Alice Claypoole <I>Gwynne</I> Vanderbilt

Alice Claypoole Gwynne Vanderbilt

Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA
Death 22 Apr 1934 (aged 88)
Manhattan, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial New Dorp, Richmond County (Staten Island), New York, USA
Plot The Vanderbilt Mausoleum
Memorial ID 93294969 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Socialite and Matriarch of the Vanderbilt Family for more than sixty years. Daughter of Abraham E. and Rachel Flagg Gwynne, Widow of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. From her humble beginnings as the daughter of a prominent lawyer, she met her equally pious husband while teaching Sunday school. Proud and aristocratic, she transformed herself into the supreme empress of Fifth Avenue, launching a successful campaign to elevate her husband's family into the top drawer of New York and Newport society. This in time came for the need of a "suitable" New York residence; located at 1 West 57th Street, designed by Richard Hunt and George Post, imposing and dignified, it comprised one hundred and thirty rooms - the largest private home ever erected in the city. In Newport, Rhode Island, a home was needed to replace their previous home 'Breakers' that had burned down; completely fire-proof, 'Breakers II' was also designed by Hunt and was seventy rooms of sumptuous luxury, making it the most splendid home at that summer resort. Dubbed as "Alice of The Breakers", she insisted on the finest luxuries that could be bought; which ranged from footmen attired in maroon livery to the salt water in the baths at her summer home. Alice, a tiny woman at 5 feet 2 inches, was intensely religious, attending church services daily, sometimes twice a day if schedules permitted. Unusually cold to strangers, she was perpetually camera shy; and never left home without a thick veil and in the attendance of two burly guards. Preferring the comforts of a automobile rather than the uncertainties of boat or plane, she travelled between her two residences in a fleet of limousines~ all dressed in maroon. A widow in 1899, she was further saddened by the loss of her son Alfred (d. 1915) onboard the sinking of the "Lusitania" and her youngest son Reginald (d. 1925) after literally drinking himself to death; after which she chose to remain in mourning for the remainder of her lifetime, never donning anything more than black. The beloved Matriarch of the Vanderbilt family passed away quietly at The Breakers in her eighty-eighth year.

  • Maintained by: Bobby Kelley
  • Originally Created by: John Astor
  • Added: 8 Jul 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 93294969
  • Peter F M
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Alice Claypoole Gwynne Vanderbilt (26 Nov 1845–22 Apr 1934), Find A Grave Memorial no. 93294969, citing Vanderbilt Family Cemetery and Mausoleum, New Dorp, Richmond County (Staten Island), New York, USA ; Maintained by Bobby Kelley (contributor 46959922) .