Vanderbilt. The mere mention of the name conjures the very embodiment of the word “wealth.” Cornelius Vanderbilt was the great-great grandson of an indentured servant who emigrated to New York from the Netherlands in 1650. Born into poverty on Staten Island in 1794, he quit school at the age of 11 to work on his father’s ferry. From this meager stock arose The Commodore, a title Vanderbilt would command for the rest of his life, not for attaining the highest rank in the then U.S. Navy, but rather in deference to his earned stature as a shipping magnate. Not resting on his laurels, then came the building of a railroad empire crowned with the culmination of his vision, the Grand Central Depot. Adjusted for inflation, Vanderbilt’s $100 million estate would be worth upwards of $215 billion today.
Danielle DiMartino Booth is CEO and Director of Intelligence at Quill Intelligence
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