We sat down with Anne Schuyler, House Manager and Group Tour Coordinator, for a few minutes to learn more about her and her role at The Mount.
Q: Did you always see yourself working in a cultural nonprofit organization?
A: Not at all. I started out in the hospitality business, in hotels, although my academic interest was always in history. And so when I had a chance to get back into that area, I jumped at that chance.
Q: How did you end up at The Mount?
A: I had moved back into New England from the Chicago area. I had decided to go back to school to do graduate work in public history and was looking for a place to combine my love of history, my experience with customer service, and my love for Edith Wharton. I just happened to see an ad for The Mount for a part-time tour guide.
When I was hired, I lived about 60 miles east of Lenox and I took the back roads home and somewhere in a little hill town, while thinking of my new job and how excited I was about it, I managed to get a speeding ticket! It was the only speeding ticket I had gotten in twenty years and I have not gotten one since.
Q: What do you find most gratifying about working at The Mount?
A: It’s a beautiful place. Edith Wharton is a fascinating person to me and a fascinating author- someone I still read often. To be able to interpret and share the house and the grounds with all kinds of people, some who are expert Wharton fans and readers and some who may never have heard of her, is a joy. I try to get people as excited about history and the literature of Edith Wharton as I am.
Q: What have you learned about Edith Wharton that you didn’t know before working at The Mount?
A: I learned she made a traditional Christmas pudding that was actually quite similar to the one my mother made for many, many years. I learned that she liked moussaka and some other interesting dishes. I’ve learned a lot about her support system – her servants – that I didn’t know before. With reading and rereading her work about all kinds of different subjects, I’ve learned even more about the wide range of her mind and developed a great deal of respect for the quality of her education and the quality of her intelligence. And she has a great garden!
Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I read a lot. As fascinated as a lot of people are these days with the comparison of the whole Downton Abbey era with Wharton, it is a busman’s holiday trying to pick up things from various shows, particularly Downton Abbey, that are applicable to The Mount. I love to cook, and all kinds of music. In nice weather, I love to walk and swim. And garden!