An exciting archive came to auction in 2009: the papers and personal effects of Anna Catherine Bahlmann (18491916), a governess and companion to several prominent American families. Among the collection were one hundred thirty-five letters from her most famous pupil, Edith Newbold Jones, later the great American novelist Edith Wharton. Remarkably, until then, just three letters from Wharton's childhood and early adulthood were thought to survive. Bahlmann, who would become Wharton's literary secretary and confidante, emerges in the letters as a major influence, closely guiding her precocious young student's readings, translations, and personal writing. Their correspondence reveals Wharton's maturing sensibility and vocation and includes details of her life that challenge long-held assumptions about her formative years. It was published as My Dear Governess: The Letters of Edith Wharton to Anna Bahlmann (Yale University Press, June 2012), edited by Irene Goldman-Price.|
In this special event with slides, Dr. Goldman-Price will focus on the education of girls in Gilded Age New York, as shown in Anna Bahlmann's correspondence with her upper-class students. Many of their families, included the young Edith Jones's, were also patrons of the Library.
Irene Goldman-Price has taught literature and women's studies at Ball State University and Penn State University. She serves on the editorial board of the Edith Wharton Review and on the Board of Trustees of The Mount, Edith Wharton's house museum in Massachusetts. In 20102011 she was a visiting fellow at Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, where the Wharton letters are held.
This event is presented in partnership with The Mount. For more information, please visit edithwharton.org.
The New York Society Library (View)
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New York, NY 10075
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