The Vanderbilts' America

We will look at mid-19th-century and Gilded Age New York (and America) through the lens of one of its richest and most powerful families, beginning with Commodore Vanderbilt, moving on to his son William Henry, then to the grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren, with special emphasis on the women in the family and on the Vanderbilts as builders. We will take a lingering look at the houses in New York, Newport, and North Carolina, and at such unexpected lives as Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and John Hammond. Throughout the course we will explore the question: Would America have been better or worse off without the Vanderbilts?

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You'll Walk Away with

  • Knowledge about the lives and fascinating stories of various Vanderilt family members
  • Familiarity with the grand estates and mansions of the Vanderbilt family
  • An understanding of the impact of the Vanderbilts on American society

Ideal for

  • All members of the community—working, retired, and in between
  • Architecture enthusiasts and history buffs
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.