Cornelius Vanderbilt (left) and Lobo the Gorilla.
The Sepia Saturday theme for this week is facial hair. I’ve always been fascinated by the 19th century extravagant sideburns (named after American Civil War general Ambrose Burnside). I think it’s a pity they went out of style. Luckily gorillas still think they are fashionable. Even the females appreciate them! Shown here is Lobo, a female gorilla residing in the Apenheul Primate Park.
A prime example of sideburn lovers are the Vanderbilt family. During the Gilded Age they were one the richest families on Earth. Their fortune was founded by Cornelius, who at the age of 16 started a ferry service between Staten Island and Manhattan.
William H. Vanderbilt (Harper's weekly, December 1885).
His son William Henry Vanderbilt, frequently called a blatherskite by his father, managed to double the fortune, making him the richest man in the world (peak wealth: $231.6 billion).
next episode: William Munro