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Willa Cather Foundation - Red Cloud Nebraska (NE)

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Remembering Ántonia

Remembering Ántonia

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

As we commemorate the centennial of My Ántonia, the Willa Cather Foundation would like to announce a special project that examines the life of the woman behind Cather’s beloved character, Ántonia Shimerda. We are pleased to introduce Anna Pavelka through the tender memories of her descendants, Paula Hempel Daharsh, Kent Pavelka, and Antonette Willa Skupa Turner. Each interview allows the viewer to gain a small, but significant look into the life of a strong, hardworking, and loving woman. A woman who endured hardships, celebrated life’s successes, and left an impression on her family that has lasted over several generations. Stay tuned as we release the series over the next week and get to know Cather’s friend Anna Pavelka.

We would like to thank Andrew Dickinson Photo and Video and the descendants of Anna Pavelka for their assistance in the creation of this project. Funding was made possible through the sponsorship of the Niobrara-Butler Chapter of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution National Headquarters and the Willa Cather Foundation.

Remembering Ántonia: Paula Hempel Daharsh
We hope you enjoyed the preview of our interview series on Anna Pavelka, the woman behind Cather’s character, Ántonia Shimerda. To officially launch the series, we will first hear from Anna’s great-granddaughter, Paula Hempel Daharsh. Paula shares her memories through photographs, hand-crafted heirlooms, and the stories of her grandfather, Leo Pavelka. Even though Paula never had the opportunity to meet Anna, this interview is evidence of how love and respect for one woman can be passed down for generations.

Remembering Ántonia: Kent Pavelka

As we continue with our series Remembering Ántonia, we will hear from Anna Sadilek Pavelka's grandson, Kent Pavelka. Although Kent was a young boy when Anna passed away, he recounts the quiet and loving personality of his grandmother. He also shares stories passed down from his father, Edward, about their trips to “Cather Country.” As recounted in this interview, Kent is passionate about relaying the similarities between the lives of Cather’s character, Ántonia, to Anna Pavelka.

Remembering Ántonia: Antonette Willa Skupa Turner

The final interview of our "Remembering Ántonia" series is with someone who is very close to our hearts, as this member of Anna Sadilek Pavelka's family has spent decades telling Anna’s story and supporting the Willa Cather Foundation's educational mission. We are honored to introduce Anna’s granddaughter, Antonette Willa Skupa Turner. Antonette has spent countless hours speaking to groups of all ages about Anna, Cather, and Webster County. We hope you'll enjoy an intimate look at the life of Anna Pavelka as Antonette recounts her memories of her grandmother's life—as well as her traits, skills, and attributes.