William Kissam Vanderbilt
|Born||December 12, 1849|
New Dorp, New York,  U.S.
|Died||July 22, 1920 70) (aged|
(m. 1875;div. 1895)
|Children|| Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess Of Marlborough|
William Kissam Vanderbilt II
Harold Stirling Vanderbilt
|Parent(s)|| William Henry Vanderbilt |
Maria Louisa Kissam
|Relatives||Herbert M. Harriman (brother-in-law)|
William Kissam "Willie" Vanderbilt I (December 12, 1849 – July 22, 1920  ) was an American heir, businessman, philanthropist and horsebreeder. Born into the Vanderbilt family, he managed his family's railroad investments. 
William Kissam Vanderbilt I was born on December 12, 1849, in New Dorp, New York, on Staten Island. His parents were Maria Louisa Kissam and William Henry Vanderbilt, the eldest son of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, an heir to his fortune and a prominent member of the Vanderbilt family who was the richest American after he took over his father's fortune in 1877 until his own death in 1885. 
He was the third of eight children born to his parents. His siblings were Cornelius Vanderbilt II, Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt, Emily Thorn Vanderbilt, Florence Adele Vanderbilt, Frederick William Vanderbilt, Eliza Osgood Vanderbilt, and George Washington Vanderbilt II. 
Vanderbilt inherited $55 million (equal to about $1.7 billion today) from his father. He managed his family railroad investments. In 1879, after taking over P. T. Barnum's Great Roman Hippodrome which was on railroad property by Madison Square Park, he renamed the facility Madison Square Garden. 
Vanderbilt was one of the founders of The Jockey Club. He was a shareholder and president of the Sheepshead Bay Race Track in Brooklyn, New York, and the owner of a successful racing stable. In 1896, he built the American Horse Exchange at 50th Street (Manhattan) and Broadway. In 1911 he leased it (and eventually sold it to) the Shubert Organization who then transformed it into the Winter Garden Theatre. 
After his divorce from Alva, he moved to France where he built a château and established the Haras du Quesnay horse racing stable and breeding farm near Deauville in France's famous horse region of Lower Normandy. Among the horses he owned was the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame filly Maskette, purchased from Castleton Farm in Lexington, Kentucky, for broodmare services at his French breeding farm. Vanderbilt's horses won a number of important races in France including:
On April 20, 1875, Vanderbilt married his first wife, Alva Erskine Smith, daughter of Murray Forbes Smith and Phoebe Ann Desha.  Together, they had three children: 
Alva later coerced Consuelo into marrying Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough on November 6, 1895.  Alva divorced Vanderbilt in March 1895, at a time when divorce was rare among the elite, and received a large financial settlement reported to be in excess of $10 million (equal to about $330 million today). The grounds for divorce were allegations of Vanderbilt's adultery. Indeed, one account of cheating on his wife was with none other than the Duchess of Manchester, Consuelo Yznaga, also known as his wife's best friend. Alva remarried to one of their old family friends, Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, on January 11, 1896. 
In 1903, Vanderbilt married Anne Harriman, daughter of banker Oliver Harriman.  She was a widow to sportsman Samuel Stevens Sands and to Lewis Morris Rutherfurd Jr., son of the astronomer Lewis Morris Rutherfurd. Her second husband had died in Switzerland in 1901. She had two sons by her first marriage and two daughters by her second marriage. She had no children by Vanderbilt. 
Like other prominent Vanderbilts, he built magnificent houses. His residences included Idle Hour (1900) on Long Island and Marble House (1892), designed by Richard Morris Hunt, in Newport, Rhode Island. Hunt also designed Vanderbilt's 660 Fifth Avenue mansion (1883). 
In 1907, Vanderbilt and his second wife built Château Vanderbilt, a Louis XIII style manor house along with three thoroughbred race tracks in Carrières-sous-Poissy, an hour outside Paris and on the route to Deauville, famous for its horse racing.
Vanderbilt was a co-owner of the yacht Defender , which won the 1895 America's Cup and briefly owned the large steam yacht Consuelo. Vanderbilt was a founder and president of the New Theatre.
Vanderbilt made significant charitable contributions to Vanderbilt University, a private university in Nashville, Tennessee, named for his grandfather.  
Vanderbilt died in Paris on July 22, 1920.  His remains were brought home and interred in the Vanderbilt family mausoleum in New Dorp, Staten Island, New York. 
Vanderbilt's portrait, painted by F. W. Wright from an original painting by Richard Hall between 1911 and 1921, was donated to Vanderbilt University in 1921; it is hung in Kirkland Hall. 
In World War II, the United States liberty ship SS William K. Vanderbilt was named in his honor.
Founding member of the Jekyll Island Club aka The Millionaires Club on Jekyll Island, Georgia. 
Oakdale is a hamlet in Suffolk County, New York, United States. The population was 7,974 at the 2010 census. Oakdale is in the Town of Islip. It has been home to Gilded Age mansions, the South Side Sportsmen's Club, and the main campus of Dowling College. It is now home to Connetquot River State Park Preserve.
Consuelo Vanderbilt-Balsan was a socialite and a member of the prominent American Vanderbilt family. Her first marriage to the 9th Duke of Marlborough has become a well-known example of one of the advantageous, but loveless, marriages common during the Gilded Age; as such, she was known as one of the earliest dollar princesses. The Duke obtained a large dowry by the marriage, and reportedly told her just after the marriage that he married her in order to "save Blenheim Palace", his ancestral home.
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Richard John Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough,, styled Earl of Sunderland until 1883 and Marquess of Blandford between 1883 and 1892, was a British soldier and Conservative politician, and a close friend of his first cousin Winston Churchill. He was often known as "Sunny" Marlborough after his courtesy title of Earl of Sunderland.
The Vanderbilt family is an American family who gained prominence during the Gilded Age. Their success began with the shipping and railroad empires of Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the family expanded into various other areas of industry and philanthropy. Cornelius Vanderbilt's descendants went on to build grand mansions on Fifth Avenue in New York City; luxurious "summer cottages" in Newport, Rhode Island; the palatial Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina; and various other opulent homes. The family also built Berkshire cottages in the western region of Massachusetts; examples include Elm Court.
From the late 1870s to the 1920s, the Vanderbilt family employed some of the best Beaux-Arts architects and decorators in the United States to build an unequaled string of townhouses in New York City and palaces on the East Coast of the United States. Many of the Vanderbilt houses are now National Historic Landmarks. Some photographs of Vanderbilt residences in New York are included in the Photographic series of American Architecture by Albert Levy (1870s).
John Albert Edward William Spencer-Churchill, 10th Duke of Marlborough,, styled Marquess of Blandford until 1934, was a British military officer and peer.
William Kissam Vanderbilt II was an American motor racing enthusiast and yachtsman, and a member of the prominent Vanderbilt family.
The Vanderbilt Cup was the first major trophy in American auto racing.
Harry Payne Whitney was an American businessman, thoroughbred horse breeder, and member of the prominent Whitney family.
Marble House, a Gilded Age mansion located at 596 Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island, was built from 1888 to 1892 as a summer cottage for Alva and William Kissam Vanderbilt and was designed by Richard Morris Hunt in the Beaux Arts style. It was unparalleled in opulence for an American house when it was completed in 1892. Its temple-front portico resembles that of the White House.
Robert Desha was an American politician who represented Tennessee's 5th Congressional district in the United States House of Representatives.
Muriel Vanderbilt was an American socialite and a thoroughbred racehorse owner/breeder who was a member of the wealthy Vanderbilt family.
Virginia Fair Vanderbilt was an American socialite, hotel builder/owner, philanthropist, owner of Fair Stable, a Thoroughbred racehorse operation, and a member of the prominent Vanderbilt family by marriage.
Maintenon was a French Thoroughbred racehorse. He was bred by Gaston Dreyfus at his Haras du Perray in Les Bréviaires, Yvelines. Maintenon was out of the mare, Marcia, and sired by Le Sagittaire, a multiple winner of what today are Group One races.
Alva Erskine Belmont, known as Alva Vanderbilt from 1875 to 1896, was an American multi-millionaire socialite and women's suffrage activist. She was noted for her energy, intelligence, strong opinions, and willingness to challenge convention.
Anne Harriman Sands Rutherfurd Vanderbilt was an American heiress known for her marriages to prominent men and her role in the development of the Sutton Place neighborhood as a fashionable place to live.
Lewis Morris Rutherfurd Jr. was an American socialite and sportsman from New York known for breeding fox terrier dogs.
Margaret Stuyvesant Rutherfurd Murat was an eccentric American heiress, dancer and sometime actress.
Fernando Alfonso Yznaga del Valle was a Cuban American banker who was one of the best-known men of New York and foreign society and club life. Described as "one of the most entertaining of men, very clever at epigram and repartee, and famous for quaint sayings. His life had been adventurous and, from a domestic point of view, somewhat of a stormy nature."
Murray Forbes Smith was an American commission merchant best known as the father of Alva Belmont.
William H. Vanderbilt died at his residence in this city, of paralysis, at half-past two o'clock this afternoon. He arose this morning at his usual hour, and at breakfast served to the members of the family, most of whom were present, he appeared to be in his usual health and in a more than usually happy frame of mind.