Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Wharton mss., 1836-1975, but chiefly 1900-1937, consist of the correspondence, diaries, and writings of novelist Edith Newbold Jones Wharton, 1862-1937. All of this material was consulted and used by R.W.B. Lewis in his volume Edith Wharton : A Biography (New York: Harper & Row, 1975) and is described and cited there as the William Royall Tyler Collection, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC.

The earliest items in the collection are family related: a commonplace book of Lucretia Rhinelander (Wharton's mother) and an 1847 journal of her father's, George Frederic Jones. The correspondence begins in 1901 and includes letters from Bernar d Berenson, Mary (Smith) Berenson, Paul Bourget, Louis Bromfield, Sir Kenneth Clark, Royal Cortissoz, Beatrix Farrand, William Alexander Gerhardie, Louis Gillet, Abbé Arthur Mugnier, Violet Paget, Edward Brewster Sheldon, Logan Pearsall Smith, Elis ina Tyler, Royall Tyler, and William Royal Tyler, as well as nearly 400 letters from Edith Wharton to the Tyler family. Her own diaries cover primarily 1920-1937, but also present is the so-called "love diary" (A Life Apart) of 1907-08. Writings present include typescripts of her full-length works, Age of Innocence , A Backward Glance, and Gods Arrive, as well as many poems both published and unpublished, and a file of about two hundred photographs of Wharton and friends, of Pavillon Colombe, of Saint Claire Château, and of her other residences (The Mount, Pencraig and 58 rue de Varenne) complete this portion of the collection.

The remaining portion of the collection consists of files relating to Edith Wharton's death and her estate, as well as correspondence and other materials gathered by the executor of her French will, Elisina Tyler, for a planned biography of Wharto n. The biography was never completed and following Elisina's death in 1959, her son, William Royall Tyler, took over as executor of the Wharton estate. His correspondence as well as some additional materials relating to his own reminiscences of Mrs. Wh arton, complete the entire collection. Among the correspondents in this Wharton / Tyler portion of the collection are William Morton Fullerton, William Alexander Gerhardie, Frederic Rhinelander King, John Hugh Smith, Elisina Tyler, William Royall Tyler, Emelyn Webster Washburn, and Armitage Watkins.

There is a box and folder list available, as well as an in-house index to the correspondence.

Purchase. William Royall Tyler, Washington, D.C. 1976

Collection size: 1,200 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.