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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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Press Room

Press Room

Welcome to our press room! We invite journalists, editors, bloggers, and the public to visit this page often for the latest newsworthy information about our activities, events, and announcements.

Please browse the sub-sections that follow for contact information, buzz about Cather, her ongoing relevance, links to our social media, and the work of the Willa Cather Foundation in Red Cloud, Nebraska.

Contact Information

Contact Information
Contact Information

Catherine Pond, Marketing Coordinator:

The National Willa Cather Center 
413 North Webster Street 
Red Cloud, NE 68970

To reach us during open office hours, please call: (402) 746-2653 or email


@WillaCatherFdn (National Willa Cather Center)


Why Willa Cather, Why Now?

Why Willa Cather, Why Now?
Why Willa Cather, Why Now?

In 2022, Willa Cather, representing Nebraska, will join only a few other women sculptures in National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Willa Cather (1873-1947) is an author of complex American stories, written from a perspective and in a style that literature had not been seen previously. When she was nine, Cather and her family traveled west from Virginia to Webster County, Nebraska. The region had been largely settled by the Kitkehahki band of the Pawnee tribe who had farmed and hunted buffalo along the Republican River for centuries—and where the displaced Pawnee Nation still considers to be the center of the universe. Moving to Red Cloud exposed Cather to new ethnic groups and childhood experiences. Through her lifelong learning and many interests, she would come to explore, shape, and write about these and other new worlds throughout her life.

A self-made woman, Cather told stories of homesteaders, the settlement and growth of middle America through the arrival of diverse immigrant groups during the late-nineteenth century, the legacies of slavery and the Civil War, the First World War, community, and the pursuit of artistic success. Decades after her death, her work remains popular, relevant, and loved by readers worldwide.

The following points are illustrative of her importance as an American writer active in the first part of the 20th Century, but whose work and influence resonate into the 21st Century:

  • Cather took regional stories—with universal themes—and elevated them to a national and international readership (while also elevating Nebraska in her love for it, and its people).
  • Cather’s writing details and explores the complication of precise historical moments.
  • Cather’s writing endures, and is still widely read and critiqued. It has been translated into over forty languages.
  • Cather, not an especially political writer, evoked the cultural and political times her characters know.
  • Cather’s career began with stunning success in journalism—several years as managing editor of the leading monthly magazine of the day, McClure’s—which she left to write fulltime in 1912.
  • Cather was a self-made woman who did not conform to societal norms; she was urbane and urban, ironically given her largely western subjects, for she made New York City her home from 1906-1947 for most of her life.
  • Cather was the first American writer to use the Great Plains as a detailed setting for fiction; she taught her readers how to see the prairie-plains. She built worlds.
  • Cather’s evocation of the American Southwest, with its mix of diverse cultures—Indigenous, Hispanic, and other Euroamerican—is singular in her work. She did the same with seventeenth-century New France in Shadows on the Rock.
  • Cather was above all a creator: of her own career, of her persona, and of literary worlds.
  • Cather was an unspoken ally and presence within the LGBTQ+ community of her day.

Since 1955, Cather’s legacy has been shared from Red Cloud through the ongoing efforts of the Willa Cather Foundation and their National Willa Cather Center.

About the Willa Cather Foundation

About the Willa Cather Foundation
About the Willa Cather Foundation

Founded in 1955, the Foundation operates the National Willa Cather Center and promotes Willa Cather’s legacy through education, preservation, and the arts. It also maintains the largest collection of historic sites related to any American author, including the following places that featured in Cather’s life or literature:

Programs and services include regular guided historic site tours, conservation of the 612-acre Willa Cather Memorial Prairie, and organization of year-round cultural programs and exhibits at the restored Red Cloud Opera House. The Collections & Archives at the National Willa Cather Center are available for research and significant archival and digital collections related to the life, work, and family of Willa Cather. Programs include the annual Willa Cather Spring Conferences and biennial International Cather Seminars, which aim to foster appreciation and scholarship of Cather's life, time, and work. Several scholarship programs are available to educators and students and the Foundation also publishes the Willa Cather Review—a leading source for Cather-related news, features, and scholarship.

About the National Willa Cather Center

About the National Willa Cather Center
About the National Willa Cather Center

Located in the heart of downtown Red Cloud, the National Willa Cather Center was completed in 2017 as a successful historic adaptive reuse project that also incorporates the Red Cloud Opera House (restored in 2003). It contains an archive, museum, gallery, and study center owned and operated by the Willa Cather Foundation.

About Red Cloud

About Red Cloud
About Red Cloud

A rural and vibrant community of just over 1,000 people in south-central Nebraska on the Kansas border, Red Cloud is the place where Willa Cather lived from the age of nine to nineteen. Red Cloud appeared as a regular setting in Cather's work—in particular O Pioneers! (1913), The Song of the Lark (1915), My Ántonia (1918), One of Ours (1922), A Lost Lady (1923), and Lucy Gayheart (1935). Even though Cather lived on the east coast for decades, and New York for most of her life, she often returned to Red Cloud to visit friends and family. 

For more about Red Cloud, visit Red Cloud Tourism & Commerce or contact Jarrod McCartney, Director at

Press Releases

Press Releases
Press Releases

Press Releases

Thursday, September 10, 2015
RED CLOUD, NEB. (August 12, 2015) — The Red Cloud Opera House invites you to suspend yourself in disbelief and come along with Earl Bates as “Will Rogers in the 21st Century...
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
The Willa Cather Foundation is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark with a series of special activities in Red Cloud. Weekend of Willa (...
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Each year the Willa Cather Foundation recognizes a volunteer who has been especially dedicated to helping the Foundation meet its mission. Volunteers are vital to the success...
Monday, June 29, 2015
When famed novelist Willa Cather received the advice to write about the part of the world she knew best, she turned for inspiration to the Nebraska prairie that impacted her...
Monday, June 1, 2015
The Willa Cather Foundation and University of Nebraska−Lincoln’s Cather Project are examining Willa Cather’s interest in the arts with a special exhibition and performance...
Friday, May 29, 2015
The public is invited to attend a free outdoor concert at the Nebraska State Historical Society’s Burlington Depot on Sunday, June 7. The show will feature flamenco classic...
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Nationally recognized historian Richard Norton Smith will deliver a keynote address at the 60th annual Spring Conference June 5-7, 2015, celebrating groundbreaking of the...
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
The first staged reading of a new musical entitled CATHERLAND will be premiering at the Red Cloud Opera House on Saturday, May 2nd, at 7:30 p.m. Playwright Becky Boesen and...
Friday, April 10, 2015
The Red Cloud Area Artists as a part of the Association of Nebraska Art Clubs and the Willa Cather Foundation are pleased to display the “Best of Nebraska,” a statewide...
Monday, March 30, 2015
The Red Cloud Opera House will be hosting The String Beans on Saturday, April 4th at 10:30 a.m. This show is free to the public and will include a complimentary lunch. This...