Pre-University Days

Young Willa Cather

Willa Cather was born Wilella Sibert Cather near Winchester, Virginia on December 7 in 1873.  She was born in the home of her maternal grandmother, as the first child of seven to Charles Cather and Mary Virginia Boak Cather.  In her childhood, the family moved to Nebraska, eventually settling in Red Cloud, the town made famous by her writings.  The nine-year-old had trouble adjusting to her new life on the prairie, but after a year, Cather had developed a fierce passion for the land, something that would remain at the core of her writing.  She was homeschooled at first, but later went to elementary and secondary school in Red Cloud.  After high school she attended a preparatory school in Lincoln(Willa Cather Archive; Woodress).  Her writings were always influenced most by her time living in the prairies and in Lincoln.