Sunday, September 8, 2013

William Vanderbilt Dies in New York

The Evening Independent - Jan 8, 1944

New York, Jan. 8 - William Kissam Vanderbilt II, 65, former president of the New York Central railroad and one of the nation's foremost yachtsman; died at 12:32 a. m. today of a heart ailment which had forced him to return to his home here from Florida before Christmas.
     He was one of the wealthiest men in the United States and a great-grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, founder of both the railroad and the Vanderbilt family fortune. At death he was a director of the railroad and a member of it's executive committee.

Vanderbilt - Circa 1930's.
With his brother , Harold, he was a residuary legatee in the $56,000,000 estate left by his father, also named William Kissam Vanderbilt.
     Four years after leaving Harvard university, Vanderbilt went to work on the railroad in 1903, becoming assistant to the president in 1910, vice-president in 1912 and president in 1918. After a year in the presidency, he became a director until his death.

Vanderbilt and his wife Rosamund - circa 1931.
During the last few years, he was also a director of the Western Union Telegraph company.

The Survivors 

     He is survived by his wife, the former Mrs. Rosamund Lancaster Warburton; his brother Harold; his daughters, Muriel and Consuelo, and a sister, Mrs. Jacques Balsan, former Duchess of Marlborough.

    Vanderbilt's interest in the sea led him to make many round-the-world trips in private yachts and in establishing the Vanderbilt marine museum at Northport, Long Island, New York. 

Vanderbilt's great yacht "Alva" - circa 1936.

When motoring was in it's fancy he amused himself for awhile as a racing driver and built the Long Island Motor parkway, 60 miles of toll highway, which he later donated as a public road.

     He was one of the first millionaires to use an airplane to commute from home to business. A pilot himself, he made two flights to South Africa when such long air trips were unusual.

     For private consumption, Vanderbilt wrote books on his trips by plane and yacht. His latest yacht, the Alva, was built at an estimated cost of $2,500,000 and was one of the most palatial yachts afloat.

Entrance to Vanderbilt's Long Island estate, 'Eagle's Nest' (Robert Bruce)

When the present war broke out Vanderbilt gave the ALva to the government. In the First World War he served as lieutenant commander in the navy aboard one of his own vessels. 

     Vanderbilt was first married in 1899 to Virginia Fair, daughter of U. S. Senator Fair, Nevada silver king. They were divorced in 1927 and shortly afterwards he married Mrs. Warburton, who was a constant companion on his extensive voyages.

    The Vanderbilts maintained a home known as Alva Base at Terminal island, near Miami Beach, Florida and another home next to the museum at Northport.

The Vanderbilt Family mausoleum at Moravian Cemetery, Staten Island. Where
every Vanderbilt family member is buried. 

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