The world's stingiest woman was a multi millionaire who lived in New York City and worked on Wall Street.

Hetty Green was known as the richest woman in America during the Gilded Age. But she didn't spend her money. In fact, she was so frugal the Guinness Book of World Records once named her the "greatest miser."

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Witch of Wall Street

Green was born in 1834 in New Bedford, Massachusetts to a wealthy family who made their millions in the shipping business. She moved to New York in her early 20s and started working on Wall Street as one of the only women in man's world where she was often called the "Witch of Wall Street."

Green was said to be so cheap that she never used hot water and refused to buy expensive clothes. It was rumored that she wore a black dress she refused change until it was completely worn out.

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There were also stories about her son's leg being amputate after he broke it because Green delayed treatment, and refused to pay for any medical care. However, substantial evidence proves Green took her son to see multiple specialists and temporarily relocated so she could care for him.

Hetty Green
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Secret Philanthropist

Despite the rumors and media stories, Green was a secret philanthropist who believed in discreet charity.

On July 3, 1916, Green died at the age of 81 at her son's New York City home. She left her fortune which would be worth 5 billion today, to her two children. When they passed, nearly $200 million was donated to 64 colleges, churches, hospitals, and other charities.

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After reading several stories on Hetty Green, it seems to me she marched to the beat of her own drum rather than conforming to society norms and carved her path in a man's world.

History has shown trailblazers often have the most rumors spread about them and usually none of them are true.

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Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

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