Monday, May 2, 2011

Hetty Green: The Witch of Wall Street

Although many of the anecdotes about Hetty Green's stinginess have been exaggerated or altered, the Guiness Book of World Records does list her as "the World's Greatest Miser."

By most accounts, she spent as little as possible on food, clothing, health care and other expenditures. On the other hand, she parlayed an inheritance into an astounding fortune by investing with gusto. Her main investment vehicles were bonds, real estate, railroads and lending. Incredibly, she kept New York City afloat on more than one occasion, most notably by lending the city $1.1 million in 1907.

Hetty Green spent most of her time in the offices of a Wall Street bank,  too frugal to pay for her own office. Her rather dreary fashion sense (always in black, sometimes with a black veil) and her acerbic demeanor led her contemporaries to give her the nickname "The Witch of Wall Street."

Walk in the footsteps of one of the wealthiest and most eccentric women to set foot on Wall Street! A perfect gift for your mother on Mother's Day, the schedule of Wall Street Walks' "Women of Wall Street" guided walking tours can be found here. Victoria Hoodhull, Hetty Green and Muriel Siebert are just a few of the many powerful women that are covered in depth on this walking tour.

There are tours starting at 1pm on both May 7th and 8th. Tickets can be purchased here.