Edith Wharton (1862-1937)
Mrs Edith Newbold (Jones) Wharton
She was the unequivocal Queen of Gilded Age Literature and the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature (1921). Born into old money and privilege, she observed firsthand - and with disdain - the idle and unintellectual lives led by the rich in New York's Gilded Age. In 1888, she inherited $120,000 from her recluse and miserly cousin Joshua Jones, whose overall estate in Chemical Bank shares was worth some $7 million. This bequest gave her the independence to pursue her dreams as an author. Among the 56 books she wrote, she is best known for The House of Mirth (1905) and The Age of Innocence (1920) etc., etc.