Continuing on with my Edith Wharton extravaganza, we will visit some of the servant spaces of The Mount. The service functions of the home were primarily located in the south wing of the house.
The ground floor of the house contained the kitchen, scullery, servant’s dining room and the laundry room. The image below shows the rear of the house. These working rooms were basically on the lowest level behind the stone foundation. There are, in fact, lots of windows and natural light. The Bookstore is now housed where the original laundry room was, at the end of the building. I didn’t take any photos on this floor as the rooms have not been updated or restored (aside from the Bookstore) yet.
The Main Floor includes a Buter’s Pantry, brush room for cleaning shoes and outerwear and offices for household management. Appropriately, the Butler’s Pantry is adjacent to the Dining Room and would have contained the china, silver and linens and been the staging area for serving meals. I assume there must have been a dumbwaiter to bring up the food from the kitchen, but I didn’t see it. The two photo’s below are how the Pantry looks at this time. The marble counters and center island are, in fact, quite contemporary looking. I didn’t know much about this room, until…
Photo credit: Pieter Estersohn, Edith Wharton Restoration at the Mount
On the bedroom floor was a sewing room, a closet for EW’s dresses, a linen closet and her maid’s bedroom. The image below is the Linen Closet, which included storage as we see here and linen presses on the other side.
According to the Tour Guide, EW was a caring and considerate mistress of the house to all her household staff. She’d grown up with servants and had seen all to often how they were often mistreated. I believe the guide said that her head butler (or some similar position) actually gave one of the eulogies at her funeral.
I’ll be finishing up my Edith Wharton posts later this week with EW’s Boudoir and Bedroom. EW really did write here!
The Edith Wharton Organization, which manages The Mount, was facing foreclosure just a year ago. A bank restructuring and much needed donations has kept the doors open, but money is still needed to continue operations and much needed improvements. Please consider making a donation to this treasure of American Arts and Architecture.
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