Gilded Age Baby Rattle of Edith Wharton Being Sold for $16,500

An Edith Wharton item has created a huge stir. Unfortunately, it’s not a newly discovered manuscript or a stash of hidden letters that has captured the world’s attention but the sale of Wharton’s very own baby rattle….for $16,500!

Wharton Rattle

Credit: Priscilla Juvelis Rare Books

Before you get too excited, you should know that the rattle, made of coral and sterling silver, was not one-of-a-kind. You can visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City to see others similar to it.

Part of the fascination with the rattle, I suspect, is the idea that the woman considered by many to be the most intelligent of the twentieth was once….well….a baby, just like the rest of us. Early on, Edith’s voracious mind gave her society mother, Lucretia Jones, fits. Lucretia just wanted a daughter who was pretty, normal, and grew up to marry a man who could support her in the style to which Lucretia was accustomed. Edith was a disappointment on all three counts.

But when Edith played with that baby rattle, Lucretia’s pedantic but well-meaning hopes were still alive and well. Lucretia’s subsequent disappointment was the literary world’s great good fortune.

Check out some other weird author artifacts….

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