Melissa J. Homestead's Profile Image
Professor of English and Director of the Cather Project

Program Faculty in Women's & Gender Studies

Professional Activities

Director, The Cather Project

Member, Steering Committee, Nineteenth-Century Studies Program

Member, Research Council

Member, Program Advisory Committee and Personnel Committee, Women’s & Gender Studies

Selected Publications and Projects


The Only Wonderful Things: The Creative Partnership of Willa Cather and Edith Lewis. New York: Oxford UP, 2021. Winner, Nebraska Book Award for Nonfiction: Biography; Honoree, Bernard J. Brommel Award for Biography.

American Women Authors and Literary Property, 1822-1869. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005 (pbk 2010) (chapters on Catharine Sedgwick, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Fanny Fern, Augusta Jane Evans, and Mary Virginia Terhune).

With Ellen Foster, co-editor Clarence; or, a Tale of Our Times (1830) by Catharine Maria Sedgwick. Peterborough, ON: Broadview, 2011. Honorable Mention, Society for the Study of American Women Writers Edition Award, 2012. Introduction available here

With Guy Reynolds, co-editor Willa Cather and Modern Cultures. Cather Studies 9. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2011 and on the Cather Archive

With Pamela T. Washington, co-editor, E.D.E.N. Southworth: Recovering a Nineteenth-Century Popular Novelist. U of Tennessee P, December 2012. Introduction available here

Digital Projects

Project Director of a digital edition of Every Week Magazine (1915-1918).

Co-Editor, The Complete Letters of Willa Cather, funded by an NEH Scholarly Editions Grant.

Selected Recent Articles

(many of these and others available on the UNL Digital Commons)

With Marie Léger-St-Jean, “‘Changed to suit the English market’: American Novelist E. D. E. N. Southworth in George Stiff’s London Penny Weeklies,” Book History, 26, no. 1 (Spring 2023): 150-175

“Teaching American Women’s Authorship in the American Literature Survey through the History of the Book,” Teaching the History of the Book. Edited by Emily Todd and Matteo Pangallo. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2023. 284-91

“The Long Career of Augusta Jane Evans (Wilson).” In Nineteenth-Century American Literature in Transition, Vol. III: 1851-1877, ed. Cody Marrs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022. 42-57.

“Willa Cather’s Letters in the Archive,” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature special issue on “Women and Archives,” 40, no. 1 (Spring 2021): 95-118.

“What Was Boston Marriage?: Sarah Orne Jewett and Biography,” J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, in Forum feature “Not Quite a Turn: Rethinking Biography and Evidence,” 9, no. 1 (Spring 2021): 129-135.

“Writing, Revising, and Promoting The Professor’s House: New Evidence of Willa Cather at Work.” Willa Cather Review. 62, no. 2 (Winter 2021): 32-40.

“Willa Cather in the Denver Times in 1915 and New Evidence of the Origins of The Professor’s House.” Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, 35, no. 2 (December 2018): 187-209.

“Willa Cather on ‘A New World Novelist’: A Newly Discovered Essay from Vanity Fair in 1920.” American Literary Realism 50, no. 2 (2018): 164-79.

“‘Live Property’: Willa Cather’s 1926 Revisions to the Introduction of My Antonia and the Specter of Nineteenth-Century Women’s Regionalism.” In “Something Complete and Great”: The Centennial Study of My Antonia, ed. Holly Blackford. Madison: NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2017. 81-101.

“Yet More Cather-Knopf Correspondence.” Willa Cather Review 60, no. 2 (Winter 2017): 2-10.

“The Composing, Editing, and Publication of Willa Cather’s Obscure Destinies Stories.” Scholarly Editing: The Annual of the Association for Documentary Editing 38 (2017)

“Buried in Plain Sight: Unearthing Willa Cather’s Allusion to Thomas William Parsons’ ‘The Sculptor’s Funeral’,” Studies in American Fiction 43.2 (2016): 207-229.

“Willa Cather Editing Sarah Orne Jewett.” American Literary Realism 49.1 (2016): 63-89.

“The Transatlantic Village: The Rise and Fall of the Epistolary Friendship of Catharine Maria Sedgwick and Mary Russell Mitford.” Edinburgh Companion to Nineteenth-Century American Letters and Letter-Writing, Eds. Celeste-Marie Bernier, Judie Newman and Matthew Pethers. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2016. 538-553.

“American Novelist Catharine Sedgwick Negotiates British Copyright, 1822-57.” Yearbook of English Studies 45 (2015): 196-215. Topic: Book History and Literature, eds. Stephen Colclough and Sandro Jung.

“Willa Cather, Sarah Orne Jewett, and the Historiography of Lesbian Sexuality.” Willa Cather and the Nineteenth Century (Cather Studies 10). Ed. Anne L. Kaufman and Richard H. Millington. Lincoln: U of Nebraska P, 2015. 3-37.

With Terry Heller, "'The Other One': An Unpublished Chapter of Sarah Orne Jewett's Country of the Pointed Firs," J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists 2.2 (2014): 133-167.

“Willa Cather, Edith Lewis, and Collaboration: The Southwestern Novels of the 1920s and Beyond.” Studies in the Novel 45.3 (2013): 408-431.

“From Periodical to Book in her Early Career: E. D. E. N. Southworth’s Letters to Abraham Hart.” Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers 29.1 (2012): 115-47.

“The Shape of Catharine Sedgwick’s Career.” Cambridge History of American Women’s Literature. Ed. Dale Bauer. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2012. 185-203.

Introductions and Bibliographies

Introduction, The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather. New York: Signet Classics, 2007.

Lucinda L. Damon-Bach, Allison J. Roepsch, and Melissa J. Homestead. “Chronological Bibliography of the Works of Catharine Maria Sedgwick.” Catharine Maria Sedgwick: Critical Perspectives. Ed. Lucinda L. Damon-Bach and Victoria Clements. Boston: Northeastern UP, 2002. 295-313.

Melissa J. Homestead and Vicki L. Martin. “Chronological Bibliography of E.D.E.N. Southworth’s Works Privileging Periodical Publication.” E.D.E.N. Southworth: Recovering a Nineteenth-Century Popular Novelist. Melissa J. Homestead and Pamela T. Washington, eds. Knoxville: U of Tennessee P, 2012. 285-306.

Courses Regularly Taught

Graduate seminars on women writers (including Willa Cather) and Nineteenth-Century Studies

Undergraduate classes in women writers and nineteenth-century American literature


Ph.D. (1998), University of Pennsylvania

A.M. (1987), University of Pennsylvania

A.B. (1985), Smith College
Magna cum laude with high honors in English

Areas of Interest

American Literature and the History of the Book from the Early Republic through the early 20th century, with a focus on women's authorship

Willa Cather, Catharine Sedgwick, E.D.E.N. Southworth, and Harriet Beecher Stowe

The American novel

Lesbian literature, history, and biography