July Reminder! The Willa Cather Short Story Project #6: A Gold Slipper

A Gold Slipper by Willa Cather

This month’s story for the Willa Cather Short Story Project is “A Gold Slipper.” Read it sometime over the next two weeks and come back to discuss it on July 24th. I’ll have a reaction post up by 8 am ET that morning.

This will be my first time reading this story. It features an opera singer, Kitty Ayreshire, who will make a repeat appearance in “Scandal,” our story for August.

Publication History

“A Gold Slipper” was first published in Harper’s Monthly in January 1917. According to the Library of America’s Story of the Week series, Cather wasn’t happy with the story and tried to recall it, but was too late as it was set to print. She was paid $450 and later revised it for inclusion in Youth and the Bright Medusa (1920).


The Library of America cites opera singer Mary Garden (1874-1967) as a potential model for Kitty Ayreshire, but the Willa Cather Archive names Geraldine Farrar (1882-1967) as Cather’s inspiration.

The nod to golden slippers in the fairy tale tradition is intriguing.

Here’s a link to the full story on the Willa Cather Archive.



  1. I just read “A Gold Slipper” and thoroughly enjoyed it. This made me chuckle:

    //Over against the curb a lone electric stood despondent in the storm.//

    And we think we have invented everything new again! Such problems continue to plague electric cars and men continue to mis/underestimate and stereotype women.

    Thank you for drawing this story to my attention, although I have read much Cather, her stories are new to me.

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