The Vanderbilts

The Family that Built a Transportation Empire

The Vanderbilts were one of the oldest and best-known families in America. Jan Aertsen van der Bilt emigrated from Holland around 1650. Although his descendants prospered as farmers on Staten Island, New York, they lived modestly; it was only during the lifetime of Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877), known as the “Commodore,” that the family name became synonymous with extraordinary wealth.

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