Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Edith Wharton (1862–1937) was born Edith Newbold Jones on this day in New York City, to a privileged family. She spent summers in Rhode Island and traveled throughout Europe.
"The only way not to think about money is to have a great deal of it," she said.
Faced with an unhappy marriage, Wharton took up writing, what she described as "an irresistible call," to deal with her heartache and stress. She lived in Paris and had a close relationship with novelist Henry James, a fellow American expatriate.
She said, "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."
Wharton's first major work, The House of Mirth (1905), told the story of ill-fated Lily Bart, 29, and her tragic quest for marriage and wealth.
"The only thing to do." she said, "is to hug one's friends tight and do one's job."
In the novella Ethan Frome (1911), she explored the bleak lives of the working-class in Massachusetts and a tragic sledding crash through flashbacks.
She won her Pulitzer, the first given to a woman, for the acclaimed novel The Age of Innocence (1920), a look at the lives of the 19th-century American high society. All three books were made into films.
Her critical and popular novella The Old Maid, won the Pulitzer Prize for drama (1935). She said, "When people ask for time, it's always for time to say no. Yes has one more letter in it, but it doesn't take half as long to say."
Risk to succeed.