Never a pleasure-seeking socialite, George Vanderbilt’s wife Edith found many ways to involve herself in the life of her community. She routinely visited cabins in the most isolated areas of the Biltmore Estate to bring food, medical supplies and money when there was illness or a death in the family. Her assistance was invaluable in helping the community recover from the Flood of 1916. Her sponsorship helped sustain the craft school of Charlotte Yale and Eleanor Vance, founded to preserve and to teach the traditional crafts of the region. The school grew into Biltmore Industries, a source of income for many local wood carvers and weavers. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Vanderbilt managed the estate until her daughter Cornelia’s marriage. Her promotion of innovative methods of farming and land management led to her election as President of the NC State Fair Association. She encouraged adult literacy programs. In this photo Mrs. Vanderbilt welcomes several hundred members of the Community Night School to the Biltmore Estate in 1923.
Monday, March 30, 2015 / Published in