Cornelius Vanderbilt II
|Cornelius Vanderbilt II|
Portrait by John Singer Sargent
|Born||November 27, 1843|
|Died||September 12, 1899(aged 55)|
|Employer||New York Central Railroad|
|Spouse(s)||Alice Claypoole Gwynne (m. 1867–1899)|
|Children||Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt (1869-1874)
William Henry Vanderbilt II (1870–1892)
Cornelius Vanderbilt IV (1873–1942)
Gertrude Vanderbilt (1875–1942)
Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt (1877–1915)
Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt (1880–1925)
Countess Gladys Moore Vanderbilt (1886–1965)
|Parents||William Henry Vanderbilt
Maria Louisa Kissam
|Relatives||Gloria Vanderbilt, granddaughter|
He was the favorite grandson of Cornelius "Commodore" Vanderbilt, Jr., who left him $5 million, and the eldest son of William Henry "Billy" Vanderbilt (who left him close to $70 million) and Maria Louisa Kissam. In his turn he succeeded them as head of the New York Central and related railroad lines in 1885.
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), daughter of Abraham Evan Gwynne and Rachel Moore Flagg. The two 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 "Neily" Vanderbilt IV (1873–1942) for marrying without his approval. Third son Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt (1877–1915) went down with the RMS Lusitania. His fourth and youngest 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). Reginald is the maternal 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 and Alice's two surviving daughters were Gertrude Vanderbilt (1875–1942) and Countess Gladys Moore Vanderbilt (1886–1965).
- Vanderbilt, Arthur T., II (1989). Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt. New York: Morrow. ISBN 0-688-07279-8.
- Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Vanderbilt, Cornelius, capitalist". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. For vital data.