Cornelius Vanderbilt IV was a great great grandson of the Commodore, Cornelius Vanderbilt, the original Vanderbilt who made that name famous with his enormous success in both sea and rail transportation.
Cornelius Vanderbilt IV was one of the first Vanderbilts to live in the twentieth century. His parents were Cornelius Vanderbilt III and Grace Graham Wilson. His grandfather was Cornelius Vanderbilt II, who was also the grandfather of Gloria Vanderbilt. In other words he and Gloria were first cousins.
His major claim to fame was the seven wives he was married to over a period of 55 years. His longest marriage was his first. It lasted from 1919 to 1927. All the others were shorter with the one before his death lasting for seven years.
Cornelius Vanderbilt IV was essentially a newspaperman, a profession that his family did not approve of. During his newspaper career he worked as a staff member for the New York Herald, The New York Times and the New York Daily Mirror. Before becoming a newspaper staffer he engaged in being a newspaper owner as described below.
Although he had some inherited wealth, he was able to spend most of it on three newspapers he launched in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami. They were named: The Los Angeles Illustrated Daily News, The San Francisco Illustrated Daily Herald, and The Miami Tab. All three only lasted a few years and then collapsed. He lost close to $ 6 million on the ventures, and that probably depleted his fortune.
Following the collapse of his three newspapers, and probably with few funds at his disposal, he became a charter member of the New York Civetan Club. This was another action he took which dismayed his parents. The Civetan Clubs are organizations which promote assistance to the needy, and to this day are still quite active, and spread over a large number of countries.
During the First World War he served in the Ambulance Service, and became an ambulance driver, because he was able to drive an ambulance made by Rolls Royce. He had of course ridden or driven a Rolls Royce himself during his younger years.
A few years before the Second World War, in 1938, he was commissioned into the United States Army and rose to the rank of major in the Intelligence Corpse. He was awarded the FBI’s Distinguished Service Cross in 1942, and was discharged from the Army in 1942 because of poor health.
As a newspaperman he wrote several books, including “ Personal Experiences of a Cub Reporter”, “Farewell to Fifth Avenue”, and “Queen of the Golden Age”. The latter book was a biography of his mother. In 1934 he also made an anti-Nazi documentary, “Hitler’s Reign of Terror”. Following the war he became an early and strong supporter of the new State of Israel.
The more interesting part of Cornelius VanderbiltIV’s life was his marital record. He was married to the following women over a 55 year period: Rachel Littleton from 1919 to 1927, Mary Weir Logan from 1928 to 1931, Helen Varner from 1935 to 1940, Maria Feliza Pablos from 1946 to 1948, Patricia Murphy from 1948 to 1953, Anna Bernadetta Needham from 1957 to 1960 and Mary Lou Bristol from 1967 until his death in 1974.
With the many wives one would expect to see several children. But only one is reported. He is Cornelius Vanderbilt V. Little is known about him. Cornelius Vanderbilt IV passed away on July 7, 1974 while on Staten Island, and is probably buried in the Vanderbilt Mausoleum on the Moravian Cemetery in the community of New Dorp, Staten Island, New York. New Dorp was also the place where he was born on April 30, 1898, 76 years before.
Pictured: Vanderbilt in 1926
SOURCES: Wikipedia and other sources on the web and the New York Times were used to assemble the bio profile.
At the end of the bio profile of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt is an extensive description how the Vanderbilt in this bio profile fits in with the other prominent Vanderbilts who preceded or followed him. Please refer to it for further understanding of the Vanderbilt family tree.
E-BOOKS AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON; GOOGLE: Kindle Store Pegels
PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS, CURRENT AND HISTORIC
EIGHT PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE ROOSEVELTS, VANDERBILTS AND OTHERS, 2015
FIFTEEN PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE VAN BURENS, KOCH BROTHERS, VOORHEES AND OTHERS, 2015
PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS IN U.S. GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP POSITIONS, 2015
DUTCH PEGELS INVOLVED IN WARS
ALLIED EUROPE CAMPAIGN—1944/1945: TACTICAL MISTAKES, 2017
THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN THE NETHERLANDS: MEMOIRS, 2017
FRENCH REVOLUTION, NAPOLEON AND RUSSIAN WAR OF 1812, 2015