Cornelius Vanderbilt II
|Born||November 27, 1843|
Staten Island, New York, U.S.
|Died||September 12, 1899 (aged 55)|
New York City, U.S.
|Resting place||Vanderbilt Family Mausoleum, Staten Island, New York, U.S.|
|Employer||New York Central Railroad|
|Children||Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt|
William Henry Vanderbilt II
Cornelius Vanderbilt III
Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt
Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt
Gladys Moore Vanderbilt
|Parent(s)||William Henry Vanderbilt|
Maria Louisa Kissam
|Relatives||See Vanderbilt family|
Cornelius "Corneil" Vanderbilt II (November 27, 1843 – September 12, 1899) was an American socialite and a member of the prominent United States Vanderbilt family.
He was the favorite grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who bequeathed him $5 million, and the eldest son of William Henry "Billy" Vanderbilt (who bequeathed him about $70 million) and Maria Louisa Kissam. In his turn, he succeeded them as the chairman and the president of the New York Central and related railroad lines in 1885.
Vanderbilt established a reputation for a strong work ethic while clerking at the Shoe and Leather Bank in New York City. This endeared him to his grandfather, the 'Commodore,' who was a strong believer in personal industry.
Vanderbilt was active in numerous organizations, including the Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York, YMCA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Trinity Church, St. Bartholomew's Church, Sunday Breakfast Association, and the Newport Country Club.
Personal life and Death
On February 4, 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.
Together, they had:
- Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt (1869–1874), was born in 1869 but died of a childhood illness in 1874 at the age of five.
- William Henry Vanderbilt II (1870–1892) died of typhoid fever while attending Yale University.
- Cornelius "Neily" Vanderbilt III (1873–1942), whom he disinherited for marrying Grace Graham Wilson (1870–1953) without his approval.
- Gertrude Vanderbilt (1875–1942), who married Harry Payne Whitney (1872–1930)
- Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt (1877–1915), who died aboard the RMS Lusitania, and who married Ellen French, and after their divorce, Margaret Emerson (1884–1960).
- Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt (1880–1925), who first married society debutante Cathleen Neilson, and later Gloria Morgan.
- Gladys Moore Vanderbilt (1886–1965), who married Count László Széchenyi (1879–1938).
A stroke in 1896 compelled him to reduce his active business involvement. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage shortly after 6 a.m. on September 12, 1899, at his home on West Fifty-seventh Street in Manhattan, New York City.
Upon his death, family leadership passed to his first brother, William Kissam Vanderbilt. His philanthropy had been such that he did not increase the wealth that had been left to him. His estate at the time of his death was appraised at $72,999,867, $20 million of which was real estate. $73 million is equivalent to $2.38 billion in 2021 dollars.
The Fifth Avenue mansions he, his brothers, and his sons lived in have been demolished.
- Vanderbilt, 173–185.
- "MR. CORNELIUS VANDERBILT DEAD; Succumbed Suddenly Yesterday to Cerebral Hemorrhage. DUE TO STROKE OF PARALYSIS Wife and Daughter Gladys Only Members of His Family With Him. He Had Come to This City on Monday from Newport to Attend a Railroad Meeting – Funeral Services to be Held on Friday". The New York Times. September 13, 1899. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
- "Wm. H. Vanderbilt Dead. He is Prostrated by Paralysis While Talking to Robert Jarrett, President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and Dies Without Speaking. His Vast Wealth Estimated at Two Hundred Millions". The Washington Post. December 9, 1885. Retrieved August 1, 2008.
William H. Vanderbilt died at his residence in this city, of paralysis, at half-past two o'clock this afternoon. He arose this morning at his usual hour, and at breakfast served to the members of the family, most of whom were present, he appeared to be in his usual health and in a more than usually happy frame of mind.
- Vanderbilt, 177-9.
- "Mrs. Vanderbilt Sr. Dies in Home at 89. Widow of Financier, Long Ill. Was A Leader in Brilliant Era of New York Society". The New York Times. April 23, 1934.
- "Gen. C. Vanderbilt Dies on His Yacht. Great-Grandson and Namesake of Commodore Succumbs in Miami to Brain Hemorrhage. Family With Him at End. He Won Distinction as Soldier, Inventor, engineer, Yachtsman. Often Host to Royalty". The New York Times. Associated Press. March 2, 1942.
- Times Wide World (October 27, 1930). "H.P. WHITNEY DIES AT 58 OF PNEUMONIA; ILL ONLY A FEW DAYS; Sportsman and Financier Succumbs Unexpectedly at HisFifth Avenue Home.CAUGHT COLD ON TUESDAY His Wife, the Former GertrudeVanderbilt, and Their ThreeChildren at Bedside.HE INHERITED A FORTUNE Built Up Vast Properties and Became One of Nation's Richest Men-- Famed for Racing Stables. One of America's Richest Men. H.P. WHITNEY DIES AT 58 OF PNEUMONIA Heir to Wealth and Prestige. Guggenheim Guided His Start. Known Also as Dog Fancier. Many Concerns Now Merged". The New York Times. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- Homans, James E., ed. (1918). . The Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: The Press Association Compilers, Inc.
- "Reginald Vanderbilt Dies Suddenly Today". The Meridien Daily Journal. September 4, 1925. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
- "MISS VANDERBILT WILL WED A COUNT; Gladys, Youngest Daughter of Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt, the Financee of Laszlo Szechenyi. HUNGARIAN HERE FOR BRIDE Young Court Chamberlain Is a Guest at the Breakers, Newport – Betrothal Made in Europe Last Summer". The New York Times. October 4, 1907. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
- "C. Vanderbilt's Personal Estate" (PDF). The New York Times. December 12, 1900. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
- 1634–1699: McCusker, J. J. (1997). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States: Addenda et Corrigenda (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700–1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy of the United States (PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved April 16, 2022.
- Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1900). . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. For vital data.
- Vanderbilt, Arthur T., II (1989). Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt. New York: Morrow. ISBN 0-688-07279-8.
- Architectural essay on the construction and demise of the Fifth Avenue mansion.