The vanderbilt family biography template
The reasons include taxes, large families thus diluting the trust funds , depressed markets, failure to work and continue to make money, and decadent hedonism. Tom Wolfe's best selling doorstopper, The Bonfire of the Vanities, wrote about it for more than pages.
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Write a customer review. Rated by customers interested in. Is this feature helpful? Thank you for your feedback. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. By Mike on January 17, Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. I almost never buy paper copies of books, but after reading this on my Kindle I went and purchased this in physical form to give out to friends.
I had just got done reading an extremely dry, very boring, biography of Commodore Vanderbilt. I frankly do not know why I tortured myself with finishing it. However, Fortune's Children, was a breath of fresh air after that. It is anything but boring and dry.
This book breathes life into a fascinating sociological part of American history: Prior to reading this book, I really did not have an appreciation for this time in history. The extravagance and the opulence before income tax existed!
The book delivers its message without the family biography template gossipy, but it also does not bore with dry and academic droll. The author has a wonderful grasp on his style, and walks the line between personal family history and historical account with wonderfully professional ability. At no point did I feel like I was reading a gossip tabloid I am currently reading a bio by another author that feels that way and it feels cheap and sultry. In summary the book was extremely well written, captured my attention on every single page, and was one of my most favorite historical bio books of all time.
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Yes No Report abuse. By Howard Schulman on December 25, After somewhat fortuitously visiting Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina a 2 hour drive from Raleigh, biography template I was visitingand being absolutely blown away by it, and then realizing that this was the same family that built many of the most famous mansions in Newport I live in Rhode IslandI decided that it would be interesting to learn more about the Vanderbilts. Fortune's Children is really two books. In the first pages we learn about the founder of the family, "the Commodore", and his son William.
These first two chapters the family on how the business empire was founded, and also what the Commodore and William were like in real life and their life's work. The Commodore was a scrapper and a fighter who rose out of nothing to build a steamship business.
Miraculously, only at the ripe old age of 66 did he start acquiring and consolidating railroads. William received almost exclusively the entire Vanderbilt fortune and business and family mantle.
William ran the railroad business well and ended up the richest man in the world, doubling the Commodore's fortune. When William dies, the fortune spread around more equally--creating a bunch of mini-Emperors, not one showing any interest in making money or even keeping track of it, just spending it. That's when the character of the book changes to "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". Contemporary descendants include fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilther youngest family biography template, journalist Anderson Coopermusician John P.
Hammond and screenwriter James Vanderbilt. The progenitor of the Vanderbilt family was Jan Aertszoon or Aertson —a Dutch farmer from the village of De Bilt in UtrechtNetherlandswho emigrated to the Dutch colony of New Netherland as an indentured servant to the Van Kouwenhoven family in The family is associated with the The patrician Van der Bilt. His great-great-great-grandson Cornelius Vanderbilt began the prominence of the family, the fourth of nine children born to a Staten Island family of modest means.
They were among the earliest arrivals to 17th family biography template New Amsterdam. In a number of documents dating back to this period, Anthony is described as tawny or mulatto,  as his mother was of Berber origin from Cartagena in the Kingdom of Murcia. Starting with a single boat, he grew his fleet until he was competing with Firoz nadiadwala biography examples Fulton for dominance of the New York waterways, his energy and eagerness earning him the nickname "Commodore", then the highest rank in the United States Navy.
Fulton's company had established a monopoly on trade in and out of New York Harbor. Vanderbilt, based in New Jersey at the time, flouted the law, steaming in and out of the harbor under a flag that read, "New Jersey Must Be Free!
The Vanderbilt family lived on Staten Island until the mid s, when the Commodore built a house on Washington Place in what is now Greenwich Village.
Although he always occupied a relatively modest home, members of his family would use their wealth to build magnificent mansions. The Commodore left the majority of his enormous fortune to his eldest son, William Henry Vanderbilt. William Henry, who outlived his father by just eight years, increased the profitability of his father's holdings, increased the reach of the New York Central Railroadand doubled the Vanderbilt wealth. He built the first of what would become many grand Vanderbilt mansions on Fifth Avenueat Fifth Avenue.
Cornelius II's brother, William Kissam Vanderbiltalso featured prominently in the family's affairs. Would it be the family biography template to say that was the case with Alva? I'm absolutely certain that this match and this wedding was exactly what Alva would have wanted for herself. It was Alva who felt deeply the exclusion from power and influence of the rich American wife, not Consuelo, who after all, was only It was Alva who was passionately interested in living in palatial houses — she had already built several herself with William K.
It was Alva, not Consuelo, who loved the idea of the role of an English duchess, though Alva's view of this role was somewhat misty-eyed as Consuelo soon found out. Much of this, I believe, had its roots in Alva's own feelings of exclusion that started when she was very young, and the genteel poverty that hit her own family during her teens. The notion of romantic love was just starting to take hold when Consuelo married; before that, the more European concept of family alliance and financial amalgamation were accepted among the very rich.
Was Consuelo ahead of her time in wanting a love match, rather than a financial merger? It's an interesting question. Consuelo certainly wasn't ahead of her time in feeling she was entitled to a love yoshihisa yamaji biography books, but even society love matches of that period were subject to family approval and made within a very tiny caste of the very rich and grand — their young weren't allowed to meet anyone else.
But even when marriages were subtly arranged, the young couple was generally given a chance to say 'no. Consuelo, however, wasn't permitted this degree of freedom by Alva, who was determined that she knew best. And such a calculating and determined the family biography template of what was best, in the face of her daughter's profound reservations was unusual, a throwback to an earlier age of dynastic alliances.
I'm not even sure Alva would even have objected to this description.
As far as she was concerned, Consuelo was part of the new American royalty of wealth, and love matches were a middle-class sort of business. Later, Alva embraced feminism and was inclined to view the very notion of romantic love as a plot against all women.
Would you describe some of the public hysteria that surrounded Consuelo's wedding to the Duke of Marlborough in ? There are striking similarities, starting with using a wedding as a colossal opportunity for conspicuous display in order to reinforce your public profile, along the lines of the Beckhams. This is exactly what Alva did with Consuelo's wedding, down to leaking details of her daughter's bridal underwear to Vogue — except in this case the publicity was ultimately designed to benefit the mother of the bride, rather than anyone else.
Then there's the modern obsession in the newspapers, even the more respectable ones, with the cost of it all. Toss in the drama arising from doubt about the extent of real feeling between the couple, as with Charles and Diana. And then you have the sense that the public's curiosity was not only fed by the the family biography template but became ever more insatiable as a result of it.
Modern celebrities engineer this state of affairs for themselves and often come to regret it. In this case, Alva deliberately set out to achieve celebrity for the Duke and Consuelo, against their will.
'Consuelo and Alva': An Early Story of Celebrity
That's less common, I'd say. Most the family were clear — very rich ones were, anyway — that young women were bartered into good matches. Wealth is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for philanthropy. It is perfectly possible to have massive wealth without an inclination toward charitable giving. In his superbly researched and elegantly written new biography, T.
Stiles introduces us to one such individual: Cornelius Vanderbilt —perhaps the first significant wealth creator in American history. Indeed, in a July study, the New York Times ranked Vanderbilt the second-wealthiest biography template in American the family biography template when adjusting for inflationbehind only John D.
It is a remarkable claim for such a careful author, and one which Stiles justifies in great detail. Stiles quite correctly reminds us, however, that such comparisons are notoriously inexact, and points to another useful metric: Cornelius Vanderbilt made his money in the great 19th-century transportation revolution. When he was born inpeople traveled with technologies that would have been familiar to Alexander the Great. Wind propelled ships across water, and muscle horse, donkey, or human moved freight on land.
By the time Vanderbilt cristina bazan biography books, ships were powered by coal and steam, and freight traveled on iron rails at speeds and with loads that would have been incomprehensible to his parents.
Vanderbilt was indispensable in making those changes possible. His long career—he remained in charge of his companies untilwhen he was 82—began on the Hudson River, where he operated a passenger ferry. When passenger railways began to be constructed in the s, Vanderbilt invested in them. He continued to build steamships, however, and was a major player in the race to transport hundreds of thousands of passengers from the Atlantic to the Pacific during the great California Gold Rush of Vanderbilt was a consummately practical man, and he understood the pace of technological change.
Inhe sold off his last steamship interests.
As a teenager, he became obsessed with books and evolved into a voracious reader. He even made a note of the books he had read in his notebook. He also diligently maintained a personal diary. One of the mansions at Fifth Avenue, completed when George was a young man, was considered the largest and most splendid house in Manhattan. The house was equipped with the latest technological conveniences like refrigeration and telephones.
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He did take an aesthetic interest in the family properties and oversaw the designs of his private quarters and personal library at their Manhattan mansion. He travelled extensively and visited different parts of the United States and Europe as a young man and was greatly impressed by the artistic appeal of French architecture. As a result of being a wide traveler, he also became fluent in as many as eight foreign languages.
He furthered his formal education at the Columbia University and graduated with high honors. His father William died in