The Mount's comeback

Monday August 20, 2012

It has been a long way back for The Mount. The Edith Wharton Restora tion still faces challenges but four years after it faced financial collapse the Lenox cultural institution is on firmer footing.

A $300,000 donation from board chairwoman Lila Berle has enabled The Mount to pay off its remaining debt to British book dealer George Ramsden, who forgave the remaining $125,000 debt from The Mount's purchase of Wharton's 2,700-volume library in 2005. The Mount still has $3.7 million in remaining debt to Berkshire Bank, which has worked patiently with the Restoration over the years, and with better management under executive director Susan Wissler and a more involved board, the Mount has turned the corner and provided ample reason to believe it will pay down that debt and succeed in the long term.

The works of Edith Wharton are in vogue, thanks in part to film adaptations, and speaking of being in vogue, famed photographer Annie Leibovitz spent three days at The Mount in June shooting a 16-page photo spread for Vogue magazine's September issue. That will provide great publicity for an organization whose days of bad publicity should now be well behind it.


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