Born on December 7, 1873, in Bck Creek Vlley, Will Cther ws the eldest child of Chrles Cther, deputy Sheriff, nd Mry Virgini Bok Cther. The fmily trces its ncestors to Irelnd, from which they settled in Pennsylvni in the 1750's.
In 1883 the Cther fmily relocted to live with Will's grndprents Willim nd Croline nd her uncle George in Webster County, Nebrsk.
Her mother ws hopeless womn, bsiclly concerned with fshion nd trying to turn Will into " ldy", despite of the fct tht Will defied the norms for girls nd cut her hir short nd wore trousers. While living in the town Will met nnie Sdilek, whom she lter used for the ntoni chrcter in My ntoni (Brown, 1993).
Upon grdution from Red Cloud High School in 1890, Will moved to the stte cpitol in Lincoln where she prepred to enter the University of Nebrsk. She did so nd lter spent time editing the school mgzine nd publishing rticles s well s plying nd reviewing locl ppers. In 1892 she published her short story "Peter" in Boston mgzine, story tht lter becme prt of her novel My ntoni. fter grduting in 1895, she cme bck to Red Cloud until she received n offer to work s n editing Home Monthly in Pittsburgh (Brown, 1993).
While editing the mgzine, she wrote short stories to fill its pges. These stories, published in collection clled the Troll Grden in 1905, brought her to the ttention of S.S. McClure. In 1906 she moved to New York to join McClure's Mgzine, initilly s member of the stff nd ultimtely s its mnging editor. ...