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First Name: Dorothy

Last Name: Vanderbilt

Birthplace: Saugerties, NY, USA

Gender: Female

Branch: Navy (present)

Rating: Yeoman Chief Petty Officer

Maiden Name: Frooks

Date of Birth: 12 February 1896

Date of Death: 13 April 1997

Rank or Rate: Chief Petty Officer

Years Served:
Dorothy Frooks

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Dorothy Frooks
Chief Yeoman, U.S. Navy (WWI) and Judge Advocate, U.S. Army (WWII)

Dorothy Frooks was born on 12 February 1896 on a 400-acre Hudson Valley farm near Saugerties, NY, and grew up there and at the family's winter residence at the Waldorf Hotel. She was the daughter of a prosperous businessman and an international society figure.

As the seventh of nine highly articulate children, five of whom became lawyers, Frooks recalled that she was holding her own in animated dinner table conversations on international affairs by the time she was 8 -- two years after she had decided on a legal career.

In World War I she served as a Chief Yeoman in the U.S. Navy and in World War II, served as a Judge Advocate in the U.S. Army. Frooks also served as the National Commander of the Women World War Veterans.

In 1934, she ran on the Law Preservation ticket for U.S. Representative-at-Large.

She worked as a writer for the New York Evening World and published the Murray Hill News in 1952. She also wrote a pamphlet, entitled Labor Courts Outlaw Strikes, calling for the establishment of a labor court.

As an author, Frooks wrote many fiction and nonfiction books, including The Olympic Torch, The American Heart and Lady Lawyer, her autobiography.

Frooks appeared as one of 'The Witnesses' in Warren Beatty's 1981 film Reds along with fellow centenarian radicals Scott Nearing and George Seldes. Frooks, Nearing and Seldes were all first-hand witnesses of the red-baiting, McCarthyism, and Cold War hysteria of the 1950s.

One paragraph in her obituary sums up her life this way:

She taught school in Puerto Rico, ran a flying school, turned out columns for The New York Evening World, wrote half a dozen books, founded The Murray Hills News, represented celebrated murder defendants, ran repeatedly for Congress, corresponded with George Bernard Shaw, feuded with Eleanor Roosevelt, hobnobbed with the King of Greece, turned down marriage proposals from Harry K. Thaw and Fiorello H. La Guardia, and so clouded the issue of her age that even her own family is not sure if she was 99 or 103 when she died.

Death and Burial

Dorothy Frooks died on 13 April 1997 in New York, NY, at the age of 101. She is buried at Calverton National Cemetery in Calverton, NY.

Honoree ID: 2521   Created by: MHOH




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