Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was an American writer and poet. Growing up in the upper-class New York "aristocracy," she aims to accurately portray its lives and morals in her novels. In 1921, she became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for her novel, The Age of Innocence. She wrote over 40 books during her career, including authoritative works on architecture, gardens, interior design, and travel (notably including Italy). She and her husband Edward Wharton both loved to travel. In fact, Wharton crossed the Atlantic over 60 times. During her married life, she and her husband would spend at least four months abroad, much of this time being spent in Italy.
She met Vernon Lee in 1894, and the two became good friends. Edith admired Vernon Lee, regarding her conversation amongst women equal only to Matilde Serao and the Comtesse de Noailles (Gunn 182). She came to Il Palmerino in 1904. When in Florence, Edith and Vernon Lee visited many of the important villas together in preparation for writing her book. She dedicated this book, Italian Villas and their Gardens, to Vernon Lee.