Two years ago in May, boy did CNN and Anderson Cooper catch hell! Not looking all that closely at a spot, several African American pundits were furious. Recreating the infamous 'Doll Test' of more than two generation ago, the network engaged respected child psychologist and University of Chicago professor Margaret Beale Spencer, a leading researcher in the field of child development. She reprised work done by Kenneth and Mamie Clark measuring how segregation affected African American children.
Given national employment and education statistics, the persisting 'outlaw' status accorded most blacks, the segment's revelation that, children, both black and white, still overwhelmingly prefer whites, comes as no surprise. What provoked the pundit's ire, was white and privileged, Anderson Cooper. Just as with President Obama and some Tea Party adherents, to these guys, Cooper could do nothing right. He was just interviewing the social scientist who implemented the study and a few participants for feedback. In what better way could he alert masses of the complacent public that something was still, quite wrong in America?
Now then, I know that Andreson Cooper is not black. I know that even though he is gay that, that's not the same as being black either. But I will tell you something, you may or may not know already: at some point, no matter whoever else they are, most kids who are gay, like many kids who are black, hate who they are! For lots, no amount of positive-reinforcement from family changes a thing. A parent's love, at one level, is expected as a matter of entitlement. Parents and siblings are one thing, and the world's message of alinating regection is another. Rejection on both fronts is worst of all. But for many the road to well being starts with self-awarness and acceptance before anything else.
William Henry Vanderbilt and his wife, Maria Louisa Kissam Vanderbilt had four sons and four daughters.
1. Cornelius Vanderbilt II (1843–1899) who married Alice Claypoole Gwynne
2. Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt (1845–1924) who married Elliot Fitch Shepherd
3. William Kissam Vanderbilt (1849–1920) who married Alva Erskine Smith
4. Emily Thorn Vanderbilt (1852–1946) who married William Douglas Sloane and later Henry White
5. Florence Adele Vanderbilt (1854–1952) who married Hamilton McKown Twombly
6. Frederick William Vanderbilt (1856–1938) who married divorcee, Louise Holmes Anthony Torrance
7. Eliza Osgood Vanderbilt (1860–1936) who married William Seward Webb
8. George Washington Vanderbilt II (1862–1914) who married Edith Stuyvesant Dresser
Cooper's great-granduncle Frederick William Vanderbilt never had children with his wife Lulu. Because she was a divorcée their social life was somewhat proscribed and focused, not at New York or Newport where they maintained houses, but in Duchess County, at Hyde Park, their retreat overlooking the Hudson. Described as a rogue by Cooper's grandmother Gloria Morgan, he sustained a romance with his wife's niece, Daisey Post Van Alen. Bypassing other relatives, in 1938 Uncle Frederick left her his home on the river and $10,000,000.
Frederick William Vanderbilt, his wife Lulu Vanderbilt, his wife's niece, and his rumored mistress Daisey Post Van Alen.
Frederick Vanderbilt built Hyde Park according to designs provided by McKim, Mead & White, with Charles Follen McKim responsible for the plan and Stanford White assisting as an antiques adviser. It was designed and built between 1896–1899.
As the youngest in his family, George Washington Vanderbilt, II was said to be his mother's and father's favorite. Slender, dark-haired, and pale, he was also shy, introverted, intellectual and elegant in appearance. His interests lay, not in society or frivolity, but in philosophy, books, art, architecture and nature. In addition to frequent visits to Paris, he traveled extensively enough to become fluent in eight foreign languages and was painted by Sargent and Whistler.
Of the $200,000,000 his father left, most went to his two older sons, Cornelius Vanderbilt II and William K. Vanderbilt. George W. Vanderbilt II inherited varriously: $1,000,000. from his grandfather, receiving another million on his 21st birthday from his father. Upon his father's death, he inherited $5,000,000. more, as well as the income from a $5,000,000. trust fund. He lived with his mother in Manhattan until her death, not marrying until he was nearly 40.
As the Vanderbilt family railroad empire was operated by George Vanderbilt's older brothers, he was free to live a life of ease. For an ordinary rich person, his means would have been thought impearealy ample. But such a characterization is hardly adapt of George Vanderbilt. Visiting western North Carolina with his mother when he was twenty-six, he determined to build a country house like none before. In 1889, at Asheville, North Carolina he began construction on the 125,000 acre, 228 square mile estate he called Biltmore.
Modeled after the great French Châteaux of the Loire Valley, his 250-room house, the largest ever built in America, was designed by the Vanderbilt families' favorite practitioner, famed architect Richard Morris Hunt. Biltmore's expansive landscape was designed by by Frederick Law Olmsted.
An art connoisseur, scholar and collector, an introvert who married late and had only one child, the 'poorest' of his siblings, who built the grandest, most costly house of all!: was George Washington Vanderbilt gay?
Such a question is hardly right for Anderson Cooper's Vannderbilt great-grandaunts. Margaret Louisa, Mrs. Elliot Fitch Shepherd, like her sisters was socialy ambitious and married well. Being an heiress meant being painted by sargent and having a Fifth Avenue house as a wedding present in addition to having a country place. It meant handsome jewels, a box at the opera and travel abroad. It meant being able to provide such nice things for one's children and the reasonable expectation that none of one's legates could likely ever be so profligate, that any of one's decendants might ever come to be in want.
1888: Mrs. Elliot Fitch Shepherd by Sargent.
1900: Margaret Vanderbilt Shepard, built two double-width houses for her daughters. Imposing 5 East 66th Street was designed for Maria and William Schieffelin by Hunt & Hunt. One of the city's most exuberant surviving houses, 11 East 62nd Street was meant for Edith and Ernesto Fabbri. The son of a merchant Mr. Fabbri headed the Society of Italian Immigrants. Architects for the Fabbri house were Haydel & Shepard. Abner Haydel and Augustus Shepard had one advantage: Augustus Shepard was Edith Fabbri's cousin.
Rapidly deemed ostentatious, 11 East 62nd Street was exchanged by Edith and Ernesto Fabbri for 7 East 95thStreet, built between 1914 and 1916 and designed by Grosvenor Atterbury. The interior decoration, however, was executed by Righter & Kolb in association with Egisto Fabbri, Ernesto Fabbri’s brother. Juxtaposition of the stairs of each house show a marked contrast. Like much of the furniture, the library was imported from a Florentine villa.
Emily Thorn Vanderbilt who married William Douglas Sloane, the fine furniture supplier and who in widowhood became Mrs. Henry White, certainly contributed to the, mostly, affectionate rivalry among the sisters. 'Which would produce the most brilliant debutant dance, present the most lavish wedding present or procure the most smart motor? Who might rebel, forsaking Newport for New Jersey, the Berkshires or Mount Desert?' Around such everyday concerns revolved much of the world of this well matched and highly competitive family.
Naturally in 1901 the William D. Sloanes commissioned the architects Warren & Wetmore to design a palace as a wedding present for their daughter Adele. She married James A. Burden II, heir to the Burden Iron Works at Troy, New York. Simularly when the Sloane's daughter Emily Vanderbilt Sloane, married banker John Henry Hammond, they built them a house as well, next door, at 9 East 91st Street. This time the architects were Carrère and Hastings. Five stories, the Hammond's city house was completed in 1903.
Ca. 1896: Adele and Emily Sloane.
The Hammond's only son, John Henry Hammond, Jr., a recording executive and jazz impresario, although married twice, is reported by relatives to have been bisexual.
Striking, if never beautiful, it was Anderson Cooper's great-grandaunt Florence Adele Vanderbilt, Mrs. Hamilton McKown Twombly, who made the most illustrious match and lived with the greatest degree of brio. For most of her life the widow of a railroad executive and director of fifty-nine corporations, along with her sister, Emily Vanderbilt Sloane White; her niece, Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt II; and friends Ruth Livingston Mills, and Mrs. Elbridge T. Gerry, she was said to exercise complete dominance over "Old Guard" New York and Newport Society.
1890: By Sargent.
Except perhaps for her brothers' regal residences, Mrs. Twombly's houses were unrivaled. Her New York house, 1 East 71st Street, designed by Whitney Warren, was the last great private house to be built on Fifth Avenue. Vinland, a forty-room seaside mansion at Newport, Rhode Island; was only surpassed by Florham, a vast country estate, at Convent Station, New Jersey. Having secured the talents of that utmost chef, Joseph Donon; pupil of Escoffier, as the master of her kitchens for four decades, she did nothing to restrain his epic epocurian efforts. Her households superbly managed by her capable spinster daughter, Ruth, Mrs. Twombly dispensed legendary hospitality as exquisite in execution as it was seemingly effortless.
Yes, more than one source maintains that Burden was essentially homosexual. They also say that, "For all his charm and resources, growing up Catholic with actors and other outré characters in California, helped give Carter an outsider status here, that he never totally surmounted." Asked why, if he were Gay, did he bother to marry then? One friend responded,
"You've read, Portrait of a Marriage, haven't you? You are aware of Carter Brown, of Jimmie Biddle, Mark Hampton, Tom Britt, and David Hicks? These people, at that level, the family money, it becomes so much more than just a means of surviving. So often deprived of love or even of human warmth, it forms an unending chain about approval, disappointment and bitterness. The money gets transposed, it becomes a substitute for love and all that ought to go with a normal relationship. Finally, no matter what it costs, it's the prize that must be won. Trust me, you've no idea how much money can mess some people up!"