Cornelius Vanderbilt (27 May 1794 – 4 January 1877) was an American business magnate and philanthropist who built his wealth in railroads and shipping. Born poor and with but a mediocre education, his luck, perseverance and intelligence led into leadership positions in the inland water trade, and the rapidly growing railroad industry. He is best known for building the New York Central Railroad. As one of the richest Americans in history, he was the patriarch of the Vanderbilt family and provided the initial gift to found Vanderbilt University.
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- Let them do what I have done.
- Often attributed, but without a contemporary source, as a remark on being asked to contribute to charity for the poor. See for example Commodore (2009) by Edward J. Renehan