English, Department of


First Advisor

Melissa J. Homestead

Second Advisor

Andrew Jewell

Third Advisor

Maureen Honey

Date of this Version

Spring 4-18-2019


Weber, Laurie Ann. "'My Dear Boy': Roscoe Cather's Role within Willa Cather's Kingdom of Art." MA thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2019.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: English, Under the Supervision of Professor Melissa J. Homestead. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2019.

Copyright (c) 2019 Laurie Ann Weber


The 2007 donation to the University of Nebraska of correspondence, photos, books, and other materials belonging to the family of Willa Cather’s next younger brother, Roscoe Cather, provides evidence of an intimate relationship between the two siblings. In addition to relying upon Roscoe’s financial management and advice, Willa Cather frequently shared information with him about her writing and the public reception of her writing for which I have identified two main purposes: a desire to favorably influence his opinion of her writing and a desire to seek his input as a middlebrow reader of her literature. This thesis discusses a sampling of letters, a book Willa gave as a gift to Roscoe, and a small scrapbook of English reviews she shared with him to demonstrate her desire to positively influence Roscoe’s perceptions of her level of achievement in the world of literature and to seek his middlebrow reader reaction. Roscoe fulfilled not only the role of her most consistently supportive family member in regards to her writing, but also served as an average reader to whom Willa Cather did desire to appeal, even though she did not publicly articulate that desire.

Advisor: Melissa J. Homestead