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The Insider's Connection

Greenwich Academy

Elizabeth Milbank Anderson’s Infrastructural Changes in NYC

Whose influence shapes a city’s infrastructure? How have solutions emerged from tragedies throughout history? How did one wealthy woman touch the lives of thousands of poor children? Why does she receive so little credit? Is her story important to tell? In 1884, 34-year-old Elizabeth Milbank Anderson inherited a massive fortune. Her dad–Jeremiah Milbank–co-founded the Borden Condensed Milk Company and built his wealth further as a railroad investor. Elizabeth was well-educated, born and raised in New York City, and married to a successful portrait artist. Elizabeth lost her only son to diphtheria in 1886 and subsequently dedicated her life–and fortune–to ensure no one else would have to suffer this tragedy. But parents were losing their children every day in New York City. In the 1890s, the tuberculosis epidemic was rising. Children were dying of whooping cough, dysentery, measles, and diphtheria. Even…

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February 17, 2020

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