Annotations from the Archive

The National Willa Cather Center houses one of the nation’s largest collections of materials related to the life and works of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather. Our museum and archival collections, housed in Cather's home town of Red Cloud, Nebraska, contain memorabilia, artifacts, historic photographs, art and decorative arts, journals, and rare book collections, as well as items belonging to Willa Cather like letters, clothing, jewelry, artwork, manuscripts, address books, journals, and sales ledgers for her novels, as well as hundreds of objects that belonged to the Cather family. Click here to Explore the Collection!

Our collections include:

  • Over 400 personal letters written by Willa Cather
  • Approximately 2000 images of Willa Cather, Cather family and friends, historic Red Cloud and Webster County
  • Articles and reviews of Cather's work, contemporaneous with their publication
  • The Cather Family Library, comprised of hundreds of volumes of books and magazines belonging to the Cather family, from the 1880s to the 1940s
  • McClure's magazines, 1896–1912, and other serials in which Cather published 
  • Newspapers from Red Cloud (on microfilm)
    • Commercial Advertiser: May 1908 to October 1968 (64 reels)
    • Golden Belt: 1893 to 1896 (1 reel)
    • The Nation: 1892 to 1908 (4 reels)
    • Red Cloud Chief: November 1878 to November 1923 (15 reels)
  • Other Newspapers (on microfilm)
    • Pittsburgh Leader: December 1896 to December 1900 (47 reels)
    • Pittsburgh Gazette: October 1901 to January 1904 (24 reels)
  • The Mildred Bennett Collection, which houses research notes and first-person source materials for early Cather studies
  • The Blanche Cather Ray Collection, which contains hundreds of documents and objects related to historical Webster County and the William Cather and George Cather families
  • The Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial Collection, the earliest collection of Cather materials on offer

Annotations from the Archive: Red Cloud's Founding

December 16, 2022

As we conclude restoration work on the Farmers and Merchants Bank building, we now undertake the work of reinterpreting the space to tell more of Red Cloud’s—and the National Willa Cather Center’s—story. The bank has always been a part of our guided town tour, but the renovated spaces will soon allow our guests to explore topics related to Lyra and Silas Garber, their lives and legacy in Red Cloud, and the broader history of the community.

Annotations From the Archives: Fan Mail

August 22, 2022

Our archives are home to not only Willa Cather’s letters, but to many of the letters that she received from her fans! Running the gamut from high school students to state politicians, Cather’s readers wrote to share their love for her writing and, often, the personal connections they felt to the subject matter. Cather herself saved many of these letters, sharing them with friends and family when she found them inspiring or her correspondents particularly interesting.