewell and Janis Stout (New York: Knopf, 2013).
Title
Willa Cather Letters
Status
Completed
Author
Kenneth Kinslow
Date
October 2013
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

Contact:
102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556
574-631-0290