George Washington Vanderbilt, II (1862 - 1914) MP

‹ Back to Vanderbilt surname

Is your surname Vanderbilt?

Research the Vanderbilt family

George Washington Vanderbilt II's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

Share

Death: Died in Washington D. C., USA
Managed by: Chad J. King
Last Updated:

About George Washington Vanderbilt, II

George Washington Vanderbilt II (November 14, 1862 – March 6, 1914) was a member of the prominent United States Vanderbilt family, which had amassed a huge fortune through steamboats, railroads, and various business enterprises.

The fourth son and youngest child of William Henry Vanderbilt (1821 - 1885) and his wife Maria Louisa Kissam, George II was named after his father's younger brother, George Washington Vanderbilt, third son of the family founders, Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794 - 1877) and Sophia Johnson. (Uncle George had died young at age 25 of tuberculosis contracted during his service in the Civil War.) As the youngest in William's family, George II was said to be his father's favorite and his constant companion. Relatives described him as slender, dark-haired, and pale-complected. Shy and introverted, his interests ran to philosophy, books, and the histories of the paintings in William's large art gallery. In addition to frequent visits to Paris, France, where several Vanderbilts kept a home, George traveled extensively, becoming fluent in eight foreign languages.

William H. Vanderbilt, who owned elegant mansions in New York City and Newport and an 800-acre (3.2 km2) country estate on Long Island, died in 1885 of a stroke, leaving a fortune of approximately 200 million dollars, the bulk of which was split between his two older sons, Cornelius II and William K. Vanderbilt. George W. Vanderbilt II had inherited $1 million from his grandfather and received another million on his 21st birthday from his father. Upon his father's death, he inherited $5 million more, as well as the income from a $5 million trust fund. He ran the family farm at New Dorp and Woodland Beach, now the neighborhood of Midland Beach on Staten Island, New York where he had been born, then lived with his mother in Manhattan until his own townhouse at 9 West 53rd Street was completed in 1887. In 1888, when he was twenty-six, George visited Western North Carolina with his mother, enjoyed the area, and decided to build a country home there.

The Vanderbilt family business was operated by his older brothers. This left George to spend his time in intellectual pursuits. In 1889, he purchased acreage near Asheville, North Carolina and began construction of Biltmore House. He continued buying land until the estate eventually encompassed 228 square miles (591 km2); it would have taken a week to travel on horseback around the property. Modeled after the great French Châteaux of the Loire Valley, the 250-room estate on 125,000 acres (506 km²) would be the largest of all the Vanderbilt houses and remains the largest home in the United States. The buildings were designed by famed architect Richard Morris Hunt and the grounds landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted, known as the "father of American landscape Architecture". On Christmas Eve 1895, Biltmore House opened its doors for its first family celebration.

At Biltmore, George led the life of a country gentleman. Having a great interest in horticulture, he oversaw experiments in scientific farming, animal bloodline breeding, and silviculture. His goal was to run Biltmore as a self-sustaining estate. In 1892, Olmsted suggested that Vanderbilt hire Gifford Pinchot to manage the forests on the estate. According to Pinchot, who went on to be the first Chief of the United States Forest Service, Biltmore was the first professionally managed forest in the U.S. Also an art connoisseur and collector, George filled his mansion with Oriental carpets, tapestries, antiques, and artwork, including Pierre-Auguste Renoir and James Whistler, as well as a chess set that had belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte.

On June 1, 1898, George W. Vanderbilt married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser (1873 – 1958) at the American Cathredal in Paris, France. They had one daughter, Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt (1900 - 1976). In 1912 George and Edith booked passage on the Titanic but changed their plans before departure, due to what newspapers of the day labeled "a premonition of Mrs. Vanderbilt's sister, Susan Dresser", or in some cases, a premonition from George Vanderbilt's mother (who was deceased, making it difficult for her to have a premonition). It was too late to stop Mr. Vanderbilt's valet, Fred Wheeler, from boarding the ship; he was lost, along with the Vanderbilt's luggage, when the Titanic collided with an iceberg and sank on April 15, 1912.

Unfortunately, George spent more than his annual income on the Biltmore and its upkeep and began withdrawing money from capital. In addition, bad investments helped to deplete his once great fortune. Some of the chateau's rooms were never completed. He lived on the property until 1914 when he died of a heart attack in Washington, D.C. after an appendectomy. He was interred in the Vanderbilt family mausoleum at the Moravian Cemetery in New Dorp on Staten Island, New York.

After his death, George's widow sold approximately 86,000 acres (350 km2) of the property to the United States Forest Service at $5 an acre, fulfilling her husband's wishes to create the core of Pisgah National Forest. She sold additional land as finances demanded; today, about 8,000 acres (32 km2) remain. Edith Dresser Vanderbilt later married Peter Goelet Gerry (1879–1957), a United States Senator from Rhode Island. Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt (George and Edith Vanderbilt's only child) married British aristocrat, John F. A. Cecil, a descendant of William Cecil in 1924. Her sons, George and William, eventually inherited the property. William Cecil is the present owner and is credited with preserving the estate which remains open to the public.

--------------------

George Washington Vanderbilt II (From Wikipedia)

NOTE: This article needs additional references or sources for verification. Please help to improve this article by adding reliable references. Material not supported by sources may be challenged and removed. This article has been tagged since June 2007. The factual accuracy of this article is disputed. Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page.


George W. Vanderbilt IIGeorge Washington Vanderbilt II (November 14, 1862 – March 6, 1914) was a member of the prominent United States Vanderbilt family, which had amassed a huge fortune through steamboats, railroads, and various business enterprises.

The fourth son and youngest child of William Henry Vanderbilt (1821 - 1885) and his wife Maria Louisa, George II was named after his father's younger brother, George Washington Vanderbilt, third son of the family founders, Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794 - 1876) and Sophia Johnson. (Uncle George had died young at age 25 of tuberculosis contracted during his service in the Civil War.) As the youngest in William's family, George II was said to be his father's favorite and his constant companion. Relatives described him as slender, dark-haired, and pale-complected. Shy and introverted, his interests ran to philosophy, books, and the histories of the paintings in William's large art gallery. In addition to frequent visits to Paris, France, where several Vanderbilts kept a home, George traveled extensively, becoming fluent in eight foreign languages.

William H. Vanderbilt, who ownd elegant mansions in New York City and Newport and an 800-acre country estate on Long Island, died in 1885 of a stroke, leaving a fortune of approximately 200 million dollars, the bulk of which was split between his two older sons, Cornelius II and William K. Vanderbilt. George W. Vanderbilt II had inherited $1 million from his grandfather and another million on his 21st birthday from his father. Upon his father's death, he inherited $5 million more, as well as the income from a $5 million trust fund. He ran the family farm at New Dorp on Staten Island, New York where he had been born, then lived with his mother in Manhattan until his own townhouse at 9 West 53rd Street was completed in 1887. In 1888, when he was twenty-six, George and his mother visited the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and decided to build a winter retreat there.

An intellectual, George lacked the family work ethic and had little interest in the family business, preferring instead to spend his large inheritance on a lavish lifestyle frequently referred to as that of the idle rich. In 1889, he purchased 5,000 acres near Asheville, North Carolina and begain construction of Biltmore House. He continued buying land until the estate eventually encompassed 228 square miles; it would have taken a week to travel on horseback around his "kingdom." Modeled after the great French Châteaux of the Loire Valley, the 250-room castle on 125,000 acres (506 km²) of land would be the largest of all the Vanderbilt houses and remains the largest home in the United States. The buildings were designed by famed architect Richard Morris Hunt and the grounds landscaped by Master Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmsted. On Christmas 1895, Biltmore House opened its doors for a family celebration.

At Biltmore, George led the life of a country gentleman. Having a great interest in horticulture, he oversaw experiments in scientific farming, animal bloodline breeding, and silviculture. His goal was to run Biltmore as a self-sustaining estate. In 1892, Olmsted suggested that Vanderbilt hire Gifford Pinchot to manage the Biltmore Forest. According to Pinchot, who went on to be the first Chief of the United States Forest Service, Biltmore Forest was the first professionally managed forest in the U.S. Also an art connoisseur and collector, George filled his mansion with Oriental carpets, tapestries, antiques, and artwork by some of the greats, including Pierre-Auguste Renoir and James Whistler, as well as a chess set that had belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte.

In 1898, in Paris, George W. Vanderbilt married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser (1873–1958). In 1912 he and Edith booked passage on the Titanic but canceled due to a premonition of Mrs. Vanderbilt's mother. It was too late for them to get their servant and baggage off the ship; both were lost when the Titanic collided with an iceberg and sank on April 15, 1912.

Unfortunately, George spent more than his annual income on the Biltmore and its upkeep and began withdrawing money from capital. In addition, bad investments helped to deplete his once great fortune. Some of the chateau's rooms were never completed. He lived on the property until 1914 when he died of a heart attack in Washington, D.C. after an operation for appendectomy. He was interred in the Vanderbilt family mausoleum at the Moravian Cemetery in New Dorp on Staten Island, New York.

After his death, George's widow sold much of the large tract of land around the Biltmore estate to the United States Forest Service at $5 an acre that helped create the Pisgah National Forest. She sold off additional acreage as finances demanded until only a core of 12,500 acres remained. Edith Dresser-Vanderbilt later married Peter Goelet Gerry (1879–1957), a United States Senator from Rhode Island. Eventually Biltmore House was inherited by Edith and George W. Vanderbilt II's daughter, Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt (1900–1976). Cornelia married British aristocrat, John F. A. Cecil, a descendent of William Cecil, William Cecil. Her sons, George and William, preserved the estate which is now open to the public.

References

Vanderbilt, Arthur T. II. Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt (Quill / William Morrow, New York); copyright 1989 by Arthur T. Vanderbilt II. ISBN 0-688-10386-3; p. 40 (the death of G. W. Vanderbilt 1), pp. 55-83 (William H. Vanderbilt), pp. 271-279 (George W. Vanderbilt II).

Curiosity Served: Biltmore opens servants' quarters at The San Diego Union-Tribune December 25, 2005

John Singer Sargent's George Washington Vanderbilt at jssgallery.org

Antiques of the Biltmore Estate at go-star.com

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington_Vanderbilt_II"

-----------------------

George Washington Vanderbilt

Born: 1862

Staten Island, Richmond, New York, USA

Died: 6 Mar 1914

Washington, [county], District Of Columbia, USA

Spouse

Edith Stuyvesant Dresser

Born: 1873 in Staten Island, Richmond, New York, USA

Died: 1958 in Providence, Providence, Rhode Island, USA

Marriage: 1 Jun 1898 in Paris, [department], [region], France View Info

Children Sex Birth

Emily Thorn Vanderbilt F 1852 in Dew Drop, Staten Island, New York, USA

Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt F 22 Aug 1900 in Biltmore, Buncombe, North Ca

view all

George Washington Vanderbilt II's Timeline

1862
November 14, 1862
1898
June 1, 1898
Age 35
Paris, France
1900
1900
Age 37
1914
March 6, 1914
Age 51
Washington D. C., USA