Gladys Vanderbilt Széchenyi

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Gladys Vanderbilt Széchenyi
Count and Countess László Széchenyi.jpg
Countess and Count László Széchenyi, circa 1908.
Born Gladys Moore Vanderbilt
(1886-08-27)August 27, 1886
Newport, Rhode Island
Died January 29, 1965(1965-01-29) (aged 78)
Washington, D.C.
Title Countess Széchenyi
Spouse(s) Count László Széchenyi (m. 1908-1938)
Children Mrs Cornelia Roberts
Countess Alice Hadik de Futak
Gladys Finch-Hatton, Countess of Winchilsea and Nottingham
Countess Sylvia Szapáry de Muraszombath Széchysziget et Szapár
Countess Ferdinandine von und zu Eltz
Parent(s) Cornelius Vanderbilt II
Alice Claypoole Gwynne

Gladys Vanderbilt Széchenyi (August 27, 1886 – January 29, 1965) was an American heiress from the prominent American Vanderbilt family, and the wife of a Hungarian count, László Széchenyi.

Family background[edit]

Countess Széchenyi was born Gladys Moore Vanderbilt in 1886, the seventh and youngest child of Alice Claypoole Gwynne and Cornelius Vanderbilt II, the president and chairman of the New York Central Railroad. Gladys grew up in the family home on Fifth Avenue in New York City, and their summer "cottage," The Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island.[1] She attended Miss Chapin's School in New York.[2]

She inherited about $25 million from her father's estate and a further $5 million from her mother's estate. She also inherited The Breakers. In 1948, as a widow, she leased The Breakers to the Preservation Society of Newport County for $1 a year. She continued to maintain an apartment in The Breakers by agreement until her death.

In 1972, the Preservation Society purchased The Breakers for $365,000 from Gladys' heirs, but Gladys' daughter maintained the apartment on the third floor.[3]

Her first cousin was Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough.


Gladys Vanderbilt married Hungarian Count László Széchenyi on January 27, 1908 in New York City. The couple visited Hungary almost every summer with their five daughters:


Countess Széchenyi died in 1965. Her daughter, Countess Sylvia Szapáry maintained a residence at her grandparents' summer "cottage", The Breakers until her death on March 1, 1998.



  1. ^ Vanderbilt, Arthur T., II (1989). Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt. New York: Morrow. ISBN 0-688-07279-8. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^