2021 Miriam Mountford Volunteer of the Year: Angela Duca

The National Willa Cather Center is delighted to announce that Angela Duca has received the 2021 Miriam Mountford Volunteer of the Year Award. It was presented at a recent reception at the Red Cloud Opera House on February 26, 2022.

"Angela has demonstrated a commitment to our mission for many years, first as a tour guide, and now as a volunteer," National Willa Cather Center executive director Ashley Olson said. "We're grateful that she continues to give her time and talent to benefit the organization."

After retiring as a tour guide in 2020, Angela transitioned immediately to an engaged volunteer, logging 135 hours in our archive where she organized organizational history clippings, reboxed archival materials, and assisted researchers.

"Angela's work in the archive has really focused on making our organizational history more accessible," education and archivist Tracy Tucker said. "From our very early days as the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial, volunteers collected clippings and news about our work, our volunteers and staff, Cather mentions and research, and information related to our historic sites in scrapbooks."

While fun to look through and an absolute treasure trove of information, the scrapbooks were not easy to search and took up a great deal of room in the vault in the Farmers & Merchants Bank. In preparation for restoration work to happen at the Bank, Angela agreed to tackle the huge project of "dealing with the scrapbooks." As a result, she has systematically reviewed every page and compiled chronological files of the materials, has rehoused and reorganized several smaller sub-collections, and done a lot of preparatory work that will, eventually, enable us to digitize and search these files.

Tracy added: "It's also nice to have Angela work with me each week; she was our lead tour guide when I started as the archivist, and she's been a wonderful collaborator and teacher over the years."

Thank you Angela, from every one of us at the National Willa Cather Center!

You can read more about Angela in her 2020 volunteer profile, HERE.

About the Miriam Mountford Volunteer Award

Recognizing the importance of a strong volunteer corps, the family of Miriam Mountford established this award in her memory as a perpetual tribute to those whose selfless service is at the heart of the Willa Cather Foundation's work. 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 of the Willa Cather Foundation, and the family of Miriam Mountford recognized the importance of a strong volunteer core when they established the Miriam Mountford Volunteer Award.

Mrs. Mountford, alongside founder Mildred Bennett, devised the first guided tours of Red Cloud and Catherland and was first editor of the Cather newsletter. As the first President of the Board of Governors after Mrs. Bennett, Mountford demonstrated that a grassroots endeavor could have an ongoing worldwide influence. Mrs. Mountford’s son Fritz has followed in his mother’s footsteps, actively serving our organization as a member of the Board of Governors for a number of years. 

Volunteer With Us

The Willa Cather Foundation has a variety of volunteer opportunities available, which include assisting with programs at the Red Cloud Opera House, landscaping at historic sites, and greeting and providing information to visitors and guests. If you are interested in volunteering, please call the Red Cloud Opera House at 402-746-2653 or email Rachel Olsen at