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There are many angles from which the career of Gertrude V. Whitney may be viewed, all offering interesting points of discussion and each tempting the reviewer far afield from the ordered sequence of facts comprising an encyclopedic record. The narrative which follows is that of a woman who has won many of the heights of reputation as a sculptor and who is at the same time one of the wise and generous patrons of all forms of art, particularly as they relate to America and Americans.

Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, daughter of Cornelius and Alice Claypoole (Gwynne) Vanderbilt, was born in New York City, New York. The Vanderbilt family traces its descent from Jan Aertsen Van der Bilt who came from Friesland, the Netherlands, and settled at Flatbush, Long Island, in 1650. His son moved in 1715 to New Dorp.