Elimination of Railroad Grade Crossings Issued to the Will of Alfred G. Vanderbilt - $5,000 - BondInv# AG1943 Bond
$5,000 Bond printed by Quayle & Son, Albany, N.Y. and issued to the will of Alfred G. Vanderbilt, deceased.
Alfred G. Vanderbilt I (1877-1915) Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt I (October 20, 1877 – May 7, 1915) was an extremely wealthy sportsman and a member of the famous Vanderbilt family of philanthropists. He died on the RMS Lusitania. Born in New York City, the third son of Cornelius Vanderbilt II and Alice Claypoole Gwynne, Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt was educated at St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire, and at Yale University (Class of 1899), where he was a member of Skull and Bones. Soon after graduation, Vanderbilt, with a party of friends, started on a tour of the world which was to have lasted two years. When they reached Japan on 12 September 1899, he received news of the sudden death of his father, and hastened home as speedily as possible to find himself, by his father's will, the head of his branch of the family. His siblings included Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt, William Henry Vanderbilt II, Cornelius Vanderbilt III, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt and Gladys Vanderbilt, Countess Széchenyi. His eldest brother, William, had died in 1892 at the age of 22 and their father had disinherited Cornelius III. Alfred thus received the largest share of his father's estate, though it was also divided among their sisters and youngest son. Soon after his return to New York, Vanderbilt began working as a clerk in the offices of the New York Central Railroad, as preparation for entering into the councils of the company as one of its principal owners. Subsequently, he was chosen a director in other companies as well, among them the Fulton Chain Railway Company, Fulton Navigation Company, Raquette Lake Railway Company, Raquette Lake Transportation Company, and the Plaza Bank of New York. Vanderbilt was a good judge of real estate values and projected several important enterprises. On the site of the former residence of the Vanderbilt family, and including, also, several adjacent plots, he built the Vanderbilt Hotel at Park Avenue and 34th Street, New York, which he made his city home. On May 1, 1915, Alfred Vanderbilt boarded the RMS Lusitania bound for Liverpool as a first class passenger. It was a business trip, and he traveled with only his valet, leaving his family at home in New York. On May 7 off the coast of County Cork, Ireland, the German submarine, U-20 torpedoed the ship, triggering a secondary explosion that sank the giant ocean liner within 18 minutes. Vanderbilt and his valet, Ronald Denyer, helped others into lifeboats, and then Vanderbilt gave his lifejacket to save a female passenger. Vanderbilt had promised the young mother of a small baby that he would locate an extra lifevest for her. Failing to do so, he offered her his own life vest, which he proceeded to even tie on to her himself since she was holding her infant child in her arms at the time. Many consider his actions to be very brave and gallant since he could not swim, he knew that there were no other lifevests or lifeboats available, and yet he still gave away his only chance to survive to the young mother and child. Because of his fame, several people on the Lusitania who survived the tragedy were observing him while events unfolded at the time and so they took note of his brave actions. He and Denyer were among the 1198 passengers who did not survive the incident. His body was never recovered.
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