William Knapp Thorn

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Pau-Hunt : Arsenius; Arthur Smyth, baron d'Este; Hubert, comte de Ganay; James Mellor; Prince de Poix; William Knapp Thorn, Edgard Lejeune, G. Brinquant Pau-Hunt.jpg
Pau-Hunt : Arsenius; Arthur Smyth, baron d'Este; Hubert, comte de Ganay; James Mellor; Prince de Poix; William Knapp Thorn, Edgard Lejeune, G. Brinquant

William Knapp Thorn, Jr. (April 10, 1848 – November 16, 1910) was an American champion polo player and the grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. [1] [2] Also, he was a hunter and horse-rider. [2] He was one of the best-known sportsmen in the United States and France. [2]


He was born in 1848 to Emily Almira Vanderbilt Thorn. [1] Thorn received his LLB from Columbia Law School in 1870. [3]

He participated in the 1886 International Polo Cup with teammates Foxhall Parker Keene and Thomas Hitchcock, Sr.

He lived in Pau where he contribute to the development of cars and motorsport in the region. He created the Automobile-club of Bearn which organised the first motor races in the southwest of France in 1899.

This race became the famous Pau Grand Prix which is still popular today.

He died in Pau, France on November 16, 1910. [1] [2]

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  1. 1 2 3 "Grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt Found Dead at His Home in Pau". New York Times . November 17, 1910. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Horace A. Laffaye, The Evolution of Polo, Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2009, p. 27
  3. Officers and Graduates of Columbia College: Originally the College of the Province of New York Known as King's College. General Catalogue, 1754-1894. New York: Columbia College. 1894. p. 288.