Hetty Green: The Witch Of Wall Street

By | August 9, 2019

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Hetty Green. Source: (thedabbler.co.uk)

Nicknamed the “Witch of Wall Street,” Hetty Green was a real-life female Ebenezer Scrooge. She was a financier during the 19th and early 20th centuries and was the richest woman in her time, with a fortune on par with that of JP Morgan and John D. Rockefeller.

She was born Henrietta Howland Robinson on November 21, 1834, in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Her family were Quakers in the mercantile business. By the time Green was born, the family had already amassed a fortune through whaling and shipping. Her grandfather, Gideon Howland, encouraged her interest in the family business, often discussing finances with her and encouraging her to read financial papers. By age thirteen, she had already begun doing the books for the family business.

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19th Century Dresses. Source: (wamc.org)

When she turned twenty, her father bought her an expensive new wardrobe of the most fashionable dresses of the time with the intention of finding her a husband. But Green was not interested in courtship and instead sold the wardrobe and invested the proceeds in government bonds. Both her maternal aunt and her father died in 1865. Her father left her an inheritance of $6 million, but that wasn't enough for Green. She went after her aunt’s estate as well, suing her own family using an alleged deathbed will that was later determined to be a forgery.