Willa Cather Birthplace

The Willa Cather Birthplace, also known as the Rachel E. Boak House, is the site near Gore, Frederick County, Virginia, where the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather was born in 1873.

Built in the early 19th century by her great-grandfather Jacob Seibert, the house was added on to and remodeled in 1850. Cather's maternal grandmother Rachel E. Boak lived in the house at the time of her parents' marriage in 1872. The simple farmhouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Cather and her parents lived in the house only about a year before they moved to nearby Willow Shade, also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1883 the family moved to Red Cloud, Nebraska, where Cather grew up.

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    I think of you more often than of anyone else in this part of the world. I’d have liked to have you for a sweetheart, or a wife, or my mother or my sister—anything that a woman can be to a man. The idea of you is a part of my mind; you influence my likes and dislikes, all my tastes, hundreds of times when I don’t realize it. You really are a part of me.
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