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Cornelius Vanderbilt Papers

Call Number: MS 1181

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a miscellany of papers relating to Cornelius Vanderbilt III. There is a small amount of general correspondence dealing mainly with business matters, and a larger selection of military correspondence, memoranda, and a notebook, all stemming from Vanderbilt's service as an officer in the U.S. Engineers during World War I. There are in addition a few items of memorabilia, two inventories, and five photographic copies of commissions issued by the U.S. Continental Congress and other Revolutionary-era bodies.

The remainder of the papers consists of bound volumes, the most interesting of which are two lavishly illustrated manuscripts: A Plan Executed At the Royal Naval Academy, by Joseph Lyddell Peyton (1803); and Martimagraphy or A Discription [sic] of the Sea Coast, by John Burnell (n.d.). The first provides a complete course of instruction for British Naval Officers, while the second contains drawings of headlands of various coastlines. The other volumes in the papers include a nurse's report of Vanderbilt's bout of typhoid in 1902-1903, twenty-three notebooks on topics such as engineering, mathematics, and chemistry, six checkbooks, an engagement book, and four guestbooks.

These papers were donated to Yale University by Mrs. Vanderbilt and the Vanderbilt estate in 1944-1945, and by Donald Wing in 1968.


  • 1776-1953
  • Majority of material found within 1901 - 1928


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt and the Vanderbilt estate, 1944-1945; and Donald Wing, 1968.


3 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Chiefly correspondence, memoranda, a notebook, and memorabilia relating to Vanderbilt's service as an officer in the U.S. Engineers during World War I. Also included are technical notebooks on mathematics, chemistry, and engineering (1897-1926). Of particular note are two illustrated manuscript volumes: one by Joseph Lyddell Peyton outlining a course of instruction for British naval officers, and the second by John Burnell showing the headlands of various coastlines in Europe and Africa. Also in the papers are checkbooks, guestbooks, a nurse's record of Vanderbilt's case of typhoid fever (1902-1903), and inventories of the Vanderbilt library in New York City, and of his yacht.

Biographical / Historical

Cornelius Vanderbilt: capitalist; A.B., Yale, 1895, Ph.B., 1898, M.E., 1899; officer in the U.S. Engineers, 1917-1918.

Guide to the Cornelius Vanderbilt Papers
Under Revision
compiled by Janet Elaine Gertz
September 1982
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
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Sterling Memorial Library
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