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Virtual Housewarming for the Cather Second Home

Virtual Housewarming for the Cather Second Home

Cather Second Home at 541 North Seward Street in Red Cloud, NE
Monday, July 11, 2011

In anticipation of the grand opening of the Cather Second Home, the Willa Cather Foundation is holding a virtual housewarming party in order to furnish the home with linens, china, cookware, and other basic housewares. Please join us in celebrating this grand occasion by purchasing an item from one of the Foundation's gift registries. All contributors will have the opportunity to catch a sneak peek of the Cather Second Home restoration at a special reception on December 10, 2011. When fully furnished, the home will be available to house scholars, artists in residence, and other visitors to Red Cloud, Nebraska.

Please CLICK HERE to purchase linens for the Cather Second Home.

Please CLICK HERE to purchase cookware and other housewares.

Registry items may be mailed to the Foundation office at 413 North Webster Street, Red Cloud, Nebraska 68970. Please include a copy of the receipt in order to receive an acknowledgment for tax-deduction purposes. Thank you!

Thanks to a generous gift from Jim and Angela Southwick, the Willa Cather Foundation recently acquired the Cather Second Home, in Red Cloud, Nebraska. According to Jim Southwick, the home held wonderful memories for his mother, Helen Louise Cather Southwick. "Even in her final years, when very few other memories remained to her, she delighted in the recollection of helping her cousin Mary Virginia Auld serve tea to their Aunt Willa during her visits to Red Cloud. Angela and I felt very strongly that a site so important to my mother and to Willa Cather needed to be preserved for posterity," said Southwick, the grand nephew of Willa Cather. Cather Second Home at 541 North Seward Street in Red Cloud, Nebraska
Willa Cather's parents purchased this home in 1903 and left their little rented home at Third and Cedar where Willa had spent her formative years. She was 30 at the time. Over the next 28 years, Willa often visited her family in this house during summers and occasionally for Christmas. It has been reported that she used to put up a tent-like awning on the upper front porch and spent a great deal of time there. Cather's last visit to Red Cloud was for a family reunion at Christmas in 1931. She described this house as the Ferguesson family home in one of her short stories, "The Best Years," in her book, Five Stories.

"Taking ownership of this home is a wonderful addition to the scope of the Foundation's activities, both in preserving another site intimately connected to Cather's life, as well as allowing us to house some of our visitors to Red Cloud in an appropriate historic structure," said Jay Yost, President Emeritus.

Over the past 56 years, the Willa Cather Foundation has worked to preserve and promote the art, literary, and historical collection relating to the life, time, and work of Willa Cather; one of America's-and the world's-most beloved and respected authors. The Foundation is based in Red Cloud, Nebraska, where Willa Cather moved to when she was 9 years old. In total, the Willa Cather Historic Site comprises the largest number of national historic-designated buildings devoted to a single author in the United States. With the addition of the Cather Second Home, the Foundation owns four historic sites related to Cather's life and work, a 608-acre native prairie, and manages six historic sites owned by the Nebraska State Historic Society.

The Cather Second Home was purchased by Doug and Charlene Hoschouer in 1998. Doug and Charlene restored the historic home based on information given to them by Willa Cather's niece Helen Cather Southwick which is described in the book The House According to Helen which is available from Cather Books & Gifts. The Hoschouers operated the home as a bed and breakfast, which was later purchased and operated by Dee McCurdy who then closed its doors in 2010.

A virtual housewarming party is planned for later this year in order to supply the home with linens, china, and period appropriate furnishings. Anyone wishing to make an in-kind gift can contact the Foundation toll-free at 866-731-7304.

Please CLICK HERE to listen to the NET Radio story about the Foundation's acquisition of the Cather Second Home.