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In addition to being an unassuming farm wife with ten children, Anna Pavelka was the inspiration for Ántonia Shimerda, arguably Willa Cather’s most famous character and the namesake for her 1918 novel, My Ántonia. Pavelka worked as a hired girl, helping to support her family after they immigrated from Bohemia and struggled to succeed at homesteading in Nebraska. Her father’s tragic suicide gave Anna the kind of notoriety no one would want, and the harrowing conditions of life in a dugout make the circumstances of her adult life all the more triumphant. The Pavelka Farmstead embodies not only John and Anna Pavelka’s success as a farm family, it also symbolizes the rich multiculturalism that shaped the Great Plains at the dawn of the 20th century. Pavelka’s strength, determination, and pioneer expertise make her a role model for women across many geographic, social, economic, and cultural divides.