Cather Symposium 2022

Some of Willa Cather's letters

Willa Cather’s Letters/ Willa Cather and Letters: A Symposium Commemorating The Complete Letters of Willa Cather

October 10, 2022

Platte River Room, Nebraska Union

University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Willa Cather at a writing desk


8:45 a.m. Welcome

9:00-10:15 a.m. Panel 1: Cather’s letters and fandom

  • Charles Johanningsmeier, University of Nebraska-Omaha, “Cather’s Letters to – and from – Her Readers, and the Challenge They Represent.”
  • John Flannigan, Prairie State College (retired), “The ‘Very Especial Pleasure’ of Places: Fan Letters from Willa Cather”

10:15-10:30 a.m. Break

10:30-11:45 a.m. Panel 2: Cather’s correspondence with women artists

  • Jessica Tebo, University of Colorado at Boulder, “Letters from Olive Fremstad to Willa Cather: A View Beyond the Song of the Lark
  • Sara Bryant, Swarthmore College, “Queer Affinity and Mass-Culture Fame: The Letters and Friendship between Willa Cather and Zoë Akins”

11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Lunch break

1:00-2:00 p.m. Panel 3: “Patterns and Outliers Across Cather’s Correspondence”

  • Gabi Kirilloff, Washington University in St. Louis, presenting on work in collaboration with Matthew Lavin, Denison College, and Sean McCollough, TCU
  • Conversation led by Andrew Jewell, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

2:15-3:30 p.m. Panel 4: Personal correspondence, professional correspondence, and the blurred line between them

  • Troy Hassinger, Independent Scholar, “Print Media Ecologies and Editorial Visions: Willa Cather’s Letters to McClure’s Magazine and the Emergence of the Early Twentieth-Century Periodical Press.”
  • Laurie Weber, Independent Scholar, “‘My Dear Boy’: Willa Cather’s Correspondence with Roscoe Cather”

3:45-5:00 Roundtable on digital editing American women authors’ letters

  • Chair: Andrew Jewell
  • Melissa Bradshaw, Loyola University Chicago
  • Nicole Gray, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Melissa Homestead, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Emily Rau, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

This symposium is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Melissa Homestead at