Profile of the Day: Willa Cather

Posted December 7, 2022 by Amanda | No Comment

On this day in 1873, American author Willa Cather was born in Back Creek Valley, Virginia. She was best known for her novels O Pioneers!The Song of the Lark, and My Ántonia, which vividly depicted frontier life on the Great Plains.

Image: Willa Cather / Library of Congress

She was born Wilella Sibert Cather on December 7, 1873 on her maternal grandmother’s farm in the Back Creek Valley near Winchester, Virginia. For six generations, her family had lived on land in the valley.

In 1883, her family moved to Nebraska to seek new opportunities. Growing up on the frontier, Cather felt a strong kinship with the immigrant families struggling to forge new lives on the Nebraska plains. She incorporated much of her early experiences into her work, often writing of the strong frontier spirit she observed growing up. Her novel, My Ántonia, is widely considered one of Cather’s best works for bringing the American West to life.

Explore Willa Cather’s family tree on Geni! 

View Willa Cather’s Geni Profile

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