The Gilded Age Plains City

The Great Sheedy Murder Trial and the Booster Ethos of Lincoln, Nebraska


Explore the City

Spatial Narratives

Interpretation and Narrative

Willa Cather

Willa Cather arrived in Lincoln during September of 1890 and began her career at the University of Nebraska the following fall. As a student she lived in a boarding house between Tenth and Eleventh on L Street. To get to campus Cather walked north on Eleventh Street right through the P Street Demimonde. During her time in Lincoln, she came to know many of the city's literary movers. She became lifelong friends with the Gere family and remained in contact with the Gere daughters, Mariel, Frances, and Ellen throughout her life. One of her characters, Godfrey St. Peter in The Professor's House was based on Charles Gere. She also became friends with the Pounds and the Moores, visiting each family often.

Although there is no documentation of Cather having any direct involvement with the Sheedy case, she must have known about the murder and the political climate that hovered over Lincoln at the time.

Moore, Robert Emmett [Brief Biography]
Sheedy, John [Narrative] [Brief Biography]

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Directed by Timothy R. Mahoney, Plains Humanities Alliance, in collaboration with the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities.
Funded by the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, the Nebraska Humanities Council, and the Plains Humanities Alliance.
© 2007–2008, University of Nebraska–Lincoln