Cornelius Vanderbilt

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Cornelius Vanderbilt (27 May 17944 January 1877) was an American businessman who made a large fortune in the shipping and railroad businesses.


  • 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


  • Gentlemen,
    You have undertaken to cheat me. I won't sue you, for law is too slow. I'll ruin you.
    Yours truly,
    Cornelius Vanderbilt
    • Said to be the entirety of a letter to Charles Morgan and C. K. Garrison, quoted in an obituary, "Commodore Vanderbilt's Life" (5 January 1877) New York Times. Stiles, in The First Tycoon (2009) doubts this. He notes that there is no earlier source, that Vanderbilt was no stranger to the courts, and that he never otherwise closed letters with "yours truly."


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