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First Signs of Spring

After a particularly long winter, we were very excited to see the first signs of spring here at The Mount, including blue skies, pleasant temperatures, sprouting plants in Wharton’s gardens, and the arrival of Yarmey’s Window Cleaning Co. to wash away that winter grime!

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Berkshire Magazine May 2015

Berkshire Magazine

May 2015

                          “Living With Edith”

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Out Traveler 4-29-15

Out Traveler

April 29, 2015

   “Spotlight on The Berkshires”

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The Mount Welcomes Kate Bolick for a Reading & Celebration of her Bibliomemoir, Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own

(Lenox, MA) —On May 15, The Mount will celebrate journalist and cultural critic Kate and the release of her book, Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own. The evening starts at 5:00 p.m. and includes a reading by Bolick followed by a book signing and reception on The Mount’s Terrace. The Mount is located at 2 Plunkett Street in Lenox. For more information and to register, visit EdithWharton.org or call 413-551-5100.

Bolick first made waves with her powerful 2011 Atlantic cover story, “All the Single Ladies,” about the social and economic trends shaping America’s current romantic landscape. In Spinster, Bolick uses her personal experiences as a starting point.  She takes the reader through her intellectual and sexual coming of age to explore why she, and more than 100 million American women, remain unmarried. “Whom to marry, and when will it happen—these two questions define every woman’s existence,” Bolick writes, “[and] govern her until they’re answered, even if the answers are nobody and never.” It’s time, Bolick argues, for this to change.

Bolick also introduces a cast of pioneering women from the last century who led lives of deliciously shocking modernity and whose genius, tenacity, and flair for drama have emboldened her to fashion a life on her own terms. Bolick calls these women her “Awakeners” and they include: journalist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton.

Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, published by Crown, was released on April 21, 2015 has been garnering national attention including being named a New York Times Editor’s Choice.

“Kate has started a timely dialogue on relationships and why we might choose to remain single for creative reasons,” said Susan Wissler, executive director of The Mount. “I think Edith would have identified with Kate’s journey and would be pleased to know her difficult choices as a writer have proven inspirational to a new generation.”

Bolick has a long history with The Mount. In 2008, she wrote a story for Slate Magazine about the The Mount financial troubles. Her article helped bring the crisis to national attention. She has returned several times over the past three years, first as part of the 2012 Berkshire WordFest, next as a writer-in-residence, and most recently as host for last summer’s Touchstones series which featured Andre Dubus III and Jennifer Finney Boylan. Bolick and the Touchstones series will be returning in September 2015.

For images, additional information, and to attend the event, please contact: Rebecka McDougall rmcdougall@edithwharton.org.

ABOUT KATE BOLICK:

Kate Bolick is a contributing editor for The Atlantic, freelance writer for ELLE, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, and host of “Touchstones at The Mount,” an annual literary interview series at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home in Lenox, MA. Previously, she was executive editor of Domino and a columnist for The Boston Globe. She has appeared on NBC’s Today show, CNN, Fox News, 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.

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 40,000 visitors. Daily tours of the property are offered May through October, with special events throughout the year. Annual summer programming includes a joint exhibit with SculptureNow, Wharton on Wednesdays, Music After Hours, and the celebrated Monday Lecture Series. Exhibitions explore themes from Wharton’s life and work.

For more information about The Mount, visit EdithWharton.org.

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New Faces at The Mount

April saw the arrival of glorious spring weather and a series of young, new faces at The Mount!  Berkshire students recently visited to work and study.

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On April 11, The Mount hosted The Lenox Crew Team’s Silent Auction and Wine/Beer Tasting fundraiser, in exchange for several days of spring grounds clean-up.

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The team – part of Lenox Memorial Middle and High School – helped The Mount’s Grounds Superintendent, Chad Donovan-Hall, gather sticks, branches, and other debris left over by various winter storms.

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And they did an excellent job!

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Afterward, they spent some quality time with The Mount’s unofficial mascot, Pippy!

Working on their portfolios

On April 17, students from Miss Hall’s AP Art class visited The Mount.

Miss Hall's AP Art Class

Within Wharton’s beautiful mansion, they worked on their portfolios.

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The Mount Announces Winners of 2015 Edith Wharton Writing Competition

(Lenox, MA) – The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home proudly congratulates the winners of the 16th annual Edith Wharton Writing Competition. The Mount and The Berkshire Eagle established the writing competition in 1998, in honor of Edith Wharton’s remarkable legacy, and in support and recognition of emerging young writers in her beloved Berkshire region and the surrounding area. This year’s writing competition is sponsored by Berkshire Life, the Feigenbaum Foundation, and the local cultural councils of Great Barrington, Lenox, New Marlborough, Northern Berkshire, Richmond, and Stockbridge.

The 2015 competition invited students from grades 9-12 to submit entries in fiction and poetry categories. Karen Shepard, an author and professor at Williams College, and Simon’s Rock professor Peter Filkins served as judges. The Mount offered particular encouragement to Berkshire County teachers and their students, and special recognition goes to Monument Mountain Regional High School and Taconic High School as the two Berkshire County schools with for the most submissions. The Mount received a record-breaking 159 entries from twenty seven schools. The student winners represent the towns of Becket, Lee, Pittsfield, Sheffield, and Stockbridge among others.

The 2015 winners are:

11th and 12th First-Prize $250 Awards

Joscie Norris, Westover School – Poetry

Emma Lezberg, Pittsfield High School – Fiction

11th and 12th Second-Prize $150 Awards

Samantha Westwood, Rockville High School – Poetry

Samantha Reagan, Berkshire School – Fiction

9th and 10th First-Prize $200 Awards

Alexandra Ose, Rockville High School – Poetry

Sophia Cohen, Monument Mountain Regional High School – Fiction

9th and 10th Second-Prize $100 Awards

Amanda Adams, Hampshire Regional High School – Poetry

Isabelle Morley, Monument Mountain Regional High School – Fiction

9th and 10th Honorable Mention Gift Awards

Tagan Mundy, Monument Mountain Regional High School – Fiction

The Mount invites all participating students, their families and teachers, and the general public to attend an awards ceremony at The Mount on Sunday, April 26, 2014 from 2-4 p.m. The program will open with remarks by Brendan Matthews, a published author and faculty member in the Languages & Literature department at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Awardees will be presented with prizes totaling $1,500 and will be invited to read their winning works aloud. Following the ceremony there will be a reception with light refreshments. This event is free. For more information and to reserve your space, please contact Kelsey Mullen at 413-551-5110.

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 welcomes over 40,000 visitors. Daily tours of the property are offered May through October, with special programs and events throughout the year. Annual summer programming includes a joint exhibit with SculptureNow, Wharton on Wednesdays, Music After Hours, and the celebrated Monday Lecture Series. Exhibitions explore themes from Wharton’s life and work.

The Mount is located at 2 Plunkett Street in Lenox, MA. For additional information about The Mount, visit EdithWharton.org.

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Literary Death Match returns for another knockout show at The Mount

(Lenox, MA) On April 24, literary nerds will assemble for another round of the high-energy reading series Literary Death Match at The Mount: Edith Wharton’s Home in Lenox, Massachusetts. Four authors will read original work before a panel of three all-star judges. Performances will be judged on literary merit, performance style, and intangible factors. Participants include Jedediah Berry, Arda Collins, Ron Currie Jr., Paul La Farge, Courtney Maum, Sue Smith and Jenny Zigrino. Doors open at 7:30 and the show begins at 8:00; tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door. A cash bar will be available. For tickets or more information, visit EdithWharton.org or call 413-551-5100.

Since its creation in 2006, Literary Death Match has been performed over 1,000 times in over 50 cities across the globe. Each episode features a unique line-up of established poets, writers, and comedians reading their original work and is hosted by Literary Death Match co-creator Adrian Todd Zuniga. Judges offer critique and select their favorite two writers to advance to the finals. The two finalists then compete in the Literary Death Match finale, which trades in the show’s literary sensibility for a comical climax to determine who takes home the Literary Death Match crown. The LA Times has called this spectacle “The most entertaining reading series ever.” It may sound like a circus — and that’s half the point. Literary Death Match is passionate about exploring new and innovative ways to present text off the page, and the most fascinating part about the show is how seriously attentive the audience is during each reading.

The Mount first collaborated with Literary Death Match for Berkshires Ep. 1 as part of Berkshire WordFest in 2013, and Rural Intelligence called the evening one of the “most memorable parties of the year.” “We welcomed a sold out crowd two years ago, and many people left with a new book or the name of a new author to explore,” said Susan Wissler, executive Director of The Mount. “Literary Death Match reinforced the notion that literature and entertainment can and do co-exist.”

About The Mount:

The Mount is a National Historic Landmark and cultural center that celebrates the literary, 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 40,000 visitors. Daily tours of the property are offered May through October, with special events and programs throughout the year. Annual summer programming includes a joint exhibit with SculptureNow, Wharton on Wednesdays, Music After Hours, and the celebrated Monday Lecture Series. Exhibitions explore themes from Wharton’s life and work.

For more information, visit EdithWharton.org.

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New Opportunities for Engagement at The Mount this Season

Furnishings and Admission Policy will Create New Opportunities for Engagement at The Mount

(Lenox, MA) The Mount is pleased to announce two initiatives that will engage our audiences in new ways this season. The first is a partnership with the Preservation Society of Newport County that includes a loan of period furniture and paintings from its collection. The other is a new admission policy that welcomes visitors back to the property for up to seven days. The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home, is located in the Berkshires of Western MA. Hours, directions and a full calendar of events can be found at EdithWharton.org.

The Preservation Society of Newport County has partnered with The Mount on a loan of period furniture and paintings from its collection to assist in the interpretation of Edith Wharton’s home. This loan makes it possible for new audiences to see and enjoy them. The pieces selected are stylistically linked to the type of furnishings that Wharton used at The Mount, and reflect the widespread influence of her 1897 book, The Decoration of Houses, on interiors in Newport and beyond.

“Historic house museums like the Newport Mansions and The Mount play an important role in educating the public about America’s architectural, social and artistic heritage,” said Preservation Society CEO & Executive Director Trudy Coxe.  “This collaboration is especially appropriate because of Edith Wharton’s early connections to Newport, and so we are happy to be able to contribute to telling her story.”

In addition to the furnishings, The Mount has also acquired a set of Edith Wharton first editions. The books will be displayed in a newly crafted interactive exhibit dedicated to Wharton’s literary legacy. This exhibit will discuss themes in her work and how they stand the test of time as well as her modern appeal and influence on new generations of writers. Visitors will be able to browse the first editions at their leisure so they can experience Wharton’s words through a publication issued during Wharton’s lifetime.

The second initiative focused on audience engagement is a new approach to general admissions. Starting in May, adult admission to The Mount will be $18 and include access to the house, gardens, and exhibits for up to seven days from the date of purchase. According to recent visitor surveys, the average visit to the property is over four hours. This policy is intended to allow for deeper visitor engagement, without time constraints.

“We are looking to make meaningful, personal connections with our visitors. Encouraging people to spend more time on the property—interacting with Wharton’s story through her work, period objects, and the beauty of The Mount—is the greatest way can foster these connections,” said Susan Wissler, executive director.

About the Preservation Society of Newport County

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, is a non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history.  Its 11 historic properties–seven of them National Historic Landmarks–span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

For more information, please visit NewportMansions.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 40,000 visitors. Daily tours of the property are offered May through October, with special events throughout the year. Annual summer programming includes a joint exhibit with SculptureNow, Wharton on Wednesdays, Music After Hours, and the celebrated Monday Lecture Series. Exhibitions explore themes from Wharton’s life and work.

For more information, visit EdithWharton.org.

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Meet Bonaparte the Rabbit!

Before we saw Bonaparte, this is how we imagined him.

Before we saw Bonaparte, this is how we imagined him, in Wharton’s bedroom.

We knew we weren’t alone. The alarm went off in the middle of the night, things weren’t left quite as they were before, and we sensed another presence. Finally, a security camera in the Main House revealed the answer: it was a rabbit, not a ghost, in the mansion!

We immediately gave our new friend a name: Bonaparte, named after Wharton’s “delicious, brown” pet rabbit. In her later years, she would reminisce with her sister-in-law, Minnie Jones:

“When I was 7 years old, & you, I conjecture, 19 (& newly married), I one day…entrusted you with the care of my pet rabbit-& you forgot him in the park, & went home to lunch without him! This incident…is the only blot that, after a microscopic scrutiny of the ensuing sixty years, I am able to discover in your perfect record as sister-in-law, friend & comrade.”

Bonaparte remained elusive , comfortably dining on apples, clementines, and almonds during the coldest days of winter. On February 25, we caught Bonaparte and set him free. Although we’re sure he’s having many adventures in Wharton’s surrounding woodland, we wouldn’t mind if he came back for a visit!

Releasing Bonaparte.

Bonaparte’s release on February 25, 2015.

Bonaparte's sprint to freedom!

Farewell, Bonaparte!

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The Mount Welcomes Three New Board Members

Daniel M. Kasper, Cris C. Raymond, and Richard C. Seltzer

(Lenox, MA) The Mount, the former home of Edith Wharton in Lenox, Massachusetts, is pleased to announce the addition of three new members, Daniel M. Kasper, Cris C. Raymond, and Richard C. Seltzer, to its Board of Trustees.

The new board members, who represent the Berkshire region as well New York City and Boston, bring to The Mount their collective expertise in finance, litigation, consulting, and publishing. All three are passionate about The Mount and have the utmost respect for Edith Wharton. They are joining a distinguished group of volunteer Board members who are all tasked with sustaining The Mount for years to come.

“The Mount has transformed from struggling historic house museum to one of Massachusetts’s most important and recognizable cultural attractions,” said Lila Berle, The Mount’s Chairman of the Board. “We are thrilled to have attracted such incredible talent to the Board. We are very excited to start planning the next phase of this property’s future and its place as a national treasure for all citizens to experience.”

“It is encouraging to see the energy and growth of the Board,” said Susan Wissler, The Mount’s executive director.  “It reinforces the commitment to constantly move The Mount forward…to find answers to our most serious challenges, including long-term financial sustainability. We are so please to welcome Daniel, Cris, and Richard to the Board of Trustees.”

Daniel M. Kasper is a graduate of the University of Chicago with MBA and juris doctorate degrees. He is currently a Senior Consultant for the Boston office of Compass Lexecon and has served as a consultant to governments, airlines, and airports. He previously founded and led the Boston office of the Law & Economics Consulting Group and headed Coopers & Lybrand Consulting’s Transportation Industry Program.  Dan led a Congressionally-mandated review of the Federal Aviation Administration and was one of fifteen members of the US National Airline Commission in 1993. Previously, he served on the faculty of the Harvard Business School and the University of Southern California. In addition to his professional responsibilities, he has served as the Chairman of the Board for the Wellesley, MA Cable Access Television Station and on the board of the Wellesley Conservation Council, a private conservation organization.

Cris C. Raymond, a native of the Berkshires, returned to the county after 12 years in New York City and 20 years in Europe. As an undergraduate she studied at Barnard College, Chatham University, and Oxford, and she did graduate work at New York University. Ms. Raymond’s professional background is in book publishing. In New York City, she was an editor for publishers Harcourt, Brace and Simon and Schuster, and in Germany for Vieweg Verlag. Her past and current board service includes the Albany Berkshire Ballet; the Lenox Library; the Stockbridge Bowl Association; The Literacy Network of South Berkshire; the Lenox Club; and the board of visitors at Miss Hall’s School. For ten years, she worked with the children of victims of 9/11 who came to the Berkshires for a one week retreat each summer. In 2009, she published a book, Where Can I Get a Phoenix?, about the incredible artwork the children created while at Camp Mah-Kee-Nac in Stockbridge.

Richard C. Seltzer, whose primary residence is in Stockbridge, MA, also resides in Lincoln Center in New York City.  During nearly 30 years living in the Berkshires, Mr. Seltzer has worked to protect and enhance the 370-acre Stockbridge Bowl; he is now the president of the Stockbridge Bowl Association.  He also serves on the board and executive committee of Hancock Shaker Village. During most of his professional career, he was a partner in the New York City office of the international law firm Kaye Scholer, where he was the chair of its real estate litigation practice and also active as a patent lawyer. Mr. Seltzer graduated from Harvard College (magna cum laude) and Columbia Law School.

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 40,000 visitors. Daily tours of the property are offered May through October, with special events throughout the year. Annual summer programming includes a joint exhibit with SculptureNow, Wharton on Wednesdays, Music After Hours, and the celebrated Monday Lecture Series. Exhibitions explore themes from Wharton’s life and work.

For more information, visit EdithWharton.org.

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