Knopf tried his best to preserve Cather's privacy, but it was difficult.
He said himself at the time of the centennial celebration of her birth in 1973 that "anyone who abhors contact with members of the public is best advised not to produce work which has public interest." Cather resented the fact that she could not sit on a bench in Central Park without being recognized and accosted by strangers, but all her efforts to keep out of the limelight arid control access to her life have been unsuccessful in keeping biographers off her trail.
She left a trail of published interviews and speeches and public statements that surprises anyone who knows only her own pronouncements desiring privacy.
Mildred Bennett, the first of the Cather scholars, wrote an invaluable study of places and people important in Cather's work in (1951).
She was on the scene in Red Cloud and able to interview old friends and relatives.
Elizabeth Sergeant's memoir of her long friendship with Cather is another important contribution to Cather studies, as are the reminiscences of Ferris Greenslet, Alfred Knopf, and many others who knew her.
I came to my interest in Cather in 1967 or 1968 when I was invited to contribute a brief critical biography to a series brought out by the nowdefunct publisher Pegasus.
I have found no skeletons in the closet or sensational data to titillate the reader.