The Willa Cather Archive, sponsored by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, describes itself as “an ambitious endeavor to create a rich, useful, and widely accessible site for the study of Willa Cather’s life and writings.” And ambitious it is. Redesigned in May of this year, it states it is now “even mobile-friendly.”
The website is divided into six sections: “Writings,” “Life,” “Scholarship,” “Images & Multimedia,” “Community,” and “About.” The meat of the website is in the first four sections.
In “Writings,” there are eight first editions of her books and five Willa Cather Scholarly Editions. The first editions contain all images and page breaks, with a transcript of the page together with the page image. The short stories and essays that originally appeared in periodicals are scanned from the original periodical page. In addition, there are 33 interviews with Cather, eight speeches, and ten public letters.
“Calendar of the Letters of Willa Cather, An Expanded, Digital Edition” is a version of the 2002 print volume, and the archive is currently working on a complete set of 3,000 letters. The user can currently search more than 2,000 letters by date, people to whom the letters were written, literary characters she created, and even keywords.
This site has a unique geographic chronology feature. Users can see where Cather traveled, when she traveled, and with whom she visited. Users can zoom in to an area and select a place she visited (notated by an icon); clicking on the icon gives the reader information on the location and why she was there (including a citation for the information). Users can also browse the map by time period or location.
The “Bibliography of Cather’s Readings” is an attempt to provide scholars with a “reference guide to the hundreds of direct references to written material Cather makes in her work and letters.” References range from Robert Burns to Mother Goose.
Whether one is new to her works and just wants to read My Ántonia or one is a scholar wanting to view a concordance of O Pioneers!, this site will satisfy all.
Source: College & Research Libraries News : Internet Reviews. September 2015. Delores Carlito - University of Alabama-Birmingham, email@example.com.