The House of Mirthlessness

Drowning in debt, Edith Wharton's Mass. estate faces foreclosure
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2008 12:19 PM CST

(Newser) – Edith Wharton's masterpieces include The House of Mirth, but the story of her own house is much less joyous. Her estate in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, currently a museum called the Mount that chronicles her life and career, is drowning under some $9 million in debt. Now, writes the Berkshire Eagle, a bank has warned it will foreclose on the property and sell it to the highest bidder.

The prognosis is grim: The Edith Wharton Restoration operates at a $1 million loss, and—not unlike some of the novelist's own heroines—had kept its financial woes quiet until recently. One philanthropist has promised a $3 million matching gift, but unless they can drum up more support, says the estate's president, "We're not going to make it."