Published: 23 July 2015 10:05 PM
Wedgwood, 85, died Monday of pneumonia at Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake.
A celebration of her life will be at noon Monday at Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home.
Wedgwood was born in Dallas and grew up in Highland Park. She earned a bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University and a master's degree from the University of Texas.
She was a wedding gift buyer for Neiman Marcus when she met her husband-to-be, Hensleigh Wedgwood, president of the North American division of Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Ltd. He was a direct descendant of Josiah Wedgwood, founder of the china business.
The couple married in 1958 and lived in New York, where she was a freelance writer when she happened into a book-writing assignment. It happened at a dinner party, said Suzanne Frank, director of Southern Methodist University's The Writer's Path program.
"She ended up sitting next to Amy Vanderbilt," Frank said. The etiquette authority complimented the former Dallas debutante's manners.
"Amy Vanderbilt said, 'I'm looking for someone to ghostwrite my book; would you do it?'" Frank said. As a result, Wedgwood wrote Vanderbilt's 1965 book, How to Be a More Interesting Woman.
In 1970, the Wedgwoods moved to London, where she earned a doctorate in Victorian literature from the University of London. While going through a Wedgwood family scrapbook, she discovered her husband's great aunt, novelist-philosopher Julia Wedgwood, had had a relationship with Browning.
"I was stunned and didn't realize how intimate they were with Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, George Eliot," Wedgwood said in 1986. "The first letter that fell onto my lap was from Thomas Carlyle telling Julia's mother that he was sorry he couldn't come to tea on such-and-such date."
In 1980, Wedgwood's play Browning's Other Romance was staged in London. She adapted the play for the BBC.
In 1984, the couple moved to Dallas, where she became a leader of SMU's noncredit creative writing program.
Wedgwood changed the lives of thousands of aspiring writers through the program now known as The Writer's Path, said Frank, a former student.
"She believed in me," Frank said.
Wedgwood established a biennial New York book seminar for the young Dallas writers.
"She had an editor's eye for social situations and could see how to fill the gap, how to draw somebody out," Frank said. "She had that kind of graciousness to her."
In 1993, Wedgwood published Demon Inside: The Walker Railey Story, the first book about the 1987 choking of the minister's wife, Peggy Railey, that left her in a vegetative state. The former Methodist minister was acquitted of the crime.
Wedgwood retired from the SMU program in 2003.