Keeping Up with Edith Wharton

Day 262 of Colourisation Project – January 24

Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.

Born into the wealth and privilege of a distinguished and long-established New York family, Edith Newbold Jones’ family is said to have inspired the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses.”

Born this day, January 24, 1862, she is better known as Edith Wharton and hailed as “America’s greatest woman novelist” by the Sunday Times. A Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer, she was three times nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1927, 1928 and 1930.

Edith Wharton

Photographer: E.F. Cooper  ~   Edith Wharton  c 1889 – Coloured by Loredana Crupi

A voracious reader and prolific writer, Wharton is best remembered for her numerous best-selling award-winning works including, The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, The House of Mirth and The Buccaneers.  In her lifetime, she published over thirty-eight books and 85 short stories, many of which have been adapted to the stage and film and are still in print today.

Wharton also had a great love of architecture, gardens and design and wrote several authoritative works on architecture, gardens, interior design, and travel including, The Decoration of Houses (1897) and the generously illustrated Italian Villas and Their Gardens of 1904. She even designed and built her home ‘The Mount,’ in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Growing up in an era when it was fashionable to deter or refuse women from embarking on careers other than the standard career for which they had been groomed since birth  ― marriage, Wharton resisted the trend despite the fact that her mother forbade her to read novels until she was married!

Wharton received much acclaim for her lifelong passion of writing. The Age of Innocence won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for literature, making Wharton the first woman to win the award. She was also the first woman to be awarded the Gold Medal of the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the first woman to be awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by Yale University in 1924 and the first woman awarded full membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1934.

Edith Wharton died of a stroke in 1937 at her French home, Le Pavillon Colombe, on Rue de Montmorency in Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt. The street is today called rue Edith Wharton. She is buried in the American Cemetery in Versailles, France.


“Life is always either a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope.”    Edith Wharton

This entry was posted in American Literature, Architecture, Colorization, Colourisation, Literature, Photography, USA, Women, Women in Literature and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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