Willa Cather’s Pittsburgh Connection

Tonight we welcome Andrew Jewell to City of Asylum/Pittsburgh. Andrew, who is co-editor with Janis Stout of The Collected Letters of Willa Cather, will offer a reading from that newly-published book this evening here in the city that was Cather’s home for 11 years. He was on NPR’s Morning Edition earlier today.

Cather came to Pittsburgh in 1895, upon graduation from the University of Nebraska. She took a position as a telegraph editor and then became a drama critic for the old “Pittsburgh Leader.” She also taught a year at Central High School before becoming head of the English department at Allegheny High School, which is here on the Northside, near our offices. She lived in Squirrel Hill at 1180 Murray Hill Avenue; many of her early poems and stories describe events that took place in Pittsburgh: at Carnegie Music Hall, Schenley Park, Schenley Hotel and the fashionable residences of Fifth Ave. and Old Allegheny City. She published her first book while in Pittsburgh: “April Twilights” (1903). She became associate editor of “McClure’s Magazine” in 1906, and moved to New York, but often referred to Pittsburgh as the “birthplace” of her writing career.

UPDATE: View a slideshow from the reading.

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