Willa Cather (1873-1947) was born a dozen miles west of Winchester, on U. S. Route 50, in Back Creek, Virginia. Well-respected and broadly read by her contemporaries, Cather has grown in stature since her death to become a world-renowned American writer. Cather spent the first nine years of her life in Virginia, mostly at Willow Shade. Her final novel, Sapphira and the Slave Girl (1940) is set in Frederick County and Winchester, just before and after the Civil War, and it describes locales easily found by contemporary visitors.
The Willa Cather Institute of Shenandoah University is a dynamic memorial that honors her name and writing by perpetuating her interests in American literature, culture and the fine arts. The Willa Cather Institute supports development of academic programs for students, and it sponsors public lectures and discussions devoted to Cather’s work and lifelong interests. The Willa Cather Institute operates through the generous support of donors.
To learn more about The Willa Cather Institute please contact:
John T. Jacobs, Ph.D., Professor of English
Director, The Willa Cather Institute
Telephone: (540) 665-4597