Intellectual Property

The Willa Cather Trust

The rights to Willa Cather's intellectual property are held by the University of Nebraska Foundation, the Willa Cather Foundation, and a member of the Cather family, a partnership collectively known as the Willa Cather Trust. The Willa Cather Trust seeks to effectively manage its assets while simultaneously promoting research, publications, and performances relating to Willa Cather's life and works.

Since Willa Cather's death in 1947, the executors of her estate have been bound by restrictions established in her will, including a ban on the publication of her letters and the adaptation of her works into other mediums. However, under the terms of the same will, these prohibitions expired upon the death of her nephew Charles Edwin Cather, who died March 14, 2011. The Willa Cather Trust does consider requests to publish Cather's letters and/or adapt her works into other mediums.

The Cather Trust respects the Fair Use provision of U.S. copyright law (17 U.S.C. § 107) which allows small excerpts to be utilized for educational, not-for-profit purposes without fee or explicit permission. The Cather Trust allows an excerpt of less than 10 percent of the total work to be published in educational, not-for-profit publications without fee or explicit permission. This allowance applies to  published writings that have yet to enter the public domain.  A "work" is understood as a text with recognizable unity, such as a novel, a short story, or an essay.  For unpublished materials, the "work" is constituted by whatever the holding archive has deemed an "item" in its collection.

To make a permission request, please download the PDF file using the link provided below and send it to:

Download the Request for Permission Form

Willa Cather Trust
℅ Ashley Olson, The Willa Cather Foundation
413 North Webster, Red Cloud, Nebraska (NE) 68970

or via email at

We try to respond to requests within 2-4 weeks.

If you have any questions regarding the Willa Cather Trust, you may contact Ashley Olson (