Edith Wharton's The Mount Opens May 5

Highlights of the 2012 season

By: - Apr 23, 2012

Prepare for a very special year! This past January, Edith Wharton turned 150 and The Mount has been celebrating this important milestone all year long. That is why we are excited to announce our 2012 season, Edith Wharton: 21st Century Muse. We hope you will join us as we pay tribute to The Mount's remarkable creator with programming highlighting Wharton's life, work, and achievements. The Mount's opening day is May 5th.

"We are very excited about this coming season. We have made a conscientious effort to showcase Wharton's personal story," said The Mount's Executive Director Susan Wissler. "The Mount is the home she built for herself and it's where she really came into her own. This season is about celebrating Wharton-her life, her accomplishments, and her continued relevance. Wharton is enjoying a strong resurgence, because her story and her achievements still resonate today."

Highlights of the 2012 season include:

  • The opening of the new exhibition A Beautiful Construction: Edith Wharton at The Mount
  • The ongoing reconstruction of Wharton's bedroom suite
  • Readings, talks and lectures, including: Nini Gilder's "Who Was Teddy Wharton? A Biographer's Journey"; a day of practical gardening tips with expert gardeners Naomi Brooks, Karen Bussolini, Heather Poire, and Kerry Ann Mendez; and novelist Jennie Fields reading from her upcoming book, The Age of Desire
  • The 20th season of our Monday Lecture Series which will include: Sally Bedell Smith, author of Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch; Gioia Diliberto, author of Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway's First Wife; and Irene Goldman-Price, editorofMy Dear Governess The Letters of Edith Wharton to Anna Bahlmann, a 40-year collection of letters from Wharton to her closest confident
  • Family theater on The Mount's outdoor theater with a production of Pinocchio presented in partnership with Berkshire Theatre Group
  • The Inner House, a production by The Wharton Salon adapted from Wharton's own memoir, A Backward Glance
  • Our second Berkshire WordFest celebrating words, ideas, authors, and readers September 14-16, 2012

In addition, The Mount will continue to offer its mainstay of programming including the popular Wharton on Wednesdays; Music After Hours on the terrace; and weekly ghost tours.


Full 2012 Season Schedule

The Mount will be open from 10 am-5 pm every day, May 5th through October 31. Guided tours of the house and three acres of restored formal gardens-among the largest and most exquisite in New England-will be available for $2 plus admission starting on May weekends. Guests may also take self-guided tours of the estate at any time during opening hours. Call 413-551-5111 or visit for information and daily schedule. Group tours may also be arranged at a reduced rate.

2012 Monday Lecture Series

Members preview sale until May 27. All Lecture Series events are held on Mondays beginning at 4 pm.

Tickets: $18 members, $20 non-members.

To purchase tickets, please call 413-551-5100. Seating is limited and early ticket purchase is highly recommended. For more information, visit

Edith Wharton and Anna Bahlmann: Companions for Forty-Two Years

Irene Goldman-Price

July 9

We open with an extraordinary talk about the recently discovered letters from Edith Wharton to her childhood governess and lifelong companion and secretary, Anna Bahlmann. Wharton scholar Irene Goldman-Price edited the letters, to be published in May. Based on this 40-plus year correspondence, her talk reveals the story of loyalty and trust between women from different social classes and provides intimate and surprising new insights into Wharton's private and professional lives.

Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life

Natalie Dykstra

July 16

Clover Adams, a fiercely intelligent Boston Brahmin, married at twenty-eight the soon-to-be-eminent American historian Henry Adams. Admired for her wit and taste, she thrived in the social circles of Gilded Age Washington while harboring a haunting mystery. Why did Clover, having begun in the spring of 1883 to capture her world vividly through photography, end her life less than three years later by drinking a chemical she used in the darkroom? Author Natalie Dykstra gives an eye-opening account of her inspiring, yet ultimately tragic, life.

Rin Tin Tin: The Life and The Legend

Susan Orlean

July 23

Who doesn't remember the wonderful television show The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin? As a young girl, Susan Orlean longed for a German Shepherd of her own, a perfect dog just like Rin Tin Tin. The renowned staff writer at The New Yorker and author of the best-selling book The Orchid Thief has written the biography of the beloved dog actor. Orlean will share with us Rin Tin Tin's incredible canine journey from orphaned puppy abandoned on a WW I battlefield to movie star, Oscar nominee, and international icon.

Paris Without End: The True Story of Hemingway's First Wife

Gioia Diliberto

July 30

Hadley Richardson and Ernest Hemingway were the golden couple of Paris in the 1920s. Their marriage inspired Hemingway's lyrical memoir A Moveable Feast, and Hadley would remain his most enduring muse. Author Gioia Diliberto untangles the bittersweet and compelling love story of the young Hemingways: their passionate courtship, their family life in Paris with baby Bumby, and their tumultuous relationship, ultimately destroyed by a devastating mnage à trois on the French Riviera.

Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman

Robert K. Massie

August 6

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer of the 400-year Romanov Dynasty, Robert Massie recounts the epic and eternally fascinating story of Catherine the Great. Born into a minor noble family, the young German princess wrapped herself in furs and traveled by horse-drawn carriage in the dead of winter to St. Petersburg. The young teenager would experience a meteoric rise to power, eventually becoming a pivotal figure of the Enlightenment era and one of the most powerful and influential women in history.

Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch

Sally Bedell Smith

August 13

Since her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know our most famous contemporary monarch? Drawing on interviews and never-before-revealed documents, biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the royal curtain and illuminates in intimate detail the sixty years of Queen Elizabeth II's reign.

Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of a Masterpiece

Michael Gorra

August 20

Wharton's close friend Henry James has had many biographers, but Michael Gorra, professor and literary critic, takes a whole new approach. Combining elements of biography, criticism, and travelogue, Gorra recreates the dramatic back story of James' masterpiece, Portrait of a Lady (1881). Traveling to Florence, Rome, Paris and England, Gorra sheds new light on James' family, the European literary circles of the time and the creation of his most memorable heroine.

One Writer's Garden: Eudora Welty's Home Place

Jane Roy Brown

August 27

Throughout her distinguished literary career, Eudora Welty wove images of southern flora-often drawn directly from her own garden-into her writing. Landscape historian and travel and garden writer Jane Roy Brown explores the connection between Welty's gardening and her writing within the context of the early 20th century boom in American home gardening. Unique historic images and stunning contemporary garden photographs accompany this captivating talk.

Programs & Events

Throughout the summer, The Mount offers a variety of programs and special events. Seating is always limited. Please call 413-551-5100 to reserve your space or purchase tickets online at

Who Was Teddy Wharton? A Biographer's Journey

Nini Gilder

Friday, May 25, 5 pm

Nini Gilder, Berkshire author and biographer, will discuss the trials and triumphs of biographical research as she shares her efforts to piece together a portrait of Teddy Wharton, his connection to Lenox, his life with Edith, his mental decline, and his life after the divorce.

Members free; non-members $10.

Family Day

Sunday, June 10, 11 am - 3 pm

Bring the kids and spend the day at The Mount! Tour the house, explore the gardens and trails, bring a picnic, and enjoy the surroundings. Scavenger hunts, storytimes, and other activities throughout the day.

Food and beverage for purchase.


Practical Gardening with Exceptional Results
Thursday, June 14, 9 am - 3:30 pm

This is an information-packed day of gardening tips, tricks, and know-how with garden experts Naomi Brooks, Karen Bussolini, Heather Poire, and Kerry Ann Mendez. Includes four talks; lunch; afternoon tea; and free admission to the house and gardens.  

Members: $75; non-members $80.

Monday Night Mystery/Friday Night Fright Ghost Tours                                   

Mondays, June 18 - August 27, 7:30 pm

Fridays, September 7 - October 28, 5:45 pm and 7 pm

Note: Ghost tours will not be available on July 23 and Sept 14.

It starts with creaking floors, slamming doors, and ghostly footsteps. Come take a 90-minute guided tour of the most haunted parts of the estate. Due to mature content, this tour is not recommended for children under 12.

Adults $20; Kids 12-18 years $15.

Wharton on Wednesdays

Wednesdays, June 20 - September 5, 5 pm

Our most popular program! Come hear why Edith Wharton's writings continue to captivate readers and win Wharton new fans. Each week professional actors present readings of Wharton's works on the terrace.

Wine and other refreshments available for purchase.

Members free; non-members $5.

Music After Hours at The Mount, Hosted by Jon Suters

Friday and Saturday Evenings, July 6 - August 31, 5 - 8 pm

Join us for a blend of traditional and modern music with influences from the Americas and beyond, performed by rousing combinations of the region's best musicians. Relax on the terrace with a glass of wine and light fare while savoring the sounds and the view. Gardens are open for strolling.


Theater in the Dell Presents Pinocchio

Presented on the Neil Ellenoff Stage in partnership with Berkshire Theatre Group

July 25 - August 11

Tues - Sat, 4 pm; Tues and Thurs, 7 pm

For tickets call: 413-997-4444

Bring a lawn chair, picnic, and blanket and enjoy BTG's Acting Apprentice Company's production of Pinocchio, presented in the Dell, The Mount's new amphitheater. This classic tale of a magical puppet on a journey to become a real boy will delight audiences of all ages. Originally written by Carlo Collodi and adapted by E. Gray Simons III. Directed by Eric Hill and E. Gray Simons III. Sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union

Adults $15; Children 16 and under $10.

The Age of Desire: the Love Affair That Transformed Edith Wharton's World

Jennie Fields

Tuesday, August 7, 5 pm

Join celebrated novelist Jennie Fields as she reads from her new book The Age of Desire, a fictionalized glimpse into the life of Edith Wharton and the love affair that threatened her relationship with Anna Bahlmann, her closest friend and confidant. Ms. Fields will be introduced by Irene Goldman-Price, Wharton scholar and editor of My Dear Governess: The Letters of Edith Wharton to Anna Bahlmann. Book signing to follow.


Pitch Uncertain: A Mid-Century Middle Daughter Finds Her Voice

Maisie Houghton

Tuesday, August 14, 5 pm

Memoirist Maisie Houghton will read from her memoir Pitch Uncertain,a coming-of-age story set in 1950s Cambridge, MA. In this touching and insightful book, Houghton recalls her struggle as a quiet, reserved middle daughter trying to find her voice and her place in the world. Book signing to follow.


The Wharton Salon Presents The Inner House

August 15 - 26

Wednesdays - Fridays, 5:30 pm

Saturday and Sundays, 3 pm

For tickets visit

Back for its fourth consecutive season, The Wharton Salon presents a tale of Wharton's life. Adapted by Dennis Krausnick from A Backward Glance, Edith Wharton's 1934 autobiography, The Inner House is a vivid account of Wharton's public and private life. Starring Tod Randolph as Edith Wharton. Directed by Normi Noël.

Tickets: $35 per person.

Edith Wharton at Home: Life at The Mount

Richard Guy Wilson

Sunday, August 19, 5 pm

Published to coincide with the celebrations surrounding Wharton's 150th birthday, Edith Wharton at Home presents Wharton as writer, designer, and hostess. Join author Richard Guy Wilson, Architectural historian and host of the popular TV series America's Castles, for this edifying talk. Book signing and reception to follow.

Members free; non-members $10.

Berkshire WordFest at The Mount

September 14 - 16

Berkshire WordFest is a celebration of words and ideas in one of the most beautiful settings in the Berkshires. Organized by The Mount, Berkshire WordFest brings together acclaimed writers and passionate readers for talks, readings, conversations, and discovery. Don't miss this festive literary house party! For more information, visit


A 150th Birthday Tour of Northern Italy

September 20 - 30

Wharton's love affair with Northern Italy was lifelong, and this celebratory trip's itinerary is inspired by the vivid descriptions of the area provided by Wharton in her travel book Italian Backgrounds. Join us on a tour that will take you on roads less travelled as we explore the artistic riches of Italy's Lombardy and Piedmont regions. Please note: There will be the opportunity to observe Yom Kippur on September 25 and 26.

For additional information, please call 413-551-5110.


About The Mount:

The Mount is both a historic site and a cultural destination inspired by the passions and achievements of Edith Wharton. Designed and built by Edith Wharton in 1902, the house embodies the principles outlined in her influential book, The Decoration of Houses (1897). The property includes three acres of formal gardens designed by Wharton, who was also an authority on European landscape design, surrounded by extensive woodlands.

The 10 years Wharton called The Mount her home changed her forever; both as an artist and as a person. For Wharton, it was a period of self-discovery, growth, creativity, and validation, as well as agitation, in the most intimate areas of her life. While at The Mount, Wharton wrote both Ethan Frome and The House of Mirth.

Programming at The Mount reflects Wharton's core interests in the literary arts, interior design and decoration, garden and landscape design, and the art of living. Annual exhibits explore themes from Wharton's life and work.

The Mount will honor Wharton's contributions and achievements by launching our 2012 season, Edith Wharton, 21st Century Muse, and will host performances, special events, readings, and lectures that highlight Wharton's longevity and continued relevancy.

For additional information about both Edith Wharton and the Mount please visit