This winter has been brutal, though the cold and ice have made conditions perfect for sledding, an enormously popular sport at the turn of the century. This past fall, local historian and author Cornelia Brooke Gilder visited Lisa Wespiser’s junior English classroom to share her research on life in Lenox during the Gilded Age. Though most adults no longer participate in this once beloved sport, the tragedy of the sledding accident was immortalized in Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, which our students read and studied with Ms. Wespiser. Ms. Gilder shared many primary source photographs and articles from her research, breathing life into this era for our students. She shared with students the real-life tragedy of the sledding accident, upon which Wharton based a central moment in her novel.
We were honored to welcome Ms. Gilder into our school and grateful for the research she shared with us. For those who wish to know more, you may pick up a copy of her book at The Bookstore in Lenox or at the Lenox Library. A warm drink, a roaring fire, and Ethan Frome paired with Edith Wharton’s Lenox might help you get through the next spell of frigid weather.