Do you know who Hetty Green is? Maybe you know her as the “Witch of Wall Street.” Vilified because she breached the boundaries of proper womanhood and became one of the most successful financiers of her time.
Henrietta Howland Robinson was born and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Her mother, Abby Slocum Howland, was one of the two heiresses to the Howland fortune which was built in the whaling industry.
Hetty became the sole heir to the Howland family. Hetty received a proper education in a Quaker school in Sandwich MA, but it was the business education that she received at home that most interested her.
Encouraged by her father and grandfather, she learned to manage her own finances. At the young age of 27, Hetty’s father and aunt died, and she inherited nearly $6 million. Her business strategy was to buy low and to sell high, and she always held sums of cash for buying and lending when the markets fell.
By 1905, she was one of “the world’s richest two dozen,” ultimately leaving an estate worth $100 million for her children. Her critics called her strange, evil, and labelled her the “Witch.” When women of her class worked hard to dress fashionably and behave, Hetty was a fearless and relentless figure for change.