The Reading Life of Willa Cather

February 9, 2018



Though her work is set in the heartland of America it was in New York City where Willa Cather lived off and on for most of her adult life.


In 1928 Willa Cather joined the New York Society Library and until her death in 1947, it is safe to say that she and her partner Edith Lewis were active library users.


Currently on view at NYSL is an exhibition showcasing the Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s relationship to the Library and to the city.


The exhibit features a slew of lending cards that give us an inside look at Cather's reading life. 

“I’m not sure themes or preferences emerge except that one is always aware of Cather’s questing, inquisitive mind and her intense interest in literature past and present. And what a mind!”  says Harriet Shapiro, head of exhibitions at the NYSL


Also on view is an essay by Truman Capote describing his humorous meeting with Cather at the Library during a 1942 snowstorm, a selection of Cather first editions and a look at the books Cather used while writing Sapphira and the Slave Girl ( published in1940)


h/t Slate What Willa Cather Read


Willa Cather portrait by the Aimé Dupont Studio, c. 1910. Willa Cather Foundation.



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