"The most cogent, balanced biography of Cather to date, one that explores her many dimensions as a journalist, magazine editor, teacher, and novelist...Altogether, this smoothly written, richly detailed biography augments Willa Cather's claims to literary greatness." (New York Times Book Review). "Magnificent photograph ...beautifully arranged and reproduced. The book has been edited with taste and knowledge by the foremost Cather specialist...There are not many perfect books in any category. This is one of them." (Edward Wagenknecht, The Book Parade). "A book to own, if you know and love Willa Cather's work. And if you don't, you ought to."(Anne Crutcher, Washington Star-News). "A vivid glimpse of the extraordinary range of an American literary career." (Archer Finch, Book-of-the-Month Club News). "A superb book, a happy mating of pictures and text." (Victor P. Haas, Omaha Sunday World-Herald Magazine). Reissued by popular demand, Willa Cather: A Pictorial Memoir reveals in unforgettable scenes the life and sources of inspiration of a major American author. Three national awards for excellence followed its publication in 1972 by the University of Nebraska Press.
Part I tells the story of her Virginia childhood and her formative years on the Divide in Nebraska, in Red Cloud, and in Lincoln, where she attended the university and began her professional career. From 1896 to 1906 Willa Cather lived in Pittsburgh and Washington, D. C., working as a magazine editor, reporter, literary and dramatic critic, and teacher before going on to New York to become managing editor of McClure's Magazine. After 1913, when her fourth book, O Pioneers!, established her as an important author and she began to devote herself solely to writing, the essence of Willa Cather's life is to be found in her work. However, the biographical account traces her career through its later, more publicized years, including many hitherto unpublished or little-known photographs and snapshots of Miss Cather, her family and friends, and the places she loved. Place was important in Willa Cather's writing, and three pictorial essays in Part II are arranged geographically according to the locales of her fiction. Their effect is to suggest the emotional and artistic range of a career that produced such classics as My Antonia and Death Comes for the Archbishop.
The book includes 192 illustrations, 38 in full color. Among them are 82 photographs by Lucia Woods, which were specially commissioned for Willa Cather: A Pictorial Memoir. Lucia Woods of Chicago and New York has exhibited across Nebraska, at Darmouth, Sweet Briar, and the Art Insititute of Chicago, and in New York, Santa Fe, and London. She has made presentations to many groups, including the American Studies Association, and published essays with photographs in the Prairie Schooner and Great Plains Quarterly. Bernice Slote, a distinguished Cather scholar, was a professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her publications included editions of April Twilights (1903): Poems of Willa Cather (1962, 1968); The Kingdom of Art: Willa Cather's First Principles and Critical Statements, 1893-1896 (1967); and Uncle Valentine and Other Stories: Willa Cather's Uncollected Short Fiction (1973, 1986), all published by the UNP.