Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt
Born in New York City, he was the third son of Alice Claypoole Gwynne and Cornelius Vanderbilt II. Alfred Vanderbilt was educated at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, and at Yale University. As his eldest brother William Henry Vanderbilt II had died in 1892 at the age of 22 and their father had disinherited Cornelius Vanderbilt III, Alfred received the largest share of his father's estate when he died in 1899, though it was also divided among their sisters and youngest son Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt. Among Alfred Vanderbilt's many holdings, were positions in the New York Central Railroad, Beech Creek Railroad Co. , Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad, Michigan Central Railroad Company , Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad Co. , Spuyten Duyvil and Port Morris Railroad Company as well as the Pullman Company.
Alfred Vanderbilt married Ellen French in 1901 in Newport, Rhode Island. A scandal erupted in 1908 after she filed for divorce, alleging adultery with Agnes Ruiz, the wife of the Cuban attaché in Washington, D.C.. The publicity ultimately led the Ruiz woman to commit suicide in 1914. Vanderbilt spent considerable time in London and remarried there in 1911 to the wealthy American divorcée Margaret Emerson.
On May 1, 1915 Alfred Vanderbilt boarded the RMS Lusitania bound for Liverpool. A business trip, he traveled only with his valet, his family at home in New York. On May 7th, in the Irish Channel , a German submarine torpedoed the ship, triggering a secondary explosion that sank the giant ocean liner within eighteen minutes. Vanderbilt and valet Ronald Denyer helped others into lifeboats then Vanderbilt gave his lifejacket to save a female passenger. He and Denyer perished along with 1,193 others of the 1,959 on board. His body was never recovered.
Child of Ellen French:
Children of Margaret Emerson:
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