Cornelius Vanderbilt, Sr. Letter Signed "C Vanderbilt". One page of a bifolium, 5" x 8.25", New York, October 2, 1868. Addressed to Douglas Taylor declining an appointment: "Your favor of the 25th [illegible] informing me that I am selected as one of the Vice Presidents of a meeting to be held the 5th inst at Tammany Hall is this moment received. As I cannot take part in political matters you will please excuse me for declining the honour you have so kindly tendered."

    Tammany Hall, under the reins of William "Boss" Tweed, was at the height of its power in 1868. Their political machine had expanded its dominance to the Upper East and West Side of Manhattan. Although their great work in the building of social services and cultural institutions was evident to all, the extent of their corruption was equally visible. Vanderbilt would have been aware of their machinations when declining their invitation.

    Condition: Usual mail folds, with a paper clip stain at top margin. A small amount of paper loss at lower right corner.

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    Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) was an American businessman and philanthropist. He was originally a poor boy. He became captain of a steamboat in 1817. He built many steamboats and steamships and in 1851 established a line from New York to California by way of Nicaragua. In 1862, he established a steam ship line between New York and Havre. He presented a steamer to the Federal Government in 1862 and called it the Vanderbilt, which cost $800,000. In 1854 he became president of the New York Central Railroad and in 1868 he consolidated with the Hudson River Road.

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    19th Thursday
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