Public Outreach and the Willa Cather Archive

The Willa Cather Archive operates as more than just a digital project, and reaches out into the community through many different types of events and programming. We consider the WCA to be an archive without walls, blending the divisions between the University and the community, literature and culture, and the past, present, and future. Explore some of our past and ongoing public humanities initiatives and stay tuned for future events!

My Ántonia at 100: The Ongoing Story

Our short film, “Willa Cather’s My Ántonia at 100: The Ongoing Story,” was created throughout our year-long celebration of the 100th anniversary of the publication of My Ántonia, in collaboration with filmmaker Michael Burton. Special thanks to Jessica Dussault for performing the score, to each of our wonderful readers, and to of our community partners: The Willa Cather Foundation, Humanities Nebraska, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Rowe Sanctuary, Panhandle Business & Professional Women, and Community Crops.


Second Draughts Book Club

The Willa Cather Archive is partnering with Zipline Brewing Company for a monthly book club, Second Draughts. Each month, we will alternate between a Cather text and a contemporary text, focusing on local themes, topics, and people. Join us the first Thursday of each month at 7 for lively discussion over tasty beers at the Zipline Taproom!

Follow along with the Second Draughts Facebook group for announcements about upcoming meetings and book selections.

Second Draughts Poster

O Pie-and-Beers!

Our annual celebration of Willa Cather's life and works, O Pie-and-Beers! brings together the local Cather community to enjoy homemade pies, local beer, and fun. We host a raffle fundraiser for our friends at the National Willa Cather Center in Red Cloud, NE. NET covered our first annual O Pie-and-Beers! in a Nebraska Story, released on February 20, 2017.


Willa Cather's My Ántonia at 100: The Ongoing Story

In 2018, the Willa Cather Archive hosted a series of events throughout the state of Nebraska celebrating the 100th anniversary of the publication of Willa Cather's beloved novel, My Ántonia. The purpose of these events was not only to promote the study of Cather’s life and works within the larger community, but also to highlight the continued relevance of My Ántonia as a story that confronts contemporary issues, including immigration, religious difference, gender, class, and environmental preservation. These events were funded in part by Humanities Nebraska.

“The prayers of all good people are good”: Human Connection Across Religious Difference

Partnering with Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Omaha, NE, we hosted a panel discussion on religious difference, moderated by the Rev. Dr. Charles Peek. Panelists include: Rabbi Steven Abraham, the Rev. Canon Elizabeth L. Easton, Dr. Julia Feder, and Nuzhat Mahmood.

“Legends and stories nestled like birds in its branches”: The Changing Ecology of the Great Plains

Partnering with The National Willa Cather Center and the Iain Nicholson Audobon Center at Rowe Sanctuary we organized a field trip, which began at Rowe Sanctuary at sunrise, where viewed the Sandhill Crane migration within one of the Sanctuary’s blinds. Following the blind experience, we traveled to Red Cloud for a tour of the many Cather-related sites in and on the outskirts of town, including Cather’s childhood home, and ended with a visit to the Willa Cather Memorial Prairie.

“Black Hawk, the new world in which we had come to live”: Stories from the Red Cloud Community

A special session of the 63rd Annual Willa Cather Spring Conference focused on life in Red Cloud, NE, both during Cather’s life and today.

MA100 Poster
MA100 Photograph

“She was nearly as strong as I”: Being Woman in the Workplace

Partnering with Panhandle Business & Professional Women in Scottsbluff, NE, we hosted guest speakers, Emily Rau, managing editor of the Willa Cather Archive, and Ashley Olson, Executive Director of the National Willa Cather Center, who reflected on the life and work of Willa Cather, as well as on their own experiences working for organizations dedicated to the study of an important American woman writer.

“What a tableful we were at supper”: My Ántonia Birthday Feast

The Willa Cather Archive and Community Crops hosted a celebratory feast marking the exact 100th anniversary of the publication of My Ántonia, catered by three local Lincoln restaurants: El Chaparro, Habibi Kabob & Shawarma, and Vung Tau Pho Grill. While participants enjoyed the food and nearby community garden, we had local residents read a passage of My Ántonia in four different languages, celebrating the vibrant diversity of our community.