Monday, August 31, 2009

Senator Edward Kennedy

The Mount was greatly saddened to hear of the recent death of Senator Edward Kennedy. We were lucky enough to host Senator and Mrs. Kennedy on August 2, 2000, when they officiated at the ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of the restoration of The Mount’s exterior. The photo above shows the Senator at the ceremony with the late Scott Marshall, Vice-President of The Mount.

Senator Kennedy was instrumental in helping The Mount achieve recognition in May 1999 as an Official Project of Save America’s Treasures, a public-private partnership of the White House Millennium Council and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Accompanying this recognition was a $2.9 million challenge grant (representing nearly 10% of the $30 million pool allotted for the 1999 program). Without his assistance, the very crucial structural repairs needed at the time might well have been delayed with disastrous results.

All of us at The Mount would like to offer express our thanks for Senator Kennedy’s years of service, and offer our deepest sympathy to Mrs. Kennedy and all of the Senator’s family at this time.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jules, The Mount's Wonderdog

In our travels throughout the blogosphere, we are always searching for any tributes, accolades, hommages, etc. etc. to Edith Wharton and the things she loved. We came upon a blog entry that is just such an one, as it highlights both Edith and Teddy Wharton's love of dogs, in particular the above-pictured Jules (with Teddy Wharton). We thank McPolack for the comments, and hope they enjoyed their visit to The Mount.

As you can see, Jules's haircut has often caused comment, and we at The Mount are still searching for a good reason for doing such a thing to an innocent creature like Jules. We here all have a very soft spot for Jules, as did the Whartons, who buried him in the pet cemetery with the beautiful epitaph "Our Friend Jules."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mermaids at the Mount

Four magical performances by the Berkshire Children’s Theater filled The Mount’s stable auditorium with hilarious laughter, terrifying awe and great pride last week. Talented young Berkshire County performers ages 4 to 18 took us on a fun-filled undersea journey with the Little Mermaid, her beautiful mermaid sisters, all sorts of sea creatures and her loyal Prince as they performed "The Little Mermaid". The colorful costumes, fantastic acting, singing and dancing were a true delight to young and old in the audience.

The tuneful adaptation of "The Little Mermaid" is based on the classic story by Hans Christian Anderson. The original script and music were written by Berkshire Children’s Theater Director Kara Demler, with musical arrangements by Joe Rose and costumes by Debbie White and “Berkshire Masquerade”. The Berkshire Children's Theater has been presenting family musicals and concerts in the Berkshires year round since 2004. “The Little Mermaid” marked their debut at The Mount’s Stable’s Theater, and hopefully will be followed by many more performances!

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Return of Some Old Friends

We are extremely pleased that a number of present and former members of Shakespeare & Company will be performing again at The Mount, their first home in the Berkshires. The Wharton Salon is bringing one of Mrs. Wharton's very best stories, Xingu, to life in the best possible setting, The Mount's drawing room. This story from the Boston Globe highlights this reawakening of an old friendship. We have so many visitors who remember with great fondness and appreciation the productions that Shakespeare & Co. presented here, and we hope that Xingu will be the first of many more such performances. Click here for more information on next week's performances.

Why didn't we think of this first?

The Mount is always trying to expand the world's appreciation of and exposure to the works of Edith Wharton. Hence the wonderful cake "Eatin' Frome" pictured above, and designed and made by former Mountie Tracy for a contest in Lenox.

The idea for a game based on Ethan Frome presented on IGN's website seems an exceptional one, but perhaps is not in the best of taste. (Beware, this article contains spoilers!) Maybe a better one would be an archery game based on The Age of Innocence, or perhaps a survival horror game based on some of Wharton's ghost stories (Kerfol has the obligatory dogs ...)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Today is the 72nd anniversary of the death of Edith Wharton, who died in Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt near Paris on August 11, 1937. Here at The Mount we try to celebrate the life of Mrs. Wharton every day, but today we thought it would be appropriate to commemorate her life and works here on The Mount's blog. And of course that means lots of links to Whartoniana of all sorts.

After Mrs. Wharton left The Mount she moved to Paris. She lived at two different addresses in the rue de Varenne. After the First World War she lived in St.-Brice, Pavillon Colombe. The street on which she lived is now named "rue Edith Wharton". She also lived part time in the south of France at Sainte-Claire du Château, Mrs. Wharton's home in the south of France which now belongs to the city of Hyères. These are all very nice places one is certain, but of course none can hold a candle to The Mount!

The perfect start to a search for all things Wharton is the Edith Wharton Society. It is comprised of Wharton scholars and enthusiasts who hold a wealth of knowledge and are happy to share it. Great repositories of online texts are here and here.

The Beinecke Library holds Edith Wharton's personal papers, manuscripts, letters and photographs and we have made free use of their online materials here at the blog many times and must once more express our thanks. Other primary sources for Wharton are the Lilly Library at Indiana University and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas (your blogger's alma mater). A brief compendium of quotations ends our linkathon for today.

We will end with a quotation of our own choosing from a letter Edith Wharton wrote in 1936 to her friend Mary Berenson: "I wish I knew what people mean when they say they find 'emptiness' in this wonderful adventure of living, which seems to me to pile up its glories like an horizon-wide sunset as the light declines."

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Red Leather Diary

Lily Koppel, author of The Red Leather Diary is lecturing today at The Mount at 4pm. This should prove to be a great lecture, and the story behind the book is fascinating. The diary was rescued from a New York dumpster, and Lily Koppel has traced its owner's life, giving a glimpse into a world of wealth and privilege between the wars.