Spy Maritime: The Genius of a Yachtman with Roger Vaughan


It is hard to come up with a more proficient writer on the subject of yachting and competitive sailing that Oxford’s Roger Vaughan. In his sixty years of chronicling the sport, he has founded TheYacht Magazine, completed two books on the America’s Cup, as well as numerous profiles of such sailing icons as Ted Turner, Walter Cronkite, Harry Anderson and head coach of the Australian Olympic Sailing Team. His resume also includes articles written for s Life; Look; Esquire; Sports Illustrated; The New York Times Nautical Quarterly; National Geographic; Sailing/Cruising World; Sail; Oyster News; Vis-a-Vis, Sailing, and many others.

So there was little surprise when the Spy learned the other day that he had just completed another profile form the world of sailing. But, for the first time in Vaughan’s career, his subject, Arthur Curtiss James, had been long gone and buried for almost eighty years before he began this project.

Not only that but the legendary yachtsman, perhaps the one of the richest men in America during his lifetime, had also been one of the most private and discrete railroad barons of the gilded age. James, whose railroad empire covered more than a quarter of the country, left very little of a paper trail for any biographer to understand this brilliant polymath or how he had accomplished so much.

That was one of the reasons the Spy sought out Roger to talk about why Arthur Curtiss James: Unsung Titan of the Gilded Age, has been his most challenging effort yet in his long, distinguished career. We met at the Bullitt House a few weeks ago to understand more.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. Arthur Curtiss James: Unsung Titan of the Gilded Age is available here





About Dave Wheelan

Letters to Editor

  1. Bishop Joel Marcus Johnson says

    My friend Roger Vaughan never ceases to amaze. In my symphony executive years, before the priesthood, I had bought his authorized biography of the great conductor Herbert von Karajan. Once in Delmarva, recalling from the dust jacket he was an Oxford man, I called for lunch, to be regaled with those glimpses which do not quite make it into print. Years later, he offered the biography of physician-biologist Hilary Koprowski (whose family I have happily served), forerunner of the polio vaccine, vastly important to myself – and sometime composer of songs and chamber music, myself his only defender on Amazon. Not to ignore my point that Roger is among America’s best biographers and publishers. I am proud for his friendship.

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