Death of Mrs. W.K. Vanderbilt

While browsing an issue of the Tennessean newspaper today, I just happened to see this obituary…

From The Tennessean – Nashville, TN
21 Apr 1940

NEW YORK, April 20 – UP – Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt, Sr., widow of the grandson of the founder of the Vanderbilt’s dynasty and long a reigning queen in New York society, died today in a New York hospital. She was noted for her philanthropies, particularly in behalf of war sufferers, and during the World War was one of the Red Cross’ most active workers. For the contribution, she was made a knight of the Legion of Honor by France in 1919 and received the rank of officer in the legion 12 years later.

The former Anne Harriman, she was one of eight children of the late Oliver Harriman Sr., and made her social debut in the 1880s. Her first marriage was to Samuel Stevens Sands, Jr., who was killed a few years later while riding in the Meadowbrook Hunt, on Long Island. Her second husband was Lewis Morris Rutherfurd and after his death she and Vanderbilt were married in London in 1903.

Vanderbilt, the grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderiblt, had received the bulk of the fortune left by his father, William H. It was after the death of Mrs. William Astor that Mrs. Vanderbilt took over leadership in the so called “400.” Her daughters, Barbara and Margaret Rutherfurd, were debutanes then. Subsequently Barbara married Cyril Hatch and Margaret wed Ogden L. Mills. Both marriages ended in divorce.

As late as 1935, Mrs. Vanderbilt was listed by Paris dressmakers as one of the world’s 20 best dressed women.


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