Celebrate the Release of “Spinster” in Paperback!

Kate Bolick during Touchstones at The Mount.

Kate Bolick during Touchstones at The Mount.

The following post was contributed by Kate Bolick, friend of The Mount and host of Touchstones: Conversations at The Mount.

Dear You and Yours,

To celebrate the paperback release of Spinster later this month, there will be three completely different events — an on-stage literary conversation, a night of Progressive Era theatricality, and an afternoon reading. You are cordially invited to one and all.

Monday, April 25
Meghan Daum & I talk Spinster
Book Court
163 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, April 28
Spinsters on Stage
Staged readings of three one-act plays about singledom/marriage/love, written by Neith Boyce, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Edna St. Vincent Millay, read aloud (as in, these are writers, people, not professional actors) by Alex Gallafent, Alexandra Jacobs, Glenn Kenny, Troy Patterson, Sadie Stein, and Seth Colter Walls, and directed by Nikole Beckwith.
Bank Street Theater
155 Bank Street
New York, NY

Saturday, April 30
Reading & Book Signing
Firehouse Center for the Arts
Newburyport Literary Festival
Newburyport, MA

Yours truly,

Kate Bolick is the author of the New York Times bestseller Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, a contributing editor for The Atlantic, and a freelance writer for The New York Times, Slate, and Vogue, among other publications. Previously, she was executive editor of Domino and a columnist for The Boston Globe. She has appeared on NBC’s Today show, CNN, MSNBC, and numerous NPR programs across the country. A recipient of a MacDowell fellowship, she holds a master’s in cultural criticism from New York University, where she also taught writing.

Historic Items Needed for New Exhibit

The Mount’s exhibits team is excited to announce an entirely new exhibit on life in Lenox, coming in 2017 in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the town! In the meantime, we’re looking for historic items, ranging from 1890-1915, to make this exhibit come to life.

We’re currently searching for:

*Sporting items & leisure items including:





     -Winter Sports

*Gardening tools and catalogues

*Automobile-related items (goggles, etc.)

*Dog-related items (collars, etc.)

*Bedroom items, including:

     -Writing board

     -Telephone, circa 1905

If you have any of the above items that you would like to donate to The Mount for exhibits, please e-mail info@edithwharton.org. Recent exhibits, including the kitchen (2014) and the sewing room (2015), have been furnished and stocked largely due to the generosity of Mount friends and supporters.

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Berkshire Eagle 03-11-16

The Berkshire Eagle

March 11, 2016

                         “Three writers find inspiration at Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox”

Remembering Michelle

The following blog post was contributed by Peter Filkins.  Peter and Michelle collaborated on The Mount’s Poets on Poets series for many years.

Michelle by Sarah Edwards

Michelle Gillett at The Mount. Photo by Sarah Edwards

There are people we come across in life who we think will always be there. With her warm big smile, her steadfast presence at events and readings, her bi-weekly columns, and most of all her fine poems and deep love of poetry, Michelle Gillett was one of those people. It is a cliché to say that someone has touched many lives, but Michelle indeed did so, and always in a classy, quiet, and genuine manner. She was a person who not only cared about others, but wanted the very best to come forth and shine within them, and without a thought that something was owed her in return. Having had the genuine pleasure of working with Michelle in planning numerous readings at The Mount over the years, I find it hard to think of her as gone, for her wealth of knowledge and compassion and sheer good sense was always on tap, always at the ready, always knowing and wise and selfless in its application.

As we all know, Michelle cared deeply about the lives of women and young girls, and so many of her columns took on the overt and unspoken ways that women are too often controlled, neglected, or compromised by the powers that be. And yet what she posed against such forces was an indomitable mixture of decency, intelligence, good humor, and imagination that not only helped people understand what was at stake in any given issue, but also how to find the strength and courage within themselves to engage with it on their own. In this way she was not one to thump the podium, but instead had the great gift to make manifest a cause or idea or argument in the minds and hearts of others, and thereby trust them to navigate their own way through the same.

Michelle will be much missed at The Mount, for in many ways she was the embodiment of Edith Wharton’s passionate engagement with the intricacies and foibles of the human heart, whether amid the pomp and corruption of the Gilded Age or the grim enclosure of a New England winter. And like Wharton, Michelle always found a way through, quietly navigating whatever fraught human terrain she traversed by steadily and positively moving forward, greeting each day with her own unique brand of sureness and generosity. Few of us will ever meet as fine a writer and person; all of us could do worse than to aspire to the example that she so gracefully provided us for so many years.

Michelle by Eric Korenman

Michelle Gillett reading her poetry at WordFest. Photo by Eric Korenman

National Trust for Historic Preservation Names The Mount a Top Win

Lenox, MA— The National Trust for Historic Preservation has recently recognized the efforts of the Mount to overcome past financial struggles by naming it one of its top 10 Wins and Losses List for 2015. For the fourth year in a row, the NTHP list compiles 10 historic sites that were either destroyed or saved. This past September, the Mount announced that it had made its final payment to creditors. The property, a National Historic Landmark designed and built by Edith Wharton, was threatened with foreclosure in 2008.

“This year demonstrated once again what remarkable things are possible when people come together with a plan for action and a determination to save places that matter to them,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust recently interviewed the Mount’s longtime executive director Susan Wissler for their Preservation Leadership Forum Blog. The Q&A, conducted by Katherine Malone-France, vice president for historic sites at the National Trust, focuses on the lessons learned from the institution’s financial struggles, what’s next for the Mount and how the continuing relevance of Wharton’s writing influences the Mount today.

“We’ve been inspired as we’ve watched the Mount work to solve its financial problems while also developing new programming and partnerships that have yielded significant increases in visitation and brought a new vibrancy and comprehensive sustainability to the site. In fact, if the Mount is representative of the challenges faced by historic sites and house museums around the country, it is also depictive of the resiliency of these institutions and their potential to reimagine and reinvigorate themselves,” says Malone France.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized by the National Trust for our preservation work,” says Wissler. “We have worked hard to find a sustainable model for the Mount and it is very rewarding to be able to share our experiences with others institutions facing similar issues.”

The complete interview can be viewed online at: http://blog.preservationleadershipforum.org/

For reprint permission and high-resolution photos, please contact Rebecka McDougall at rmcdougall@edithwharton.org.

About The Mount:

The Mount is a National Historic Landmark and cultural center that celebrates the intellectual, artistic, and humanitarian legacy of Edith Wharton. We engage a diverse audience by providing context to Wharton’s life and achievements through our educational and public programs and the conservation and preservation of her historic estate and gardens.

Each year, the Mount is host to over 42,000 visitors. Daily tours of the property are offered May through October, with special events throughout the year. Annual summer programming includes a joint outdoor exhibit with SculptureNow, Wharton on Wednesdays, Music After Hours, and the celebrated Monday Lecture Series.

In recent years, the Mount has become the literary hub of the Berkshires, regularly hosting esteemed writers—including novelists, poets, biographers, scholars, and journalists—for readings and discussions. Writers who have appeared recently include David McCullough, Claire Messud, Mark Strand, Sharon Olds, Andre Dubus III, Richard Russo, and Susan Orlean.

For more information, visit EdithWharton.org.


NTHP 02-26-16

National Trust for Historic Preservation

February 26, 2016

“An Interview with Susan Wissler, Executive Director, The Mount on Surviving Debt and the Future of Historic Sites”

Boston Globe 02-13-16

The Boston Globe

February 13, 2016

                “Hit the road for the ultimate readers’ road trip”

Wharton In Love

“I like to love, but not to [be] loved back, that is why I like so much gardens.”

– Wharton to a friend during her final days

We’re familiar with Wharton’s tales of passion, but what of her own tale? In celebration of Valentine’s Day, we explored Wharton’s experience with love, in all its different forms, in her own words.

EW in Red

Wharton’s Husband

“You will go back to the far-off past of our youth together, as I do tonight…(he was) the kindest of companions till that dreadful blighting illness came upon him.”

Wharton married Edward Wharton on April 29, 1885. The marriage, never a love match to begin with, produced no children (although they loved their dogs dearly!). Teddy’s affairs, embezzlement of Wharton’s funds, and mental illness led to their divorce in 1913. Despite their separation, Wharton’s thoughts turned back to Teddy upon his death and her own.

Wharton’s Home

“The Mount was my first real home… its blessed influence still lives in me.”

Although Wharton only lived at her Lenox estate for ten years and sold it after her marriage deteriorated, The Mount stayed with Wharton for the rest of her life. A home of her own design, she delighted in entertaining intimate group of friends and focusing on her writing career.

Wharton’s Lover

“I have drunk of the wine of life at last, I have known the thing best worth knowing, I have been warmed through and through, never to grow quite cold again till the end.”

Wharton began a passionate love affair with journalist Morton Fullerton in 1907 and detailed her experiences in “The Life Apart (L’âme close),” otherwise known as The Love Diary. Despite the eventual heartbreak, Wharton believed that her love experience made her a better writer.

Wharton’s Best Friend

“I cannot picture what the life of the spirit would have been to me without him. He found me when my mind and soul were hungry and thirsty, and he fed them till our last hour together.”

Wharton and Walter Berry, often described as Wharton’s longtime companion, had once considered marrying, but eventually let it pass. Her wish, which was ultimately granted, was to be buried near him, and she remarked upon his death, “All my life goes with him.”
For reference, and further reading:

Erlich, Gloria C. The Sexual Education of Edith Wharton. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.

Marshall, Scott. “What Ever Happened To Teddy Wharton?” VISTA from The Mount, 1987-1988.

Wharton, Edith. A Backward Glance. 1934. New York: Touchstone, 1934.

Wharton, Edith. Ed. Kenneth Price and Phyllis McBride. American Literature 66.4. Duke University Press, 1994.

Favorite Posts of 2015

We briefly peeked back at last year to share with you two of our favorite posts from 2015!

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Learning From The Greats: Edith Wharton

By Judy Pollard Smith

Like most fiction writers, at the onset of her career, Edith wondered if there was a set of rules that must be followed, a sort of inside scoop that every successful writer knew about but she didn’t.

(Confess now. Haven’t you wondered that yourself?)

Judy Pollard Smith writes about how Edith Wharton overcame critics and uncertainty to create her own personal set of writing rules – and how she embarked on adjective hunts with Walter Berry!

Gotta Visit: The Mount (Lenox)

By Valerie Smart

You wouldn’t think of a historic mansion of a 20th century novelist to be a family friendly place to visit. However after one trip to The Mount in Lenox, you’d be corrected. 

The 413 Mom, Valerie Smart, shares her own family’s experience exploring contemporary sculptures, enjoying the expansive grounds, and touring the beautiful house.


The 2016-2017 Edith Wharton Society Awards

Dr. Emily Orlando speaking at The Mount in 2014.

Dr. Emily Orlando speaking at The Mount in 2014.

Dear Friends of Edith Wharton and The Mount,

I am very pleased to share the call for submissions for the 2016-2017 Edith Wharton Society Awards.  Here are the details on the Prize for a Beginning Scholar, the Undergraduate Essay Prize, and the Award for Archival Research. A special word of thanks is due to the distinguished scholars who graciously served the EWS as judges last year: Drs. Laura Rattray, Paul Ohler, Donna Campbell, and Hildegard Hoeller. Please share and encourage students and colleagues to submit their work for consideration.

As a fan of Edith Wharton’s we hope you will consider a membership to the Edith Wharton Society. Membership has many benefits, not the least of which is receiving the peer-reviewed journal, The Edith Wharton Review. The journal is now published by Penn State University Press, edited by Meredith Goldsmith with Associate Editors Sharon Kim and Paul Ohler, and is indexed in the MLA International Bibliography. Please bookmark the Wharton Society website and click here for information on the Edith Wharton Society conference in Washington, DC in June 2016.

Being a member of the Edith Wharton Society is one meaningful way in which you can sustain the good work of the Society and help keep Edith Wharton’s legacy alive. Thank you for your consideration.

All good wishes,

Emily Orlando

Emily J. Orlando, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English
President, The Edith Wharton Society
Book Review Editor, The Edith Wharton Review Fairfield University Fairfield, CT 06824 USA