Margaret Mary Emerson (1886-1960)

Mrs "Maggie" (Emerson) McKim, Vanderbilt

Associated Houses

Ventfort Hall

Lenox

The Vanderbilt Hotel

4 Park Avenue, Manhattan

Pinchot House

1021 Park Avenue, Manhattan

She was born in Baltimore, the elder daughter of the drugstore owner who made his fortune when he invented the headache cure, Bromo-Seltzer, in 1880. In 1902, she married her first husband, Dr Smith Hollins McKim, and they became a well-known couple in New York society. However, just eight years later society was shocked when she sued for divorce claiming that he beat her in drunken rages.  The following year, she remarried the dashing and extremely wealthy Freddy Vanderbilt, who up until then had a reputation as womanizer. Just three years later, he drowned after the Lusitania was torpedoed in 1915. She leased out her apartments in the Vanderbilt Hotel and moved into Ventfort Hall in the Berkshires, briefly maintaining the Pinchot House on Park Avenue. She was married twice more, but both ended in divorce and in 1931 she legally resumed her maiden name. She was survived by two sons through her marriage to Freddy Vanderbilt.

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Contributed by Mark Meredith on 30/12/2019 and last updated on 19/05/2020.