2009-2010 Queries

2009-2010 Queries and Student Queries

2009 Queries

Wharton’s mourning in July-October 1910

while researching for a book on american commercial engraving and social stationery i was examining EW’s letters to morton fullerton at the harry ransom center recently and found that from march 22 through july but not after october, 1910, she corresponded on mourning stationery with black bordering but no mention of her bereavement.

who would have passed away around then that would give cause for her to use this form of letter paper? there were several, different format.

nancy sharon collins
partner-nancy sharon collins, stationer/collins, LLC adjunct faculty, loyola university new orleans director of special projects, AIGA new orleans nscstationer@earthlink.net


Anna Bahlmann pictures?

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


I’d just like to let Jennie Fields know that the letters of Anna Bahlmann are among the materials held at the Beinecke Library at YaleUniversity.


Accession Number
  Date Entered
    30 Jun 2009
  Call Number
    Mssu (Forstrom)
    Bahlmann, Anna Catherine.
    Letters from Edith Wharton and others, photographs, material relating to war relief efforts during the First World War, and personal papers.
    V. p.
  Physical Description
    4 boxes
  Date of Acquisition
    Yale Collection of American Literature
  Material Type(s)
  archives and manuscripts  (ms)
photographs  (ph)



Sarah Kogan

The Mount


Where did EW meet Bernard Berenson?

I recently read “Forty Years with Berenson” and a chapter is actually devoted to her in the book.  They were very friendly until her death in Aug/1937, and she visited Berenson at I Tatti often. Similarly the Berensons stayed at Sainte- Claire often around Christmas.  Did they meet in Europe or the US?
Marvin Nussbaum
PS The book, which I own, might be of interest.
Wharton met the Beresons at the Billa La Doccia in Italy in March 1903.  (See Hermione Lee, Edith Wharton, p. 91)

Tarah Demant
Visiting Assistant Professor of English
Mills College
5000 MacArtrur Blvd.
Oakland, CA 9461


TV Version of Ethan Frome

Is the 1960 Dupont Show of Month TV program Ethan Frome available for purchase through any company I needn it for a school project maryraitt421@hotmail.com


The only information we have about what’s available is on the FAQ page and the Filmography page. It doesn’t look as though this is available.
Mary Mason Jones

I have come across seemingly authoritative sources mentioning Mary Mason Jones as both Wharton’s aunt and great aunt. The source of the confusion may be that there are two George Jones’: Wharton’s parents were George Frederic Jones and Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander (Jones); Mary’s sister, Serena Mason married a(nother) George Jones; was he the son of the first GJ? If so, Wharton would be a great niece of Mary. If not, what is the relationship of Serena’s GJ?
Can someone enlighten me?
David 2/3/09

Mary Carre Masson 1801-1891 m Isaac Jones 1795-1854. Mary was daughter of John Mason founder Chemical Bank. Isaac was president of the bank They had a daughter Mary Mason Jones who marrier Baron de Troubiand who was a major general in the US army Isaac Jones was brother of Edward Jones 1785-1839 m Elizabeth Schermerhorn. one of their sons was George Frederick Jones, father of Edith

Serena Mason b1804, another daughter of John Mason married George Jones 1800-1887. Among their children was George Alfred Jones m Harriet Coster, and Serena Jones m Henry Fearing.

Translations of Ethan Frome

Can anyone tell me how many different translations Ethan Frome is in?

Gretchen Kifer 2/3/09

Ethan Frome Literary History

I am a graduate student and have been assigned to do a 20 page literary history. I was hoping to do Ethan Frome but need tips on finding this particular sort of information. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks! Gretchen Kifer 2-3-09

Review of The Figure of Consciousness

Was there ever published in The Wharton Review a Book Review on The Figure of Consciousness: William James, Henry James and Edith Wharton by Jill M. Kress??
I received a notice that it would be published, but never saw it in print, and cannot find this review which leads me to believe that it was in fact never published. Thank you.

Constance E. Holmes 2/3/09


If you do not already have a reply to the query “Review of The Figure of Consciousness,” Constance E. Holmes’ review of The Figure of Consciousness by Jill M. Kress appeared in Volume XX, No. 2 (Fall, 2004) of the Edith Wharton Review and ran on pages 2 and 23.

Dan Hefko

Americans in Pau

I am doing research into Americans who lived in Pau, France in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The graves of Harriet Duer Jones, her family and Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones are at the cemetery in Pau, France. I could send you a photo of the grave, if you don’t have it.

1. I’m curious whether you have information as to why the Potters lived here full time.
2. I’m curious why Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones was buried with the Potters, other than Mrs. Potter was her niece. At that time, it wasn’t uncommon for one to have their remains moved to a desired burial location. Her place of death is about 400 miles from Pau. Her remains could have just as easily been sent to New York.
3. Do you have any information whether William H. Kane, who also lived here, was related to them. I read an article in the New York Times archives that stated he was a cousin of Caroline Webster Schermerhorn Astor, but haven’t been able to confirm it through any other sources.
4. Do you have information regarding Mrs. Wharton’s or her aunt’s stays here in Pau.
5. William Pollock purchased The Mount from the Whartons in 1911. His sister, Sarah Alpine Pollock (also buried in Pau) and her husband Edward McEvers Livingston had a home in Pau called Villa Clermont. Clermont Manor was the name of the Livingston family home near Germantown, New York. She and her husband also had a home, Osceola Lodge, that is now CliffwoodInn.com in Lenox and not far from The Mount. Do you happen to have any information of any familial relationship between Edward McEvers Livingston and Edith Wharton?

Thank you for your assistance.

David Blackburn 1-9-09

To the question about why E S Jones was buried at Pau and not in NY.

Nothing I have found that explicitly says why but she was a spinster and her brother Edward (Harriet’s father) had died by then and while Edith’s father, her brother George, may have been in the US, Harriet her niece was in Pau and so may have been closer to her. Harriet went to live in Pau when her husband James Neilsen Potter (brother of Henry bishop of NY) retired there. The Potters lived a comfortable fashionable life moving up to London and Paris for the season. Only one daughter, Elizabeth, married while the other 3 remained based in Pau until their deaths. Some other Potters moved over to Europe also and many of them form both sides of the Atlantic served in the Great War 


Edith’s parents died in France. George in Cannes 1882 and Lucretia in Paris 1901. Since Elizabeth S Jones’s other sister Margaret and brother Joshua didn’t marry (died young?), and Harriet was living in Pau, that would suggest that Elizabeth had no close family in the US except maybe Fanny Duer Robinson Jones when she died which may go further to explaining why she was buried in Pau. Fanny Jones was a widow by then.

Edith was not a Livingston but her aunt Fanny Duer (Robinson) Jones was descended for General William Alexander and Sarah Livingston via William Duer and Robinson

if you have photos of the graves of the Jones and Potters at Pau I would be interested in seeing them.



I made a posting in February. I just ran across your response, which said you’d like to see a photo of the grave I’d mentioned. Attached is the photo and the inscriptions on the tomb are as follows:

James Neilson Potter
8/25/1891 Schnectity

Wife : Harriet Duer Jones
NY 8/30/1843
D Aix les Bains 5/3/1913

Henrietta Neilson Potter
NY 7/19/1872
D Grenoble 2/3/1928

Margaret Renshaw Potter
Paris 9/2/1876
Pau 12/8/1950

Catherine Alexander Duer Potter
NY 9/26/1885
Pau 10/15/1969

Fanny Duer Jones
NY 7/3/1829
Paris 1/9/00


Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones
NY 5/23/45
Lamalou les Bains
David Blackburn


I came across a reference in Eleanor Dwight’s book on Edith Wharton that suggests that the reason Americans were going to Europe was that inflation after the civil war ate into their investment income and it was easier to live grandly in Europe. certainly that was the reason she gives for EW’s father and maybe that matches for others in the Jones family. In your mails to Irene Harms you may have mixed up the Bagnells 
You can contact me through Donna Campbell or Irene.


I am very interested in David Blackburn’s post of January 2009 about Americans in Pau.

I write about Edith Wharton’s social circle in Lenox, MA, and there are a number of Lenox families who seem to have wintered in Pau including Teddy Wharton’s mother and sister both called Nancy Wharton and his cousin Nancy Wadsworth Rogers and her son Wadsworth. Also the Edward Livingstons of Osceola mentioned in Mr. Blackburns post.

There is a small error in his post about the subsequent owners of the Mount which were a family with New Orleans roots called Shattuck not Pollock, thus there is not a connection there to the Edward and Sarah Pollock Livingston.

I am anxious to know more about this American community in Pau.

Cornelia Brooke Gilder. cbgilder@gmail.com




2010 Queries

Copyright on Age of Innocence Dramatization?
Does anyone know who holds the copyright to Margaret Ayer Barnes’ dramatic adaptation of Age of Innocence?
Please do not post my name or email.
Help for Student
Dear Edith Wharton Society,I am doing a project for school, and I need to know the style of writing that Edith Wharton uses, and I need examples from her books, The Age of Innocence and Ethan Frome. Could you help me? or at least tell me where to find this information? Thank You!

I would not like my name or my email posted anywhere. And i could use the answer as soon as possible.

thanks again,

Edith Wharton and Joseph Wharton?

Hello: Is Edith Wharton related to Joseph Wharton of Philadelphia who established the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, by her marriage to Teddy Wharton?

Thank you.

Bob Wyckham
Professor emeritus
wyckham at sfu dot ca

Re: Teddy Wharton’s relations.  Perhaps the family tree in Sarah Bird Wright’s book, cited in answer to a query re: EW’s family tree is a good place to start?   Don Hefko noted:

In answer to the recent query re: Edith Wharton’s family tree, two print sources are available.  In Sarah Bird Wright’s Edith Wharton A to Z, the author includes family trees for both Edward Robbins Wharton and Edith Newbold Jones as Appendix IV on pages 301-302.  She also lists the sources from which these genealogies were compiled.

See his reply on the query page for full details.

–Sharon Shaloo

“The Springs”Hello, I wondered if you could help me with this doubt. I am reading The Old Maid, and on the first pages one of the characters refers to the Springs. Wharton literally writes:

“Don´t let your sons go mooning around after their youg fellows, horse-racing, and running down to those damned Springs, and gambling at New Orleans…”
I wouls appreciate if someone in the Society could tell me if this refers to Saratoga Springs, very fashionable back at the turn of 19 century or, as some people have pointed out,  it may more likely refer to Colorado Springs.
Thank you very much for your help.

Lale González-Cotta

Though I haven’t gone back to the text, the setting of *The Old Maid* is the 1840s and Colorado Springs was established in 1871.  Saratoga Springs was a lively destination resort from at least the 1820s about which EW wrote in other stories and in at least one novel.  I don’t see why anyone would suggest Colorado Springs rather than Saratoga Springs as the more likely reference, but maybe I am missing something? –Sharon Shaloo


I am positive it was Saratoga Springs. Not only because Saratoga was one of the most popular Northern watering holes for Southern planters and their families, but because Edith Wharton used the city in “The Buccaneers,” to show that newly wealthy Southerners continued to make their way to Saratoga, despite fashionable society moving on to Newport, Rhode Island (which was also a favored summer resort for Southerners prior to the Civil War). Colorado Springs did not become a fashionable resort until the 1890s, and even then, it was only favored by wealthy Midwesterners.Regards,

Evangeline Holland



Wharton and the Built Environment

I am teaching a new class this quarter and am looking for a short selection from Edith Wharton that describes the physical world, the built environment of Wharton’s time, particularly well. The selection could also be one in which Wharton posits her own ideas about how that world shouldlook.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I appreciate any help you can offer me.

Kelly Wright

Dear Kelly,
I have done research and have lectured on Edith Wharton’s influence, in the early 20th century, on American garden design; is that information that might help you?  You mentioned in your query a “short selection from Edith Wharton”; are you referring to her novels or non-fiction such as The Decoration of Houses and Italian Villas and their Gardens?

Constance Haydock

Constance Haydock
Landscape Architect, LEED AP



Have a look at the beginning of the Decoration of Houses for Wharton’s discussion on the purpose of balustrades in a well-built house — much can be made of this.

Also, the well-known quote from her short story, “The Fullness of Life” about a woman’s soul as a house with many rooms.

Best wishes,
Ann Patten

British Edition of The Age of Innocence

Does any institution or collector have a first British Edition of “Age of Innocence”. The Garrison Bibliography cannot locate a copy.
Thank you,
Helen Kelly


Could someone please give me directions on how to get to Wyndclffe from Rhinebeck, NY?

Wyndcliffe is located on Mill Rd in Rhinebeck.  Mill Rd runs in a loop off Rt 9.  Travelling north on Rt 9, entering Rhinebeck, you would turn left onto S. Mill Rd not too long after passing Belvedere Mansion.  Travelling south on Rt 9 (called “Mill St” for a while, just to add to the confusion!), you would turn right onto Mill Rd not too long after passing Legion Park (which is on the left, I note).

If you miss the ruins, stop at the Stone House B&B about midway on the loop and ask for directions.

–Sharon Shaloo

 Anna Bahlmann Letters: Collection at Yale? 

Hello to both Jennie Fields who expressed her interest in Anna Bahlmann and to Sarah Kogan at the Mount who was kind enough to reply.

I too am interested in AB and am doing some research for a dissertation on the role of the governess in EW’s work. I’d like to verify with Sarah Kogan that the letters in question are indeed the collection that was auctioned off by Christies’s this past June. I assume that it would be possible to obtain permission to  view these papers at Yale.

If anyone has any biographical  information about AB, I would be most happy to  hear from you.

Miriam Schutzer@afeka.ac.il

I’d just like to let Jennie Fields know that the letters of Anna Bahlmann are among the materials held at the Beinecke Library at YaleUniversity.(reposted from previous page–not a new reply)–Sarah Kogan

The Mount


Dear Ms Schutzer,
In answer to your inquiry about the Bahlmann papers, they were auctioned at Christies in June, 2009, and purchased by the Beinecke Library at Yale. They have been cataloged and you can learn about them via the Beinecke finding aid database on the Beinecke Library website.
It is a vast and fascinating collection and you will learn a great deal about Bahlmann’s life by investigating it. I am preparing an edition of the letters from Wharton to Bahlmann, scheduled to come out from Yale University Press in 2012.
Good luck!
Irene Goldman-Price

Wharton: Where to begin?
As someone who has never read Edith Wharton before, which of her novels would you recommend as the best introduction to her work ?
Whilst not wishing to tempt members away from Mrs Wharton I’ll gladly recommend, as a change, a novel of the English author Arnold Bennett, a contemporary of Mrs Wharton, if anyone is interested.
Mark Smith
You can see some suggestions from Wharton Society members here: http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/wharton/whlbib.htm
Wharton’s Family Tree

I am trying to locate somewhere I can view Edith Wharton’s extended family tree.  Do you know of a helpful link I might try?  Thank you!

In answer to the recent query re: Edith Wharton’s family tree, two print sources are available.  In Sarah Bird Wright’s Edith Wharton A to Z, the author includes family trees for both Edward Robbins Wharton and Edith Newbold Jones as Appendix IV on pages 301-302.  She also lists the sources from which these genealogies were compiled.  At the conclusion of Hermione Lee’s biography Edith Wharton, the author includes “Edith Wharton’s Family Tree,” (page 763) although the tree here is slightly less extended than that provided by Wright’s book.  If you look up Lee’s book on Amazon.com, use the “Search Inside This Book” Feature, and type in “family tree” in quotations marks, the side bar on the left of the screen will display 15 results.  If you scroll down, clicking on the last of these will allow you to view the family tree as it appears in the book.  The extended genealogy in Wright’s book is not available online.
Dan Hefko
Midlothian, VA
Edith Wharton and “Cousin Lina” 

I have come across a couple of letters from Edith Wharton addressed to “Cousin Lina”.  One also mentions how Ms. Wharton misses “dear Edith” and hasn’t seen her in a long time.  I was wondering if you could shed some light on who Cousin Lina and/or this young Edith were?  I would appreciate any input.


Dana Hill

2.  Edith Wharton’s father was first-cousin to Caroline Schermerhorn (more famously known by her married name: Mrs. William B. Astor) who often went by “Lina.”  I’m not sure if this is cousin to whom EW is referring, but it does make a match.

Tarah Demant
Visiting Assistant Professor of English
Mills College
5000 MacArtrur Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94613



Henry James on Edith Wharton

I cannot find the bibliographical reference for the following Henry James quote on Edith Wharton (as quoted on edithwharton.org):

“No one fully knows Edith who hasn’t seen her in the act of creating a habitation for herself.”

Thanks for providing it!

Irene Billeter Sauter
PhD student, Switzerland

In his book Portrait of Edith Wharton (New York: Appleton, 1947. pp. 129-130), Percy Lubbock quotes James as saying “’no one fully knows our Edith who hasn’t seen her in the act of creating a habitation for herself.’” Lubbock had been a close friend of both James and Wharton but did not paint a flattering portrait of Wharton in his “tribute” to her.

Betsy Beacom


This quotation comes from Percy Lubbock’s book Portrait of Edith Wharton. I don’t have a copy to hand but I think it is on around page 130.

Molly McFall

Librarian, The Mount

The Buccaneers 

When Edith Wharton died in 1937 she left The Buccaneers unfinished , but she had drawn up a “Synopsis” setting forth the main lines of the novel.
I do not know where to find this synopsis. I know that the incomplete manuscript was published  by Gaillard Lapsley in New York in 1938. Did he attach
the synopsis? The main thing I want to know is whether Edith Wharton meant Anabel and Guy Thwarte to marry in the end.

Please don’t post my e-mail adress.

Thanking you in advance for your reaction,

A. van Wagensveld


In response to the recent query about the ending of Wharton’s unfinished novel “The Buccaneers”, I can provide the following information:

The book “Fast and Loose and the Buccaneers” (University of Virginia Press, 1993) , currently in print, has an introduction to both novels by Viola Hopkins Winner and includes Wharton’s (very brief) synopsis of “The Buccaneers”.    The text of “The Buccaneers” in this edition is the version originally published in 1938.

You may post my name, but please do not include my e-mail.  Thank you.

Shawn Cullen

Comment about Wharton

After reading Edith Wharton you  quickly discover, the rest of the world has got no class.


Scene from a Wharton novel?

I’m trying to recall a scene that I read in one of Wharton’s books when I was a teenager.  I believe it is from House of Mirth, but I may be conflating/imagining this.

A woman on the verge of becoming an old maid pours a cup of tea for a sort of noxious guy.  She knows that if she can just pour him the perfect cup of tea, she will close the deal and be able to marry him.  But something inside her rebels, and she spills the cup and loses him.  Does this ring a bell to anyone?  Can you direct me to the exact citation, if it exists?

Thanks very much!
Sarah Deming

sarahlynndeming at gmail dot com


The only Wharton reference I can think of is the short story “The Other Two” (1904) in which the thrice married Mrs Waythorn pours tea for 3 men – her 2 exhusbands and her husband. She mixes up who takes sugar etc, but I do not recall any tea being spilt. Perhaps this is the passage you were thinking of.

Sarah Whitehead


I think the scene in the train out to Belomont and subsequent events in the first chapters of the House of Mirth fits in every particular except the spilling of the tea, which might be a conflated memory (to pick up your sense of a confused memory) of Lily managing to “spill” herself into Percy Gryce’s (the target potential husband) lap as she cunningly walked by when the train lurched (the only way she could find an excuse to sit opposite him), and then making a complete mess of the enterprise by going off for a long walk with the impoverished Selden (whom she really would like to marry) rather than going to church with the incredibly boring Gryce.
Charles Watkins
charles dot watkins at wanadoo dot


Wharton: Collecting Ferns?

At the website for the Mount it is mentioned that Wharton personally collected many varieties of ferns in the Berkshires. Is this true? I am looking for more information about Wharton as an active gardener (active as in touching the earth and plants not just planning). How could I find information like this? I’ve been scanning some of her letters but very little as of yet.

Thank you!

Oregon State University


Just a suggestion for the person asking about Wharton as an active gardener. Keep looking in the letters. From the body of letters, the best resource to learn about Wharton’s gardening tendencies is her correspondence with Beatrix Farrand, a good deal of which can be found at Yale. I know there is also a few references in Walter Berry letters around 1901/1902 when she is working on plays and he mentions that she would rather play in the dirt than be involved in the theatrical preparations. Also, some of the later Rutger Jewett letters speak about her gardening (by later, I mean late 20’s and 30’s). If Julie needs more detail, I’d be happy to help. She can always reach me at skogan@edithwharton.org. –Sarah Kogan


Wharton’s papers

Where are Edith Wharton’s personal papers? Is there an archive? I am researching American commercial engraving, monograms and social stationery for a new book and wondered on what letter papers Ms.
Wharton may have written her personal correspondence?

My name and email address may be posted.

Thank you.

Nancy Collins, [nscstationer@earthlink.net]

Most of Wharton’s papers are at the Beinecke Library, but some are at the Harry Ransom Center or the Lilly Llibrary. You can find the links on theResearch page.
Hi there,

We are making a short film of one of Edith Wharton’s wonderful ghost stories and we are looking for
an executive producer/angel to help us raise the modest budget. The film is being shot in and around Oxford
in the UK. Interested parties can contact the producer: lois dot brown51 at googlemail dot com
for more details.

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