Few American families are as synonymous with wealth and the gilded age of the New York elites as the Vanderbilts.
The family fortune was founded by Cornelius Vanderbilt, known as the Commodore, a rough-hewn steamboat captain who left school at 11 and made a fortune in shipping and railway in the first half of the 19th century.
Cornelius Vanderbilt left a fortune worth €150 billion in today’s money, and his son William doubled the family wealth. The Vanderbilts built Grand Central Station in New York. They had splendid mansions on Fifth Avenue. They bought America’s finest racehorses and yachts. They hosted massive parties, known as the “parties of the century”, and were bountiful philanthropists.
Read the full article by Ronan McGreevy in the Irish Times, 4th May 2015 – http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/one-of-the-us-s-richest-men-among-victims-of-lusitania-1.2198792