Alva Vanderbilt - 1909

This image of Alva Belmont (formerly Alva Vanderbilt) was published in the Indianapolis News on June 1, 1909. Her link to auto racing is that she was the mother of William K. Vanderbilt, Jr., the founder of the Vanderbilt Cup. She was also the mother of Consuelo Vanderbilt, the Duchess of Marlborough. Her influence on her son is not nearly as well documented as the manipulation of her daughter. She forced her into a loveless marriage in order to advance the family's stature in Society with a member in English royalty. For this reason it seems disingenuous that she would proclaim herself a leading advocate for women's rights later in life, especially the movement to give women the right to vote.
The caption that originally ran with the photo is as follows:
"Mrs. O.H.P. Belmont - From a rare snapshot of the society leader who objects to being photographed. New York, June 1. - Mrs. Oliver H.P. Belmont has becom a woman suffragist, according to news brought from England by the Rev. Anna H. Shaw, president of the Woman's Suffrage Alliance. 'I dined in company with Mrs. Belmont and Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt at the town residence of Mrs. Belmont's daughter, the Duchess of Marlborough.' said Mrs. Shaw, 'and it was then and there that Mrs. Belmont came out for woman's suffrage and announced that hereafter she would take an active part in the movement. I think she has become more deeply interested in the movement of late through her daughter's settlement work. Mrs. Belmont expects to return home on the next trip of the Mauretania."

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