Hetty Green

Richest Woman in the World

Background

  • Full name was Henrietta Howland Robinson Green

  • Born in Massachusetts in 1834

  • Spent her youth learning about financing and business through her father and her grandfather

  • After the death of her father and aunt, her relatives tried to keep Hetty Green from inheriting their fortunes.

  • Was able to secure one million dollars of her father’s fortune in 1865 and a portion of her aunt’s in the 1870s

  • In 1867, she married Edward H. Green, and by mutual consent, they kept their finances separate, allowing Hetty to maintain complete control of her fortune.

  • Died in 1916 in New York City and her vast fortune was willed to her two children


Full detail of achievements

  • Green primarily invested in railroads and real estate in places like New York, Chicago, and St. Louis.

  • Her strategy was always to buy stock cheap and act with shrewdness, persistent, and thrift.

  • Green was frugal with her money and when panics hit, Green was able to loan money and pick up investment bargains.

  • Over the fifty-one years she spent investing, it is estimated that she increased her fortune to over one hundred million dollars.

  • By the time of her death, she owned about 6,000 pieces of real estate across forty-eight states, including railroads, theaters, cemeteries, hotels, office buildings, and the mortgages to nearly six hundred churches.

  • Green earned the title of richest woman in the world.


Lasting Legacy

  • Green was dubbed "The Witch of Wall Street" because of her extreme frugality, caution, and shrewdness, coupled with her typical attire of long black dresses.

  • Green earned the title of richest woman in the world.


Explanation of Significance

  • Despite all of the obstacles and stereotypes she faced, Green was a peer with the best male financiers of the time and helped open the way for women in finance for decades after.

  • Green proved that the stereotypes about women’s math abilities were incorrect when she greatly increased her fortune through careful investing.


Work Cited

"Henrietta "Hetty" Howland Robinson Green (1834-1916)." National Women's History Museum. National Women's History Museum, n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2013. <http://www.nwhm.org/education-resources/biography/biographies/henrietta-howland-robinson-green/>.