An exciting archive came to auction in 2009: the papers and personal effects of Anna Catherine Bahlmann (1849â€“1916), a governess and companion to several prominent American families. Among the collection wereÂ one hundred thirty-fiveÂ letters from her most famous pupil, Edith Newbold Jones, later the great American novelist Edith Wharton. Remarkably, until now, just three letters from Whartonâ€™s childhood and early adulthood were thought to survive. Bahlmann, who would become Whartonâ€™s literary secretary and confidante, emerges in the letters as a seminal influence, closely guiding her precocious young studentâ€™s readings, translations, and personal writing. Taken together, these letters, written over the course of forty-two years, provide a deeply affecting portrait of mutual loyalty and influence between two women from different social classes.This correspondence reveals Whartonâ€™s maturing sensibility and vocation, and includes details of her life that will challenge long-held assumptions about her formative years. Wharton scholar Irene Goldman-Price provides a rich introduction to My Dear Governess that restores Bahlmann to her centralÂ place in Whartonâ€™s life.