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William Henry Vanderbilt. Engraving by A. H. Ritchie. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-38787).


Vanderbilt, William Henry (08 May 1821–08 December 1885), railroad industrialist, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the son of “Commodore” Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794–1877) and Sophia Johnson. The elder Vanderbilt operated a ferry between New Jersey and Manhattan, and the home atmosphere was one of frugality and hard work. The family moved to Manhattan when William was eight....