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Cornelius Vanderbilt
Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794–1877) was an American entrepreneur who built his wealth in shipping and railroads and was the patriarch of the Vanderbilt family. He initially went into business as a steamship line operator, becoming so successful that he became known as "Commodore", despite never having served in the United States Navy. After the American Civil War, Vanderbilt sold all his ships, concentrating on railroads. His legacy includes the construction of New York City's Grand Central Terminal as well as a $1 million endowment to what is now known as Vanderbilt University, the largest charitable gift in American history to that date.Photo: Mathew Brady/Levin Handy; Restoration: Michel Vuijlsteke

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