LECTURE FEATURING ALFRED GWYNNE VANDERBILT III
Great Camp Sagamore, the Rustic Movement, and Stories of the Vanderbilt Family
Thursday, June 23, 7 pm
The Mather Homestead welcomes New Canaan resident Alfred Vanderbilt (III), a sixth generation descendant of Cornelius Vanderbilt - “The Commodore” - who built his fortune in shipping and railroads and erected Grand Central Terminal.
During the late 19th century, the Vanderbilts erected numerous mansions and country estates on the East Coast including Biltmore, in Asheville, NC; Marble House and The Breakers (Alfred’s great-parent’s ‘summer cottage’) in Newport, RI. For the most part, these lavish homes reflected European trends.
In 1902, influenced by the writings of American naturalist authors Henry David Thoreau and John Muir, Alfred’s grandfather purchased Great Camp Sagamore to serve as the family’s hunting lodge. Located in the Adirondacks and often described as “the greatest of the great camps,” Sagamore would become the Vanderbilts’ wilderness retreat, visited by many famous guests. Before the family gifted it to Syracuse University in the 1960s the camp boasted 62 buildings.
Alfred’s talk will center on how the rustic movement impacted the Vanderbilts and what life was like at Sagamore. He fondly remembers going with his parents and having to audition for his grandmother to be allowed to ride with her on her private rail car.
A retired public relations executive, he is completing a memoir about his childhood called: “The Unknowable Man.”