Edward R. (Teddy) Wharton

Edward R. (Teddy) Wharton (1850-1928) was the husband of author Edith Wharton. Teddy Wharton was the second son of William Craig Wharton of Virginia. His mother, Nancy Spring Wharton, was from a wealthy Boston family.

Wharton was a Harvard graduate; however, like many upper-class men, he preferred a life of conspicuous leisure. Wharton lived on an annual trust income from his family. He was friends with Edith Wharton's older brothers, Frederic and Henry Jones. He met Edith Wharton in Bar Harbor, Maine, in 1883. They married in New York in 1885.

Shortly after their marriage, the Whartons moved to Pencraig Cottage in Newport, across Harrison Avenue from Pencraig, the Wharton family estate. The Whartons were active members of Newport society. In 1888, they joined fellow Newporter James J. Van Alen on a four-month Mediterranean cruise aboard The Vanadis. Edith Wharton's travel diary was later published as The Cruise of the Vanadis.

In 1893, Edith Wharton purchased an oceanfront estate called Land's End at the end of Bellevue Avenue.

Despite their mutual love of travel, the Whartons' marriage was strained and, ultimately, incompatible. Wharton suffered a breakdown and was hospitalized for manic depression. Edith Wharton eventually tired of Newport life. In 1901 she purchased 113 acres in Lenox, Massachusetts, and built a summer estate called The Mount. Edith Wharton settled permanently in France in 1911. The Whartons divorced in 1913.

Kay Davis, University of Virginia, ©2001-2003