Marylou traveled from the North Pole all the way to the South Pole and visited every place in between. Below are just a few of her adventures.


Marylou was a great adventurer. She led an expedition with Norman Vaughan to the South Pole in 1995. At that time, Colonel Vaughan was the only man alive who was on Admiral Byrd’s first expedition to the South Pole. His wish was to return there on his 90th Birthday. They spent three and one-half weeks in the Antarctic pitching their small tents each night under grueling conditions before reaching the South Pole. The United States Military at the South Pole Base treated them royally and gave them the American flag that was flying over the South Pole for their planned excursion to the North Pole several months later. They flew that flag over the North Pole with frostbitten fingers, as polar bears headed toward them. 

It made history as the first time the same United States Flag was flown over both Poles, and the first time a female had ever accomplished both expeditions, within four months. Marylou has always said that she will never regret having completed the adventure, although her fingers were numb and black upon her return home.


Marylou has always been an active spectator of polo and presented the Whitney Cup to Prince Charles and Geoffrey Kent’s Polo Team at Cirencester on June 24, 1990. She continued to present the Whitney Cup at Whitney Field in Saratoga Springs, NY every year.


Marylou was the largest private landowner in the state of New York, as the owner of Whitney Park. After the death of C.V. Whitney, Marylou inherited Whitney Industries, a gravel and lumber business with 51,000 acres of Adirondack real estate. More recently, Marylou and John sold 14,700 acres to New York State, which is now called the William C. Whitney Wilderness Area. 


Marylou supported various organizations in NYC including:

  • Whitney Museum
  • USO of NYC
  • Metropolitan Opera
  • NYC Ballet
  • Museum of Natural History


Long Lake Library: In 2007, Marylou and John donated $250,000 to the library. The library was renamed the Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Long Lake Library in honor of C.V. Whitney.

The Marylou Whitney Medical Complex in Long Lake was dedicated in honor of Marylou for devotion to the hospital.



  • The largest contributor to the restoration of St. Augustine
  • Whitney Marine Lab in St. Augustine (Wing named after Marylou and John)
  • Red Cross in Palm Beach
  • Flagler Museum


Marylou also had an interest in dog sled racing. She has flown from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska monitoring her dogs and her sponsored musher, Martin Buser, who has won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race numerous times. She was known to rough it with other spectators and enjoyed the dogs and the people.


In addition to the various projects and organizations Marylou was involved in, she managed to find time during her career to excel in radio and television, movies, writing, and painting. Below are a few of her highlighted items:

Authored Books for Charity:

  • One Cook’s Tour (1962)
  • Missouri Traveler Cookbook (1959)
  • The Potato Chip Cookbook (1977)
  • The Glorious Goober Cook Book (Peanut Butter) (1977)
  • Cornelia Vanderbilt Whitney’s Dollhouse: The Story of a Dollhouse and the People Who Lived in it (1975)


  • Missouri Traveler (1959)


  • “On the Town” show host  (1956-1959)
  • Majored in Dramatic Arts at the University of Iowa
  • Center Theater in Kansas City, touring army camps and naval stations doing plays (1943-1946)


  • KCKN “Private Smiles” show host (1943-1946)
  • Ghostwriter for a station in NYC
Paintings in Museums:
  • Syracuse Museum, Syracuse, NY
  • Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Wally Findlay Galleries in NY and Palm Beach- Four sell-out shows
  • Whitney Gallery of Western Art, Cody, Wyoming
  • Exhibition of forty paintings for three months, summer, 1969


C.V. Whitney’s mother purchased land in Cody, Wyoming, and built the Buffalo Bill statue. C.V. Whitney later built the first museum and Marylou has been supporting the museum since his death. Previously, she gave a $1 million donation to expand the museum.