Born in 1850, Edward R. (Teddy ) Wharton was destined to live the stereotypical version of the Gilded Age life so elegantly portrayed by his wife Edith Jones Wharton.
Son of Nancy Spring Wharton and William Craig Wharton, Teddy grew up in a beautiful Brookline home and graduated from Harvard. Upon graduating and coming into his trust fund, Teddy successfully pursued the life of a rich 19th century American – travelling, being a good sportsman and being all round charming.
He was a friend of Edith’s older brothers, Frederic and Henry Jones. In 1883 he met Edith in Bar Harbor, Maine, and they were married in New York in 1885. Shortly after their marriage they moved across the street from the Wharton family summer estate in Newport. In 1893 Edith purchased her own Newport estate called Land’s End. She eventually tired of Newport and purchased 113 acres in Lenox, which would become, in 1901, The Mount, which you can still visit today.
The marriage had been strained for a long time and Teddy stole from Edith to maintain a mistress in Boston. Edith moved to France in 1911 and divorced Teddy in 1913. (Edith died in 1937 in France and is buried in the American Cemetery at Versailles, France.)
Mental illness ran in Teddy’s family and it is speculated he was manic-depressive. After leaving The Mount, Teddy spent much of the remainder of his life at his mother’s summer house (still standing today) at 81 Walker St. in Lenox.