2007-2008 Queries

2007-2008 Queries and Student Queries

2007 Queries

Edith Wharton and Henry James: Carriage Ride?

Years ago I heard a college lecturer read a passage by Edith W, describing a carriage ride she took with Henry James.  They either got lost or just needed to ask directions to their destination. James addressed his questions–quoted by Edith–to a passing farmer. The questions were so convoluted and Jamesian that the farmer could make no sense of them even with several rephrasals by James.  Anyidea where I could find this anecdote?

Kerry Wood
This can be found in Wharton’s autobiography, A Backward Glance, although I don’t have a page reference right now.

–D. Campbell

Hudson River Bracketed

i am teacher in litterature. i am preparing a course on edith wharton ‘s books ” hudson river bracketed” and ” the gods arrive”. i am looking for papers and comtemporary rewiews about these two books in order to make a bibliography, can you tell where i can find them on your website or anywhere else on the web?

thanks for your help
christel Manrique
litterature teacher 9/29/07


I work in the education department at the Ponce Art Museum. Right now we are involved in a project sponsored by the NEA, The Big Read.For this project the Museum chose The Age of Innocence. I would like to know if the Ferrigiani mentioned by Old Mrs. Migott ,who modelled her hands in Rome really existed. If so, can you tell me were to find information about him? I would be very grateful for your assistance in this matter.
Ana E.Bauza 9/29/07

Edith Wharton: A Portrait by Augustus M. Gerdes?

I am working with a collector who has what may be an early painting of Edith Wharton by Augustus M. Gerdes, a friend of Morton Fullerton. Mr. Gerdes was a painter who studied in Paris and would have had the financial background to be in the circle of artists, writers and other collectors. His lifelong passion was art and collecting. Descendants of his family have felt for years that there may have been more than a friendship between Mrs. Wharton and Mr. Gerdes. Do you or any of your members have any information on Augustus M. Gerdes and Edith Wharton? Thank you for your assistance in this matter and I have no problems with my name and email being posted.

John Coker 6/21/07

I am inquiring as to whether you may have contact info for John Coker below. I am a relative of Augustus Gerdes and would like to correspond with Mr. Coker.

My name is Peter Moller. My personal email is mpeter059@comcast.net. I have no objection to posting my name and/or email info.


Thank you,

Peter Moller

Copyright Holders

I am attempting to track down estates/copyright holders of several Wharton correspondents:

Ellery Sedgwick, Rutger Jewett, Sally Norton, and Robert Norton.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Noel Sloboda (njs16@psu.edu <mailto:njs16@psu.edu> )

French Ways and Their Meaning in LondonI’m in London and trying to find a copy of ‘French ways and their meaning’.
Do you have any idea where I can get it?

Many thanks, Jane 6/21/07

I am trying to get hold of a copy of “Copy” published in Scribner’s 27, 6 (June 1900). Any advice for me?
Thank you,
Jane Barstow, prof of English
Univ. of Hartford
It is online at the University of Virginia; there’s a link under “Works Online” here at the site.


Teddy Wharton’s GraveWhere is Teddy Wharton buried? Thank you.Christopher Graham

christopher.graham@hbgusa.com 5/15/07

In response to Christopher Graham’s question about Teddy Wharton’s grave: Although his funeral service was at Grace Church in New York City, he is buried in the Cemetery at the Church on the Hill in Lenox, Massachusetts, in a plot between his mother and sister. Some years ago this plot was restored and the gravestones reset, largely due to the efforts of Scott Marshall of Edith Wharton Restoration.Molly McFall



Does the Wyndcliffe house still exist? I can’t find any info later then 2003.
Thank you. E.T. Drury 4/18/07

A recent comment on Edith Wharton in the News suggests that it does but that it is crumbling: http://edithwharton.blogspot.com/2006/10/about-wyndclyffe.html

I recently read on a website – I believe it was on the Hudson River Ruins webstie – that Wyndcliffe has been purchased by a family who is renovating it. (name withheld) 6/21/07

Leonard Baskin print of WhartonI am curious about the Leonard Baskin print of Wharton that is reproduced as the frontispiece in the 1977 edition of Lewis’ biography. I would like to hear from anyone who has information about the medium in which this image was created, or any other information about it. Thank you.

Betsy Beacom 3/31/07

Essay by Joanna Durczak Needed

I am trying to get hold of an essay entitled “America and Europe in Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence” by Joanna Durczak. It appears in a book edited by Jerzy Durczak and Joanna Durczak: “Polish American Literary Confrontations” and I am unable to find the book or the essay anywhere. I would be grateful for any ideas Thanks!Karen 3/31/07

Sources on The Touchstone

I am struggling to help a student find resources on Wharton’s The Touchstone, particularly in the areas of biographical influences. Any ideas on where to start?

M. Gordon, 3/31/07


I would start with Henry James’s “The Aspern Papers” and consider the ‘rights’ the reading public have over celebrity authors’ work, however personal.
Sarah Whitehead
1981 video of SummerI am looking for a copy of the 1981 Great Performances video of Summer starring Diane Lane. Can anyone help me find this?

susanne Rubenstein 3/31/07

This is addressed on the Frequently Asked Questions page and on the Queries 2006 page. The early 1980s Great Performances of Wharton’s works aren’t available.
Wharton and Somerset MaughamR.W.B. Lewis’s biography (p. 521) notes that Edith Wharton “had a particular fondness” for the Somerset Maugham short story “Rain” [sic; its actual title is “Miss Thompson”]. This statement is not footnoted, and I am trying to determine its source. Did R.W.B. Lewis locate it in her letters? If so, which one, and where is the letter archived today?

Any assistance appreciated. Thanks.

Adam Dawson, dawson71@sbcglobal.net


Wharton and the PulitzerWhat was Edith Wharton’s reaction to being named for the Pulitzer Prize, and why? Mary C Sears


Descriptions of New YorkI am currently trying to find a passage in Wharton’s work particularly dealing with the description of New York city , or areas in NYC.
Have you got any passage in mind you could recommend ?
thank you very much in advance .christine Minetto CM christine.minetto at wanadoo.fr


French WaysAnybody knows where I may obtain a copy of “French Ways and their meanings?”



You might want to try alibris.com, abebooks.com, and eBay; also, try Powells.com.

2008 Queries

Anna Bahlmann

I am trying to find out more about Edith’s governess and secretary, Anna Bahlmann. I would like to find a picture of her, if one exists, and would like to know something about her life in Germany before she came to America to work for Lewis Rutherford. If anyone has information, I’d be very grateful.

Jennie Fields 11/25/08

Wharton at Bryn Mawr

Does anyone have any record of Edith Wharton visiting Bryn Mawr College in 1905?


Collected Short Stories of Edith Wharton, vol I

I would like to buy a copy of the above book, the one published by Scribner in 1968. Where can I possibly buy one?
Thank you.


Secondhand bookstore sites like abebooks.com and Powell’s may be a good bet; also, these sometimes turn up on eBay.
Edith Wharton Review 1990 footnote

Dear editors,
I write to ask if you could let me have the remaining of the article I list below.  Its author includes a footnote (# 11) which should appear on p. 17 since the last footnote on p. 16 is #10.  Page # 17 has not been included.

Would it be possible to have access to the missing footnote?

Thanks in advance for your attention.

Leonard, Garry M. “The Paradox of Desire: Jacques Lacan and Edith Wharton.” Edith Wharton Review 7.2 (1990): 13-16.

Carlos Jerez
University of Notre Dame


All the back issues of the Edith Wharton Review, including this one, are now online (free) here at the site:http://www.edithwhartonsociety.org/1999tab.htm.
Italian Villas reproduction

I am writing because I have been trying without success to locate a reproduction of Italian Villas and their Gardens by (what I assume might be) your favorite author. If you can offer me any advice on how to locate the most recent reproduction (the textile on the cover has multicolored flowers as a distinction from the prior edition), then that would be most appreciated!
I thank you in advance for any consideration you might have on this elusive book.
Jonina Turzi


In answer the query titled “Italian Villas Reproduction”:

I believe I saw several copies of the edition you describe on sale at The Mount’s bookstore this summer.  While they do not currently have an online bookstore, they do accept orders over the phone (413) 551-5119 and can also be contacted via e-mail at info@edithwharton.org.

Best wishes,
Dan Hefko

The reproduction edition of Italian Gardens (The Mount Press/Rizzoli) Can be purchased from “The Mount” and its website.

Nick Nicholson

Wharton in Newport photos

I also have a query.  As a native Rhode Islander (born in Newport, mother from Middletown, dad from Newport) who visits there every year, I’m especially fascinated by the references in The Age of Innocence to those towns and locations there.  Does anyone know of a source of photos of, or any textual references outside the fictions to sites Wharton frequented?  My grandmother was more or less her contemporary, although not in the same social realm.  Pictures of my grandmother and her sisters and friends on Ocean Drive and farm pictures from Middletown and Portsmouth make me eager to find out more about Wharton’s times there.  

Jane L. Hyde


In answer to the query titled “Wharton in Newport photos”:

The Edith Wharton collection at Yale’s Beinecke Library has several folders devoted to photographs of Wharton’s homes: Pencraig Cottage, Newport, R. I., and “Land’s End,” Newport, R. I.  The library has also begun offering digital copies of some of Wharton’s photos and manuscripts from their collection online: <http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/SearchExecXC.asp&gt;.)

Eleanor Dwight’s Edith Wharton: An Extraordinary Life has, perhaps, the largest number of published photographs associated with Wharton’s time in Newport.  Biographies of Wharton (including the most recent one by Hermione Lee) offer “textual references outside the fictions to sites Wharton frequented.”
Best wishes,
Dan Hefko

EW Letter about the death of a friend’s dog

I am looking for a letter written by Edith Wharton to a friend about

the death of the friend’s dog.
Does anyone know of the letter and where it might be found
please send e-mails to composites@rcn.com
thank you

Joyce Moss


Manuscript of The Buccaneers

I’m trying to locate the whereabouts of the original manuscript of ‘The Buccaneers’.

Does anyone have any information?



Sara Louise Petersen I [juniormints3@yahoo.com]

Edith Wharton’s handwritten manuscript for The Buccaneers (along with the outline, handwritten notes, and the corrected typescript) are in Box 3 of the Edith Wharton Collection at Yale’s Beinecke library.Dan Hefko
Midlothian, VA
French Ways and Their Meaning: Copyright?I am a graduate assistant researching Edith Wharton and her collection of articles found in French Ways & Their Meaning. In my edition from 1919, it states that D. Appleton and Co. along with International Magazine Co. own the copyrights to this book. Why did Ms. Wharton not own the rights to this collection? And do they still belong to Appleton and Intl’ Mag. Co.? I am writing a term paper due at the beginning of next week, as I would appreciate any information you might have as soon as possible.

Natalie Richardson


In all of the first editions of Wharton’s work that I’ve come across, the manuscript was copyrighted by the publisher rather than the author. It seems to have been the practice of the time.The Watkins/Loomis Agencey currently holds the copyright to French Ways and Their Meaning. Contact information is available at <http://www.watkinsloomis.com/&gt;.

Dan Hefko
Midlothian, VA


Location of the Benedick: Wharton’s Mistake?

In the opening scene of The House of Mirth, Lily Bart and Mr. Selden meet at Grand Central Station, where she has two hours until her train. They walk outside, “north on Madison Avenue”, and almost immediately find themselves in the street where his apartment building, The Benedick, is located. They don’t take a cab (even though he suggested he would find one).

The Benedick, a famous building, is located at 80 Washington Park East, which is more than a mile south of the train station, in the Greenwich Village area. In fact, when Lily leaves Mr. Selden at the Benedick, she takes a cab, and has time for plenty of ruminating while she rides back to the station.

How could Wharton have made such a mistake? Are we to think Lily Bart and Selden walked a mile in the city before arriving at his apartment?


In the space between the period at the end of one sentence and the capital at the beginning of the next, Lily and Selden travel anywhere from half a block to an entire block depending upon where they emerge from Grand Central Station.  Given that they cover this much distance in the white space between sentences, it is not unreasonable to imagine they could have walked a mile or two in the twenty-one lines (in the 1905 edition) between their departure from the station and Lily’s pausing on the street where Selden lives.

Wharton acknowledged in The Writing of Fiction that one of the “central difficulties of the novel” was “the attempt to produce on the reader the effect of the passage of time.”  It could be argued that the brisk pace set by Lily and Selden as they exit the station, coupled with the description of Lily’s “long light step,” are enough evidence to make the distance they cover plausible.

The fact that they “began to stroll northward” and ended up at a southerly destination, could simply suggest the unpremeditated nature of their walk or could point to a sense of misdirection on Wharton’s part.  In A Backward Glance she seems to acknowledge a poor sense of direction in some instances, which she attributes to an over reliance on her driver in getting from one place to another.

Dan Hefko
Midlothian, VA

Wharton’s Homes

Hello, I’ve been searching for photos  of the interiors of Edith’s homes in Paris.  53 Rue de Varenne where she leased from George Vanderbilt and 58 Rue de Varenne.  Do you know if any exist and where I might find them?  Thank you, Shelley Harris


The Lilly Library’s Edith Wharton collection at Indiana University has a box devoted to Wharton’s photographs: <http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/lilly/mss/subfile/whartoninv.html>.While the website doesn’t include a list of the photos, Eleanor Dwight’s illustrated biography includes a picture from the courtyard of 53 Rue de Varenne, which she credits to the Lilly Library. Perhaps their collection includes other interior photographs.

–Dan Hefko, 7/23/08

2007 Student Queries

Hyatt family in SummerWhat do the Hyatt family represent? Why are they shown as so degraded?

mary c kurtzman 3/31/07

Importance of Edith Wharton

How was Edith Wharton historically significant to America at the turn of the century? Shekinah


2008 Student Queries

“Roman Fever”
I´m from Argentina,but I´m studying English and I need to know where I can find any sort of information about “SYMBOLS AND IMAGERY IN ROMAN FEVER”- thank you Annabel


You can find some information on the page on “Roman Fever.”
Female Characters

I’m writing my thesis about Edith Wharton’s New York (upper-class) heroines. i want to discuss Wharton’s female characters and their pursuit of freedom and self-fulfillment, and shows that these characters are compelled to go against the current of their society.

One chapter of the thesis studies the conventional women like May in The Age of Innocence. Another chapter studies the new women like Ellen Olenska, Lily Bart and Undine Spragg.

Well would you please tell me where can i find characters like May Welland, that is conventional character in Wharton’s novel or short stories? so that i can support my first chapter.


Thank you

Zain Sam [eng_stu_08@yahoo.com] 5/24/08

Mythology in Wharton

I’m a college student majoring in english and literature, and i work on “Mythology” in 3 novels of Edith Wharton: The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth and The Custom of the Country. If anyone knows of any articles or books that touch on this subject, please let me know. Thanks so much!


Thanks for your help. 2/17/08

Re: Mythology in Wharton


Have you seen “Mirror, Mirror: Narcissism and Edith Wharton’s Heroines” by Elaine Toia in  The International Journal of the HumanitiesVolume 5Issue 11, pp.67-74.


Sarah Whitehead


I am in search of a copy of Verses for a research paper for this semester. I have requested a copy via Inter-Library Loan, but have not had any luck from the 5 libraries that hold it s of yet, and starting to fear that won’t happen. I know this is a rare text, but does anyone have other suggestions for me? Please email me at katythomaswilson@gmail.com. Thank you!


Sorry–Verses isn’t easy to find, as you’ve discovered, and you’ve already tried the principal route for getting it. You might try another search in Worldcat:


Search for an item in libraries near you:
Enter title, subject or author
WorldCat.org >>



Here are some replies from an earlier query about it that may be helpful:

To E. Johansen:  I believe Verses, by Edith Wharton, is one of the rarest of all her books.  The Clifton Waller Barrett Library, Special Collection Department,  Alderman Library, the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, has a complete copy.  As you probably know, it was printed privately by Lucretia Jones in 1878.  The printer was C. E. Hammett, Jr., in Newport, R.I. The Newport Historical Society may also have a copy.  I would be interested to know what others you find.
All the best —
Sarah Bird Wright

If memory serves me correctly, about 10 years ago when I was writing my dissertation I was able to get a copy through inter-library loan.  I think it came from UVa.  Whoever it was sent a microfilm copy for me to keep–it’s still on my shelf at home.  I see by checking the WorldCat database that several libraries around the country own it, either in hard copy or microfilm.  If you haven’t already asked your inter-library loan librarian for help, that’s where I’d go.  — Anne Fields

Note: Edith Wharton’s Artemis to Actaeon and Other Verse, a volume of poems, is available in a reprint version from Classic Books. Also, many of Wharton’s poems (but not Verses) are available on the Wharton’s Works page at this site.  –D. Campbell 5/9/00

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s