In a project this size, extending across several years, the debts run long and deep. Our greatest debt, of course, is to John March, who invested his life in this effort, and to the late Mildred R. Bennett, who aided and encouraged him in the work. It was also Mildred who twisted an editorial arm to move John's draft into publishable form. In part, then, the work is a labor of love, for and because of Mildred. The organization she founded, the Willa Cather Pioneer Memorial and Educational Foundation in Red Cloud, Nebraska, has continued its support of the project since Mildred's unexpected passing in the fall of 1989. Thanks go to Pat Phillips, foundation director; to John Lindahl, curator, and Sue Fintel of the Nebraska State Historical Society archives in Red Cloud; to Beverly Cooper of Hastings, who spent endless days verifying the Red Cloud materials; and to the other individuals who assisted in that effort--particularly Frankie Warner and Bonnie English, but also Marcylene Krueger and Mary Lambrecht. Helen Mathew, director of the Webster County Museum, was very helpful in searching out information sources.
It is not an overstatement to say that without the immense support of Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, this project could not have proceeded at all, much less come to fruition. In addition to funding graduate students, providing office space and computer equipment, and supplying numerous day-to-day needs of such an undertaking, the university placed all its library and computer resources at our disposal. Sterling Albrecht, director of Libraries, literally opened doors for us, and his staff was splendid. There are almost too many people to name, but special thanks must go to Leila Lawrence in Humanities Reference and Kathleen Hansen in Interlibrary Loan. Mel Smith in the College of Humanities Research Center has assisted us with the computer work since the project's inception, and Linda Hunter Adams in the Humanities Publications Center provided the considerable expertise needed for preparing and formatting the final copy. Particular thanks go also to the graduate office staff, who, led by Christine Tolman, pitched in to help their dean, the senior editor, in countless ways. More recently, in the final days of the work, the Women's Research Institute generously provided space and support.
Several individuals also made significant financial contributions to fund the enterprise. They include John March, himself, and the following: Lucia Woods Lindley, Evanston, Illinois; Pam Drucker, Olueffe, Missouri; Helen and Philip Southwick, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Gerald Brown, San Diego, California; Don Connors, Huntington Beach, California; Frank Crabill, Riverside, Connecticut; Paul Cumberland, Elmhurst, New York; Father Charles Duman, Yankton, South Dakota, Frances Payne Evangelist, Forestville, Maryland; Greg John, San Francisco, California; Mrs. Frank Wiggs, Omaha, Nebraska; and Laura Winter, Morristown, New Jersey.
As always, however, the real heroes of the enterprise are the graduate students who gave not only immeasurable service, but total loyalty as well. They performed the immense labor of verification, both in tracking the sources of John March's
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Publication information: Book title: A Reader's Companion to the Fiction of Willa Cather. Contributors: John March - Author, Marilyn Arnold - Editor, Debra Lynn Thornton - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1993. Page number: ix.
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