Tea with the Vanderbilts

tea biltmore 3

I do not mean to suggest that I was close to the Vanderbilts in the early 1900s, or that I have sipped tea on a porch at the Biltmore. But I am fairly certain the man seated on our right is George W. Vanderbilt II who built and owned the estate. The dog at his knee is most likely Cedric, his first St. Bernard.

Center chair, seated, may be George’s sister, Eliza Vanderbilt Webb, with her daughter, Frederica Vanderbilt Webb, standing behind her. The woman standing on the left is most likely Alice Claypoole Gwynne Vanderbilt, wife of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, and George’s sister-in-law. The woman seated in front of Alice, with the Irish wolfhound, is probably George’s wife Edith Dresser Vanderbilt.

The seated woman looking grumpy might be Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt Shepard, George’s sister, but I’m not putting any money on it. And the man with the moustache standing behind George, I have no idea. But I admire them all for taking tea with their dogs.


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