Edith Wharton was born nee Edith Newbold Jones on January 24, 1862 in New York City to George Frederic Jones and Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander. She was related to the Rensselaer family who were thought of to be of high class and prestige. Have you ever heard the saying “Keeping up with the Joneses“? That was based on her family. She met many public figures like Theodore Roosevelt.
She married Edward (Teddy) Robbins Wharton in 1885 and they lived in Philadelphia, at his estate, The Mount. She married into the same social class; Edith loved to be creative and designed the gardens around the estate and well as the interior design of the house. Teddy Wharton was twelve years older then she, and a regular sportsman. In 1897 she co-authored and wrote her first book with Ogden Codman called The Decoration of Houses. In 1905 she wrote The House of Mirth. She had been writing many short stories during this time including ghost stories. Unfortunately in 1908 her husband suffered from depression which was discovered to be incurable. She divorced him in 1913.
In her spare time when she wasn’t working on the house or gardens she was writing. Sometimes she would write short stories, other times, books on design. She wrote about the world and society she knew about. She moved to Paris, France after the divorce.
In 1923 she received an honorary doctorate degree from Yale University. That was the only time she returned to the states.She returned to France. In 1937 she died of a stroke. She died leaving over 85 stories and many books for us to read. She found the irony in life.