F. W. Vanderbilt, undated. Wikipedia. F. W. Vanderbilt, c. 1913, painted by Raymond Neilson. Tennessee Portrait Project

Born: February 2, 1856

Died: June 29, 1938

Married: Louise Holmes Anthony Torrance

Frederick William Vanderbilt was a member of the Vanderbilt family. He was a director of the New York Central railroad for 61 years, and a director of the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad and of the Chicago and North Western Railroad. In 1903, he bought Pine Tree Point on Upper St. Regis Lake from his brother-in-law, H. McKay Twombly.

New York Times, August 16, 1908


Mr. and Mrs. Frederick W. Vanderbilt are entertaining several friends at their Pine Tree Point on Upper St. Regis Lake. Mr. and Mrs. Martin and Mrs. L. L. Mott are among the guests at the Pine Tree Point, and Lord Grey of Canada came down early this week.


New York Times, June 30, 1938


Grandson of Founder of the Family Fortune 61 Years on New York Central Board


Gifts to Hospitals, Colleges and Other Institutions Totaled Millions

HYDE PARK, N. Y., June 29 (AP). Frederick William Vanderbilt, railroad director, yachting enthusiast and grandson of the founder of the family fortune, Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, died in his country home here today after a week's illness. He was 82 years old.

Director of 22 Railroads

Mr. Vanderbilt was a director of twenty-two railroads, the Western Union Telegraph Company, Hudson River Bridge Company, Detroit River Tunnel Company, Niagara River Bridge Company and the New York State Realty and Terminal Company. He followed the family tradition in keeping his business interests closely tied up with the transportation industry. His chief holdings were in the New York Central Railroad, and directorships in other railroads stemmed from that system, with which the name of Vanderbilt has been linked since its beginning.

He was the third son of the late William Henry Vanderbilt and Maria Louisa Kissam Vanderbilt and the last surviving son. He was born on Feb. 2, 1856. After completing his academic work he entered Yale University and was graduated from the Sheffield Scientific School in 1878.

Then began his education in railroading. The Vanderbilt sons, as a matter of course, became railroad men. He entered the offices of the New York Central, his father's railroad, and in one department after another acquired a thorough knowledge of the business. He was a director for sixty-one years.

At first, however, his was not a "front-office" job with a nameplate on the door and negligible office hours. He worked in minor jobs, submitted to the usual rules and regulations of the various offices, and won the commendation of department heads for his industry and application.

Gave Millions to Philanthropy

His training completed, he spent several years in active work, but in recent years had devoted less and less time to business and more time to world traveling and yachting, which is almost as fixed a Vanderbilt tradition as railroading. He maintained homes in New York and Newport, besides an extensive estate at Hyde Park.

While the Vanderbilt name was well known to the general public, as an individual Frederick Vanderbilt was unknown. He preferred it thus. During his lifetime he had given millions of dollars to philanthropy, but avoided personal connection with his benefactions. His name would be listed opposite generous amounts in various drives and campaigns, but he avoided personal exploitation.

He had been a heavy contributor to Yale, providing funds which enabled the Sheffield School to add to its ground and had given money for a building. He made a $300,000 gift to the Vanderbilt Clinic of the Columbia University Medical Center; $250,000 to Vanderbilt University; helped to build the Sloan Hospital for Women; gave $100,000 to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine; in 1914 gave the Y. M. C. A. $100,000; built the Anthony Home for Working Girls, and made many lesser donations through the years.

In Cup Defender Syndicate

Mr. Vanderbilt had owned several famous yachts and was a member of the syndicate which built Rainbow, the America's Cup defender of 1934. For many years he sailed the Conqueror, built in 1889. The successor to this was the Warrior, which ran aground on a coral reef off the coast of Colombia in 1914.

On board at the time were Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt, the Duke and Duchess of Manchester and Lord Arthur George Keith-Falconer. Lashed to the rails and doubtful of being rescued during heavy seas, they watched eight lifeboats of the United Fruit Line Frutera smashed against the side of the ship in efforts to get a boat overside to rescue those on the Warrior. Another United Fruit boat finally effected the rescue after the seas had calmed somewhat.

In later years Mr. Vanderbilt owned the Vedette, another luxury yacht, which sank in the boat basin in Brooklyn. Outfitted at a cost of more than $1,000,000, the vessel sank at its mooring in Brooklyn in 1925.

Mr. Vanderbilt married in 1880 Mrs. Albert Torrence, the former Louise Anthony. She died in Paris in 1926.

Bought Napoleonic Furnishings

When Mr. Vanderbilt constructed the imposing Grecian-Corinthian mansion at Hyde Park in 1898, he brought from France the fittings and furnishings of the Malmaison Palace, which had belonged to Napoleon. It was purchased by the Empress Josephine in 1798, two years after her marriage to Napoleon. They spent the early years of their married life there and it was there that Josephine retired after her divorce.

Mr. Vanderbilt's clubs included the Knickerbocker, University, Metropolitan, St. Anthony, Racquet and Tennis, South Side Sportsmen, New York Yacht and Larchmont Yacht.

He is survived by two of his four sisters, Mrs. Henry White and Mrs. H. McK. Twombly, and three nephews, William K. Vanderbilt, Harold S. Vanderbilt and General Cornelius Vanderbilt. His three brothers were the second Cornelius, the first William K. and George W.

Funeral services will be held at his town house, 1,025 Fifth Avenue, at 3 o'clock tomorrow afternoon. Burial, which will be private, will be in the Vanderbilt mausoleum at New Dorp, S. I.