Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Cornelius Vanderbilt II
He was the favorite grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who left him $5 million, and the eldest son of William Henry Vanderbilt, who left him close to $70 million. 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. He married Alice Claypoole Gwynne (1852-1934). Their eldest son William Henry Vanderbilt II (1870-1892) died while a junior at Yale University, and Cornelius endowed a large dormitory there. He disinherited his second son Cornelius Vanderbilt III (1873-1942) for marrying without his permission. Third son Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt (1877-1915) went down with the RMS Lusitania. His remaining son was Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt. His daughters were Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and Countess Gladys Szechenyi .
The fabulous Fifth Avenue mansions he, his brothers, and his sons lived in have been demolished, but the Newport, Rhode Island vacation home he built, The Breakers, still stands as a memory of the lifestyle of Cornelius Vanderbilt II.
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