Women Writers 


20th Century

Willa Cather || Naomi Shihab Nye || Flannery O'Connor || Katherine Anne Porter
Dorothy Scarborough || Gertrude Stein || Donna Tartt || Mary Gladys Meredith Webb
Eudora Welty || Virginia Woolf

Willa Cather, 1873-1947

Willa Cather was born in Virginia and lived in Nebraska, Pittsburgh, and New York. After graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1891, she supported herself as a journalist, as an editor for Home Monthly, and as a high school teacher. Her first publication was April Twilights (1903), a book of poetry. She went on to write twelve novels and numerous short stories, and also to serve as an editor to McClure’s magazine. The Cather editions are part of the Larry McMurtry Collection, UNT Libraries, Rare Book Room.

April Twilights. Boston: The Gorham Press, 1903. First edition. Cather’s first book.

The Troll Garden. New York: McClure, Phillips & Co., 1905. First edition, second issue.

A Lost Lady. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1923. First edition, first trade issue.

A Lost Lady. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1923. First edition, first issue.

The Professor’s House. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1925. First edition, first trade issue.

Death Comes for the Archbishop. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1927. First edition, first trade issue.

Death Comes for the Archbishop

Death Comes for the Archbishop. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1929. Illustrated edition with drawings by Harold Von Schmidt.

Lucy Gayheart. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1935. First edition, first trade issue.

Sapphira and the Slave Girl. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1940. First edition, first trade issue.

Saphhira and the Slave Girl

Naomi Shihab Nye

Award winning poet and Texas resident Naomi Shihab Nye graduated from Trinity University (San Antonio 1974) and currently resides in San Antonio. Her publications on display include several limited editions, fine press books by the Iguana Press.

On the Edge of the Sky. Madison: Iguana Press, 1981. Limited edition of 190 copies.

Arabic Coffee. Madison: Iguana Press, 1986. Limited edition of 200 copies.


Invisible. [Denton, TX]: The Trilobite Press, 1987. Printed in commemoration of a reading by Nye for the Friends of the UNT Libraries.

Tomorrow We Smile: A Short Story. Madison: Iguana Press, 1990. Limited edition of 100 copies.

The Miracle of Typing. Madison: Iguana Press, 1991. Limited edition of 200 copies.

Flannery O’Connor, 1925-1964

Flannery O’Connor, short story and novel writer, was born in Georgia to a Catholic family. She attended Georgia State College and was later invited to the Writers’ Workshop of the University of Iowa and Yaddo Artists Colony in Saratoga Springs, New York. Through workshops, she met other well-known writers, including Robert Lowell, John Crowe Ransom, and Elizabeth Hardwick. Her time in New York was cut short when she contracted lupus and was forced to live with her mother in Milledgeville, Georgia, for the remaining fifteen years of her life. There, she continued to write actively and publish numerous short stories and two novels. Her writing, set in the Deep South, often deals with religion in relationship to a loss of grace, and concentrates on dark, sometimes fatal, aspects in human nature. A Good Man is Hard to Find is a collection of some of O’Connor’s best known stories, including her most well known, "A Good Man is Hard to Find."

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

A Good Man Is Hard to Find. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1955. First edition.

Katherine Anne Porter, 1890-1980

Katherine Anne Porter was born in Indian Creek, Texas. The deaths of her mother and grandmother left Porter and her four siblings with a financially destitute father, and she and her sister began teaching classes in the dramatic arts to support themselves. Porter married at age sixteen, but after nine years left for Chicago to pursue a career in film. Unsuccessful, she turned to journalism and various other writing and teaching jobs, and, subsequently, began writing short stories. During the 1920s and 1930s, Porter’s fiction career flourished with the releases of her collected stories in Flowering Judas and Pale Horse, Pale Rider. Her stories are often set in the southern United States and Mexico, where she lived in the early 1930s.

My Chinese Marriage. New York: Duffield and Company, 1921. First edition.

Released under the authorship of M.T.F (Mae M. Franking), My Chinese Marriage was ghostwritten by Porter.

Flowering Judas. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1930. First edition, limited to 600 copies.

Katherine Anne Porter’s French Song-Book. Paris: Harrison of Paris, 1933. First edition.

Pale Horse, Pale Rider. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1939. First edition.

Pale Horse, Pale Rider

Dorothy Scarborough, 1878-1935

Scarborough was born near Tyler, Texas, just after the Reconstruction. In 1887, her family moved to Waco, where her father was elected to the Board of Trustees of Baylor University. In 1896, she graduated from Baylor with an M.A. in English and, in 1917, earned a Ph.D. from Columbia, where she later taught creative writing. Beginning in 1923, she had several successful novels published. Later in life, she turned her attention to folklore and obtained a grant from Columbia to collect Anglo ballads in Virginia and North Carolina (1930). Her two folklore publications, On the Trail of Negro Folksong and A Song Catcher in the Southern Mountains, continue to be regarded as standard references.

In the Land of Cotton

In the Land of Cotton. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1923. First edition.

Set in Waco, Scarborough's first novel was a product of Scarborough’s fieldwork and research into the sharecropping system in Texas.

The Wind
. New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1925. First edition.

Scarborough’s second novel is set in Sweetwater, Texas, during a drought in the mid-1880s. It focuses on the "harsh environment of the West and its impact on a delicate and sensitive heroine from Virginia. The heroine, Letty, is ultimately driven to madness, murder, and suicide by the combined elemental and demonic forces of the wind and sand. Scarborough fully utilized her training and background as a folklorist in this dramatic novel, weaving snatches of folksong, regional legends, and the ballad image of the Demon Lover. As a publicity stunt, the novel was first published anonymously. The ploy backfired, however, because Texans were outraged by their assumption that a Yankee had written this scathing attack on their beloved state" (Grider).

The Wind

Gertrude Stein, 1874-1946

Novelist, short story writer, essayist, and playright, Stein was the avant-garde, central figure in the American literary scene in Paris during the first half of the twentieth century. Stein’s Geographical History resulted out her reflections on the makings of literary masterpieces.

The Geographical History of America or the Relation of Human Nature to the Human Mind. New York: Random House, 1936. First edition.

Donna Tartt

Donna Tartt was born in Mississippi in 1963 and attended the University of Mississippi in Oxford and Bennington College in Vermont. The Secret History, her first novel, involves the murder of a college student by his Greek classmates at a small Vermont college. After its publication in 1992, the novel quickly became a bestseller, and Knopf was forced to reprint thousands of copies to meet public demand

The Secret History. New York: Knopf, 1992. Advanced reader’s edition, uncorrected proofs..

Mary Gladys Meredith Webb, 1881-1927

Novelist, short story writer, and poet, Mary Webb depicted her native Shropshire in realistic detail through her writings, concentrating on the mysticism of the natural landscape in relation to human nature. At age twenty, she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, which eventually caused her early death. Her most well-known novel is Precious Bane, which was adapted for television by PBS. Webb’s novels have recently regained popularity, and most have been reprinted as Verago Modern Classics by the Dial Press. First editions of her major works are held in the Gustine Weaver Collection, UNT Libraries, Rare Book Room.

"The White Moth." Original typescript signed.

The Golden Arrow. London: Constable, 1916. First edition.

Gone to Earth. London: Constable and Company, 1917. First edition.

The Spring of Joy: A Little Book of Healing. London and Toronto: J.M. Dent & Sons; New York: E.P. Dutton, 1917. First edition.

Precious Bane: A Novel. London: Jonathan Cape, 1924. First edition.

Armour Wherein He Trusted. London: Jonathan Cape, 1929. First edition.

"George Meredith in His Novels: An Appreciation." Typescript with pencil corrections in hand of author, written for the Meole Brace Literary Society, accompanied by an autographed letter of authentication from Henry Bertram Law Webb, dated 18 Nov. 1936.

The Chinese Lion. London: Bertram Rota, 1937. First edition.

Eudora Welty, 1909-

Eudora Welty was born in Mississippi and has spent most of her life there. She attended Mississippi State College for Women and the University of Wisconsin, where she majored in English (1929) and decided to become a writer. Encouraged by her mother to find employment, she worked in radio, advertising, journalism, and photography. During her various jobs, she continued to write and, in 1936, had her story "Death of a Traveling Salesman" published in Manuscript. Publications in the Southern Review and Prairie Schooner followed, and in 1941 Doubleday published her collected stories in A Curtain of Green. She went on to write both novels and short stories. In 1972, she won the Pulitzer Prize for her novel The Optimist’s Daughter. Most of her writings take place in her native Mississippi, where she currently resides.

A Curtain of Green. New York: Doubleday, Doran and Company, 1941. First edition.

The Golden Apples

The Golden Apples. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1949. First edition.
The Robber Bridegroom. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1942. First edition.

The Robber Bridegroom

The Bride of the Innisfallen and Other Stories. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1955. First edition.

Virginia Woolf, 1882-1941

Viginia Woolf is now considered one of the preeminant modern novelists. She, along with her husband Leonard, was a member of the Bloomsbury group, a handful of writers and artists who originally met at Cambridge. In 1917, she and Leonard bought a small handpress with the intent to publish their own writings as well as those of their writer friends. Under the name The Hogarth Press, the Woolf’s published works by Sigmund Freud, Katherine Mansfied, and T.S. Eliot. The press gave Virginia the freedom to write what she wanted.

The Waves

The Waves. London: The Hogarth Press, 1931. First edition.

Often compared with James Joyce, she chose to experiment with narrative form and stream of consciousness in her novels, including The Waves. The dust jacket for The Waves was designed by her sister, Vanessa Bell.

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