Saturday, July 5, 2008


Born: January 24, c. 1861
New York, New York
Died: August 11, 1937
Paris, France

American author

Edith Wharton, American author, chronicled the life of upper-class Americans between the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. She is best known for her novels The House of Mirth and The Age of Innocence.


Edith Wharton was born Edith Newbold Jones in New York City, on January 24, probably in 1861. Like many other biographical facts, she kept her birth year secret. Gossip held that the family’s English tutor—not George Frederic Jones—was really Edith’s father. The truth may never be known, but Edith evidently believed the story. After the Civil War (1861–65), when Northern forces clashed with those of the South, George Jones took his family to Europe, where they could have a better quality of life. In Europe, young Edith began to develop her love of literature and writing.

Back in New York City, by the age of eighteen Edith had published poems in magazines and in a privately printed volume and had experimented with fiction. However, events put off her writing career. The family’s second long European trip ended in her father’s death. In New York City again, she evidently fell in love with Walter Berry; yet she became engaged to Edward Wharton, eleven years her senior and a wealthy Bostonian. They were married in 1885.


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