Born in 1873 to a family who had farmed in Virginia for generations, Willa Cather moved to her father's new ranch in Nebraska when she was eight. The raw frontier territories and the pioneer life of the Old West were to awaken her imagination and furnish the atmosphere for much of her later work. After graduating from the University of Nebraska, Willa Cather became a teacher and a journalist. In 1912 she abandoned journalism to write full time. Her first novel was Alexander's Bridge (1912) though she had already published a volume of poems and another of short stories. Her vivid novels cover a wide range: there are impassioned and thoughtful explorations of the ancient worlds of the Americas in The Professor's House (1925) and Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927) as well as sympathetic portrayals of conflicting values, or of the demands of art. These, along with her evocations of the pioneering West, soon established her reputation as one of America's foremost writers. Willa Cather died in New York in 1947.