Feature Friday – July 11, 2008

Feature Friday posts will feature relevant information from a chosen online resource. This month, the database is Footnote.

Footnote.com offers a variety of historical documents online categorized in several collections. One such collection is the Records of the Department of State Relating to Internal Affairs of France, 1930-1939 as obtained from the National Archives.  This collection has all kinds of items reporting American interests in France and her colonies.

While browsing Footnote for items of relevance to the Vanderbilt family, I located this newspaper article mentioning that Consuelo Vanderbilt, a great-granddaughter of the Commodore, may have been interested in the purchase of an island along with some others:

“The colonization of a small island in the Mediterranean, where American money would be the only currency in circulation, is being planned by a group of wealthy Americans in France headed by Bruce Bundy, Los Angeles millionaire, who have been hit by the fall of the dollar, according to reports here today.

It is possible that the Americans may buy the historic St. Marguerite Island, three miles off Cannes, which is celebrated for its prison that held the Man in the Mask.  Among those reported to have been asked to participate in the plan are Mme. Jacques Balsan, formerly Consuelo Vanderbilt; G.P. Butler,  Commodore Louis D. Beaumont, Mrs. Dorothy Erskine-Bolst, and other wealthy Riveria residents who suffer huge losses through the exchange of the dollar into francs.”

The clipping is from the August 9, 1933 issue of the Chicago Tribune and in one of the cover letters prefacing the actual clipping the following sentence can be read: “Americans, or at all events certain Americans are really cocksure of themselves. They evidently believe that on the strength of their dollar, even though depreciated, they are in a position to buy any and everything.”   Certainly sounds like it huh!

Well, I haven’t researched to see what came of this, but how interesting.  Using Footnote’s neat Spotlight feature, I made a Spotlight page for it that you can see here.


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