Albertinis Become Charter Members of Legacy Society

Dr. Virgil Albertini and his wife Dolores first visited Red Cloud in the 1970s on a road trip from Maryville, Missouri, over Thanksgiving break. During the visit, they learned about the Willa Cather Foundation’s annual Spring Conference. The couple later returned to attend their first Spring Conference in 1978 and have missed only one of the annual gatherings since that time.

“I first read My Ántonia as a sophomore in high school, and Cather has been of great interest since the late 1970s when we first came out,” recalled Virgil. During his many years as a professor at Northwest Missouri State University, Albertini often brought student groups from his Cather class to Red Cloud, typically departing at 4:00 a.m. and returning around midnight. “The students saw all the things Cather wrote about come alive in Red Cloud and the surrounding countryside, and they would always have much to talk about on the way home,” Dolores said.

After observing the work of the WCF for many years, the Albertinis have become charter members of the Cather Legacy Society by making a charitable bequest to the Foundation in their estate plans. Recognizing that the WCF will carry out their charitable goals far beyond their lifetime, the Albertinis’ bequest will support preservation efforts at the Cather historic sites in Red Cloud. The couple has always enjoyed visiting author sites in New England, but Red Cloud holds a special place in their hearts. “If people haven’t been to Red Cloud, they don’t understand,” remarked Virgil. “It’s the most important literary village in America.”

When asked what excites them most about the future of the WCF, Dolores, a retired librarian, remarked that the addition of a climate-controlled archive within the National Willa Cather Center was particularly pleasing. The couple adores coming to Red Cloud and experiencing the “old-fashioned atmosphere.” They wish to pass along an appreciation for the Midwest and all it offers. “I want future generations to visit Red Cloud, discover Cather and recognize her not just as a Nebraska or Midwest writer, but as one of the best American writers alongside Hemingway and Faulkner,” remarked Virgil.

The Cather Legacy Society was founded to recognize individuals who make charitable gift plans to benefit the Willa Cather Foundation beyond their lifetime. Individuals who notify us of their plans in 2015 will join Virgil and Dolores Albertini as charter members of the Cather Legacy Society. If you have made a planned gift to the Foundation or would like more information about doing so, please contact Ashley Olson, Executive Director, at 402-746-2653 or