James Gordon Bennett Jr. was publisher of the New York Herald, founded by his father, James Gordon Bennett Sr. who emigrated from Scotland. He was generally known as Gordon Bennett to distinguish him from his father, among his many sports-related accomplishments he organized both the first polo match and the first tennis match in the United States, and he personally won the first trans-oceanic yacht race. He sponsored explorers including Henry Morton Stanleys trip to Africa to find David Livingstone, Bennett was born on May 10,1841 in New York City to James Gordon Bennett Sr. the founder, editor and publisher of the New York Herald. He was educated primarily in France, in 1866, the elder Bennett turned control of the Herald over to him. Bennett, like many of his class, indulged in the good life, yachts, opulent private railroad cars. He was the youngest Commodore ever of the New York Yacht Club, in 1861, Bennett volunteered his newly built schooner yacht, Henrietta, for the U. S. Revenue Marine Service during the Civil War, at the same time, Bennett was commissioned as a third lieutenant in the Revenue Marine Service and assigned to the U. S. Marine Revenue schooner Henrietta beginning in June 1861. She patrolled Long Island until February 1862 when she was sent to Port Royal, on March 3,1862, Bennett commanded the Henrietta as part of the fleet which captured Fernandina, Florida. Bennett and the Henrietta returned to life in New York in May 1862. In 1866, on a bet, he won the first trans-oceanic yacht race, the race was between three American yachts, the Vesta, the Fleetwing and the Henrietta. Each yachtsman put up $30,000 in the winner-take-all wager and they started off of Sandy Hook, New Jersey, on 11 December 1866 amid high westerly winds and raced to The Needles, the furthest westerly point on the Isle of Wight, famous for its lighthouse. Bennetts Henrietta won with a time of 13 days,21 hours,55 minutes and he entertained guests aboard his steam-yacht Namouna. American expatriate artist Julius LeBlanc Stewart painted several works set on the yacht, however, he often scandalized society with his flamboyant and sometimes erratic behavior. In 1877, he left New York for Europe after an incident that ended his engagement to socialite Caroline May, according to various accounts, he arrived late and drunk to a party at the May family mansion, then urinated into a fireplace in full view of his hosts. Bennetts controversial reputation has been thought to have inspired, in the United Kingdom, settling in Paris, he launched the Paris edition of the New York Herald, named The Paris Herald, the forerunner of the International Herald Tribune. He backed George W. De Longs voyage to the North Pole on the USS Jeannette via the Bering Strait, the ill-fated expedition led to the deaths from starvation of DeLong and 19 of his crew, a tragedy that only increased the papers circulation. He was a co-founder of the Commercial Cable Company, a venture to break the Transatlantic cable monopoly held by Jay Gould. Bennett returned to the United States and organized the first polo match in the United States at Dickels Riding Academy at 39th Street and he would help found the Westchester Polo Club in 1876, the first polo club in America
Image: Portrait of James Gordon Bennett, Jr
James Gordon Bennett Jr.
Image: Julius Le Blanc Stewart On the Yacht„Namouna“, Venice