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 Gilded Age Personalities

Alva Vanderbilt - Newport

Alva Vanderbilt was born in Mobile, Alabama in 1853 and married William K Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt hired architect Richard Morris Hunt to design and build the Marble House Mansion on Bellevue Avenue as a birthday gift for Alva. She would become one of America’s leading socialites during the Gilded Age. Alva also became a leader in the fight for women's suffrage and become one of the most prominent figures of the women's movement of the early 19th century. She founded the Political Equality League in 1909 and she held the International Woman's Suffrage Convention at Marble House in 1914. In 1921, she became president of the National Women's Party.

Samuel Pomeroy Colt - Bristol

Samuel Pomeroy Colt was born in Patterson, New Jersey on January 10, 1852. He was a descendant of the DeWolf family of Colonial Bristol and the nephew of Samuel Colt, inventor of the Colt revolver. In the latter part of the 19th century, Colt would found U.S. Rubber, the forerunner of the present UNIROYAL Corporation. He also was a significant philanthropist His philanthropic interests were nearly as varied as his business interests. In 1908 Colt paid for the construction of a public high school in the town of Bristol as a memorial to his mother. His waterfront farm at Poppasquash Point in Bristol was open to the public during his lifetime and after his death this farm was left to the state of Rhode Island and represents the bulk of the area known today as Colt State Park.