Cornelius Vanderbilt II


Cornelius Vanderbilt II
Cornelius Vanderbilt II

Cornelius Vanderbilt II by John Singer Sargent
Born November 27, 1843(1843-11-27)
Died September 12, 1899(1899-09-12) (aged 55)
Residence The Breakers
Employer New York Central Railroad
Spouse Alice Claypoole Gwynne (m. 1867–1899) «start: (1867)–end+1: (1900)»"Marriage: Alice Claypoole Gwynne to Cornelius Vanderbilt II" Location: (linkback://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornelius_Vanderbilt_II)
Children William Henry Vanderbilt II (1870–1892)
Cornelius Vanderbilt III (1873–1942)
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875–1942)
Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt (1877–1915)
Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt (1880–1925)
Countess Gladys Vanderbilt Széchenyi (1886–1965)
Parents William Henry Vanderbilt
Relatives Cornelius Vanderbilt, grandfather
Gloria Vanderbilt, granddaughter

Cornelius Vanderbilt II (November 27, 1843 – September 12, 1899) was an American socialite, heir, businessman, and a member of the prominent United States Vanderbilt family.

He was the favorite grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who left him $5 million, and the eldest son of William Henry Vanderbilt, who left him close to $70 million. In his turn he succeeded them as head of the New York Central and related railroad lines in 1885.[1]

Biography

He had a reputation as something of a workaholic, though a stroke in 1896 compelled him to reduce his active business involvement. In 1867 he married Alice Claypoole Gwynne (1845–1934) whom he met at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church where both taught Sunday School. Their eldest child, a daughter named Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt, was born in 1869 but died of a childhood illness in 1874 at the age of five. Their second child and eldest son William Henry Vanderbilt II (1870–1892) died of typhoid fever while a junior at Yale University, and Cornelius endowed a large dormitory there. He disinherited his second son Cornelius Vanderbilt III (1873–1942) for marrying without his approval. Third son Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt (1877–1915) went down with the RMS Lusitania. His remaining son was Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt (1880–1925), the father of Cathleen Vanderbilt (from his first marriage to society debutante Cathleen Neilson) and socialite & fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt (from his second marriage to Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt) He is the grandfather of CNN television news anchor Anderson Cooper and his late brother, Carter Vanderbilt Cooper. By all accounts, Reginald was a lazy, alcoholic wastrel who wasted millions of dollars from his family inheritance on women, liquor, fine food, automobiles and other lavish "toys", and especially gambling. Cornelius Vanderbilt's two surviving daughters were Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875–1942) and Countess Gladys Vanderbilt Széchenyi (1886–1965).[2]

The fabulous Fifth Avenue mansions he, his brothers, and his sons lived in have been demolished, but the Newport, Rhode Island vacation home he built, The Breakers, still stands as a memory of the lifestyle of Cornelius Vanderbilt II.

Vanderbilt was active in numerous organizations including the YMCA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Trinity Church, St. Bartholomew's Church, and the Newport Country Club.

On his death, family leadership passed to his brother, William Kissam Vanderbilt. His philanthropy had been such that he did not increase the wealth that had been left to him.[3]

References

  1. ^ Vanderbilt, Arthur T., II (1989). Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt. New York: Morrow. ISBN 0688072798.
  2. ^ Vanderbilt, Arthur T., II (1989). Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt. New York: Morrow. ISBN 0688072798.
  3. ^ Vanderbilt, Arthur T., II (1989). Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt. New York: Morrow. ISBN 0688072798.

See also


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