Skip to main content Skip to main navigation

Edith Shepard Fabbri papers

Call Number

MS 205


1842-1898 (bulk, 1886-1898), inclusive


Fabbri, Edith Shepard


0.43 Linear feet (1 box)

Language of Materials

The documents in this collection are in English.


Correspondence, photographs, notes, clippings, ephemera, and other materials of Edith Shepard Fabbri, as well as her family, friends, and associates. Fabbri was the great-granddaughter of "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the granddaughter of William H. Vanderbilt. These materials pertain to her early adult life, in particular, the early years of her marriage through the birth of her first child. Also included are materials relating to the House of the Redeemer, a religious retreat founded by Edith Shepard Fabbri and located in her former New York City home.


1833 Elliott Fitch Shepard, Edith's father, born. Elliott served in the Civil War as aide-de-camp to Governor Morgan. After the war, he became a prominent attorney in New York and founder of the New York State Bar Association. In his later years, he entered the newspaper business and was publisher of the New York Mail and Express.
1868 Elliott Fitch Shepard married Margaret Louise Vanderbilt, daughter of William H. and Maria Louisa Kissim Vanderbilt.
1872 Edith Shepard is born.
1873 [Florence] Adele Sloan, Edith's cousin, born to Emily Vanderbilt and William D. Sloan.
1896 Edith Shepard meets Ernesto G. Fabbri while visiting Florence, Italy with her mother. Although he lived much of his early life in Italy, Ernesto's mother was American and his uncle was a partner of J. P. Morgan. Edith and Ernesto are married in October.
1897 Teresa Fabbri is born to Edith and Ernesto.
1914-1915 Townhouse at 7 East 95th Street is constructed.
1923 Edith and Ernesto are divorced.
1949 Edith deeded 7 East 95th Street to Episcopal Church for the purpose of creating the House of the Redeemer.
1954 Edith dies.


The folders are organized by material type.

Scope and Contents

The papers of Edith Shepard Fabbri are comprised of correspondence, photographs, notes, clippings, ephemera, and other materials of Edith Shepard Fabbri, her family, friends, and associates. Most of the materials date from the late 1880s and 1890s. Edith, great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, was heiress to a vast fortune and a frequent subject of newspaper society pages. The papers provide insight into both the private life of a member of one of America's most prominent families, as well as the depiction of the family in the popular press.

The correspondence (Folder 1) includes letters to Edith from family members, including her cousin Adele and sister-in-law Cora Fabbri, as well as other friends and associates. The letters to Edith from Adele are of particular interest, as they were written during the around-the-world trip Adele took with her husband immediately after their marriage in 1896. The letters include not only family gossip, but also descriptions of Adele's travels in Japan, Burma, and India. A letter written by Edith's father in 1842 describes a presentation given by the Broadway Tabernacle, featuring a speech by a Nestorian priest from Syria and a temperance play. Also of interest is a letter from Miss Clara B. Spence, founder of the Spence School. The correspondence also includes unsolicited letters from strangers seeking financial aid from the Vanderbilt and Shepard families. One features a poem on the subject of Edith and Ernesto's marriage, in return for which the port requests one thousand dollars. Another letter contains an offer to purchase a mounted and stuffed four-legged chicken for the sum of three thousand dollars.

Folder 2 contains a number of wedding invitations and announcements for various Shepard, Vanderbilt, and Fabbri weddings in New York, Boston, and Italy. Many invitations are in the original envelopes with the separate invitations to breakfasts and luncheons, as well as cards to be presented at the churches, included as well.

Folder 3 contains two photographs of Mrs. William H. Vanderbilt's home at 640 Fifth Avenue. Also included are three unlabelled photographs of children, one of an older woman surrounded by a large group of men, and one of a ship named "Sethi."

Folders 4 and 5 contain a number of items, including notes, cards, programs, and ephemera. Of particular interest are a sermon written by Edith and Adele in 1886; Edith's First Aid certificate; a program of Dedicatory Services of Scarsborough Presbyterian Church (built in memory of Elliot Fitch Shepard); a small card with a dinner menu and signatures of Shepard, Vanderbilt, Fabbri family members dated 1896; a phrenological profile of Edith by the firm of Fowler & Wells; cards for lectures to be given by Miss Spence; a card for jeweler in "Jeypore" India. There are also two itineraries of a four-month train trip to California taken by the Shepard family in 1887.

Folder 6 contains a number of newspaper clippings from several different newspapers in New York, Boston, and Chicago, dating from the late 1890s. The clippings deal primarily with the weddings of Gertrude Vanderbilt (Edith's cousin) and Harry Payne Whitney, Edith's brother, Elliott Fitch Shepard, Jr., and Mrs. Esther Wiggins Potter (which caused a scandal), Adele and James Abercrombie Burdens, Jr., and Edith and Ernesto. The clippings also include coverage of the death of Mrs. William H. [Maria Louisa Kissim] Vanderbilt (Edith's grandmother and matriarch of the Vanderbilt family), a political cartoon, and an illustration by Cora Fabri [sic] published in the Mail and Express.

Finally, Folder 7 includes to items relating to the House of the Redeemer. Edith donated her home at 7 East 95th Street to the Episcopal Church for the purpose of creating a spiritual retreat in New York City. There is an unaddressed Christmas card from House of the Redeemer, and a brochure about the House, which includes photographs of the interior and exterior, information about Edith and her donation, and a description of the mission of the House.

Access Restrictions

Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit

Use Restrictions

Taking images of documents from the library collections for reference purposes by using hand-held cameras and in accordance with the library's photography guidelines is encouraged. As an alternative, patrons may request up to 20 images per day from staff.

Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit:

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as The Edith Shepard Fabbri Papers, MS 205, The New-York Historical Society.

Location of Materials

Materials in this collection may be stored offsite. For more information on making arrangements to consult them, please visit

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donation, 2002.

Collection processed by

Processed by Gabrielle Sanchez

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 15:48:18 -0400.
Language: Description is in English.

Edition of this Guide

This version was derived from fabbri.xml


New-York Historical Society
New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024