01/24/2012 05:36 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Happy 150th, Edith Wharton!

Edith Wharton, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature, was born on January 24, 1862, 150 years ago today.

Born Edith Newbold Jones into a wealthy American family -- her family is said to have been the Joneses of "keeping up with the Joneses" fame -- she was raised in part in Europe, and published her first stories and poetry even before she made her debut in society.

She went on to write 49 volumes of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of her most famous works explore the precarious position of women who defy society's expectations, through characters including Lily Bart in The House of Mirth and Countess Ellen Olenska in The Age of Innocence.

Wharton also designed and built The Mount, a country home in Lenox, Massachusetts, which is now a National Historic Landmark, one of very few dedicated to women.

A number of events to celebrate the sesquicentennial of her birth are planned throughout the spring.