Henrietta Howland “Hetty” Green

  • New Bedford, MA

Henrietta Howland “Hetty” Green nicknamed the “Witch of Wall Street”, was an American businesswoman and financier known as “the richest woman in America” during the Gilded Age. She was born Henrietta Howland Robinson on November 21, 1834 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the daughter of Edward Mott Robinson and Abby Robinson which was the richest whaling family in the city of New Bedford. Her family were Quakers who profited from the China trade and also owned a whaling ship fleet. She was known for being alone woman and owning a massive fortune when other major financiers were men. She put together an investment strategy with her family’s inheritance. While spending time in London she focused most of her investment efforts on notes printed by the U.S. government immediately after the Civil War which was a time where investors were timid towards of notes put forth by the recovering government. Hetty Green bought at full bore, making $1.25 million from her investments in one year alone. Her earnings on that front were to fund her great subsequent rail-bond purchases. Hetty Green died at age 81 on July 3, 1916 in her son’s home in New York City. Her net worth ranged from $100 million to $200 million (equivalent to $2.25 billion to $4.5 billion in 2018), making her arguably the richest woman in the world at the time.