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Lessons From Vanderbilt And Rockefeller: Know Your 'One Big Thing'

Cornelius Vanderbilt built his wealth in shipping and railroads. He was also the patriarch of the Vanderbilt family and one of the richest Americans in history. In today's dollars, his net worth would be $178 billion. His descendants include Gloria Vanderbilt ($200 million) and Anderson Cooper ($100 million).

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Cornelius Vanderbilt (May 27, 1794 – January 4, 1877), also known by the sobriquet Commodore, was an American industrialist and philanthropist who built his wealth in shipping and railroads. He was also the patriarch of the Vanderbilt family and one of the richest Americans in history. He provided the initial gift to found Vanderbilt University, which is named in his honor.

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Cornelius Vanderbilt II purchased and demolished 3 brownstone houses on the southwest corner of 57th Street and 5th Avenue in preparation for his new mansion. His wife was instrumental in the extravagance–it was “common belief that Alice Vanderbilt set out to draft her sister in law [Alva Vanderbilt]‘s Fifth Avenue château, and dwarf it she did.” Incredibly, in the 1890's,he purchased 5 more brownstones to demolish and expand his mansion.

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Cornelius Vanderbilt III and wife Grace Wilson on Easter Sunday 1915. Photo was taken on 5th Avenue. Note that Grace Wilson-Vanderbilt is carrying a prayer book in her left hand.

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Floor plan rendering, of the NYC home of American socialite and businessman, Cornelius Vanderbilt 11, and his wife Alice. Located at: 1 West 57th Street, & 5th Avenue. American architect: George Browne Post - built during America's Gilded Age era, c.1883, demolished, c.1927. ~ {cwl}

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The most famous party dress in New York history

Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt II (neé Alice Claypoole Gwynne) costumed for the W. K. Vanderbilt Ball, held 26 March 1883. The gown was later gifted to the Metropolitan Museum by her daughter Countess Laszlo Szechenyi (neé Gladys Vanderbilt).

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