Wilson, Elena, 1906-1979Variant names
Elena Wilson (1906-1979), was born in Reims, France. The family of her father, Georg Hermann Mumm, were founders of Mumm's Champagne. Her mother, Olga Struve, was born in Japan, where Elena's grandfather served as Russian ambassador. Elena Mumm emigrated to the United States in her twenties and worked as an editor for Town and Country during the 1930s-40s. She married American literary critic Edmund Wilson in 1946. After Edmund Wilson's death, she served as his literary executor and edited a collection of his correspondence, Letters on Literature and Politics (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1977).
From the description of Elena Wilson papers, 1906-1979 (bulk 1972-1979). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702171935
Elena Wilson was born on August 27, 1906, in Reims, France. The family of her father, Georg Hermann Mumm, were founders of Mumm's Champagne. Her mother, Olga Struve, was born in Japan, where Elena's grandfather served as Russian ambassador. During her childhood and early adulthood, Elena Mumm lived in France, Germany, and Switzerland, spoke French, German, Russian, and English, was educated by private tutors, and studied art in Munich and Paris. In her twenties, she emigrated to the United States. She married James Thornton, a Canadian businessman, in 1931, and had a son, Henry H. M. Thornton, in 1932.
During the 1930s-40s, Elena and James Thornton lived in New York, and Elena worked as an editor for Town and Country . In 1945 she met Edmund Wilson, then married to writer Mary McCarthy. Edmund's short story "Glimpses of Wilbur Flick," part of his novel Memoirs of Hecate County, was published in Town and Country in 1946. Elena's relationship with Edmund deepened during 1946. In October they went to Nevada, obtained divorces, and were married in Reno on December 11. After their marriage, Elena Wilson left Town and Country and settled with Edmund in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Their daughter Helen Miranda Wilson was born in 1948. In Wellfleet, and later in Edmund's ancestral home in Talcottville, New York, Elena was involved in literary and social circles and managed a large household including Helen, her son Henry, and Edmund's children from previous marriages, Rosalind and Reuel.
After Edmund's death in 1972, Elena acted as his literary executor. She edited a collection of his correspondence, Letters on Literature and Politics (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1977), and worked with Leon Edel, Simon Karlinsky, and other editors of Edmund's writings. She continued to live in Wellfleet, where she was active in political organizations, including the League of Women Voters and Amnesty International. Elena Wilson died in Wellfleet on July 27, 1979.
From the guide to the Elena Wilson papers, 1906-1979, 1972-1979, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)
|associatedWith||Aaron, Daniel, 1912-||person|
|associatedWith||Edel, Leon, 1907-1997.||person|
|correspondedWith||Levin, Harry, 1912-1994||person|
|associatedWith||Wilson, Edmund, 1895-1972.||person|
|associatedWith||Wilson, Helen Miranda, 1948-||person|
|associatedWith||Wilson, Reuel K., 1938-||person|
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|American literature--20th century|
|Authors, American--20th century--Archives|