The Doorway to High Society

View "The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton"

View “The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton”

In Edith Wharton’s Gilded Age New York, the new-money people were storming the gates of High Society and the Old Guard (people of birth, background, and breeding) were making a vain attempt to keep those gates firmly closed.  Today, Society is open to all comers!  The only requirement to entry is the desire to become immersed in a particular subject (and, yes, sometimes a small fee!).

Membership in the Edith Wharton Society ($15 for students, $20 for individuals, $25 for institutions) includes a subscription to the Edith Wharton Review, published two times a year.  The Review features the latest scholarly papers on Wharton’s life and works.  The Edith Wharton Society website is full of free information including teaching resources for both college professors and high school English teachers.

If engineering and the Civil War years are more to your taste, try JESNY, the John Ericsson Society New York (membership $20 per year).  Headed up by the venerable Swede, Leif Brisfjord and his wife Inez, their website and newsletter are also full of wonderful information on the doings of this very active group.

Time to become a member of High Society!

The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton

By Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge


Edith Wharton, author of Ethan Frome, The House of Mirth, and other acclaimed novels, was born into a wealthy New York City family during the Gilded Age. In fact, she was a Jones of “keeping up with the Joneses” fame.  This anecdote opens Woodridge’s biography of an astonishing life.  Beginning in childhood, Edith found ways to escape from society’s and her family’s expectations and follow an unconventional, creative path. Unhappily married and eventually divorced, she surrounded herself with the cultural creatives of her day, mostly male friends.  To escape the obligations of New York City high society, she spent much of her life in Paris and was recognized by the French government for her work establishing four charities during World War I. Her literary and personal life, her witty and incisive correspondence, her fondness for automobiles and small dogs–all are detailed in this vibrant account of a woman well ahead of her time.  Includes photographs, a bibliography, source notes, and an index.

Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, Author

Connie Nordhielm WooldridgeBiography | View

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Connie is an experienced speaker and presenter who enjoys sharing her passion for writing and her experience as a writer with readers and writers of all ages. She has presented to students, community, civic and professional organizations, writing groups, library audiences, and seniors – wherever book lovers gather!
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