George Washington Vanderbilt II

George Washington Vanderbilt II
Born (1862-11-14)November 14, 1862
New Dorp, Staten Island, New York
Died March 6, 1914(1914-03-06) (aged 51)
Washington, D.C.
Known for owned Biltmore Estate
Spouse(s) Edith Stuyvesant Dresser
Children Cornelia Stuyvesant Vanderbilt
Parent(s) William Henry Vanderbilt
Maria Louisa Kissam
Relatives Cornelius Vanderbilt (grandfather)
George Henry Vanderbilt Cecil (grandson)
William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil (grandson)

George Washington Vanderbilt II (November 14, 1862 – March 6, 1914) was an art collector and member of the prominent Vanderbilt family, which had amassed a huge fortune through steamboats, railroads, and various business enterprises. He owned the 250 room Biltmore, the largest home in the United States.


  • Biography 1
  • Biltmore 2
  • Family 3
  • Death 4
  • Legacy 5
  • References 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


The youngest child of William Henry Vanderbilt and Maria Louisa Kissam. George II was named after his paternal uncle.

As the youngest of William's children, George II was said to be his father's favorite and his constant companion. Relatives described him as slender, dark-haired, and pale-complexioned. Shy and introverted, his interests ran to philosophy, books, and the collection of paintings in his father'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.

His father owned elegant mansions in New York City and Newport and an 800-acre (3.2 km2) country estate on Long Island. When William died in 1885 of a stroke, he left a fortune of approximately $200 million, the bulk of which was split between his two older sons, New Dorp and Woodland Beach, now the neighborhood of Midland Beach on Staten Island, New York where he was born, then lived with his mother in Manhattan until his own townhouse at 9 West 53rd Street was completed in 1887. The Vanderbilt family business was operated by his older brothers. This left George to spend his time in intellectual pursuits.

In 1891 he joined the New York Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Biltmore estate


At Biltmore, George led the life of a country gentleman. Having a great interest in horticulture and agriscience, he oversaw experiments in scientific farming, animal bloodline breeding, and silviculture (forestry). 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; it was also the site of the Biltmore School of Forestry, the first such school in North America, established in 1898 by Dr. Carl A. Schenck.


On June 1, 1898, George W. Vanderbilt married Titanic but changed their plans before departure, sailing and arriving in New York before the Titanic sank.


He died due to complications following an appendectomy in Washington, D.C.[1] He was interred in the Vanderbilt family mausoleum at the Moravian Cemetery in New Dorp in Staten Island, New York.


After his death, George's widow sold approximately 86,000 acres (350 km2) of the property to the

  • Official Biltmore Estate website

External links

  • Vanderbilt, Arthur T. II. (1989) Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt New York: Quill / William Morrow. 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 III).
  • Curiosity served: Biltmore opens servants' quarters at The San Diego Union-Tribune December 25, 2005
  • Portrait of George Washington Vanderbilt by John Singer Sargent
  • Antiques of the Biltmore Estate
  • George Washington Vanderbilt at

Further reading

  1. ^ "G. W. Vanderbilt Dies Suddenly. Seemed to be Recovering from Operation for Appendicitis When Heart Failed".  
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