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Green, Hetty (21 November 1834–03 July 1916), private banker, money lender, and eccentric, also known as the Witch of Wall Street, was born Harriet Howland Robinson in New Bedford, Massachusetts, the daughter of Edward Mott Robinson, the owner of a prosperous whaling company, and Abby Slocum Howland, a member of one of the oldest and wealthiest families in New England. After the birth of her brother, who lived only a short time, Hetty’s parents sent her to live in her grandfather Gideon Howland’s household, where she was raised by her Aunt Sylvia. There she received her early education, reading the financial pages to her grandfather, whose sight was failing, and gaining a nascent understanding of financial markets. At age ten she attended a Quaker boarding school for three years, returning to New Bedford in 1847 after her grandfather’s death....

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Greene, Catharine Littlefield (17 February 1755–02 September 1814), wife of revolutionary war hero Nathanael Greene and principal financier of Eli Whitney's cotton gin, wife of revolutionary war hero Nathanael Greene and principal financier of Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, was born on Block Island, Rhode Island, the daughter of John Littlefield, a landowner and deputy to the General Assembly of Rhode Island, and Phebe Ray. Her early years among the nonconformists on Block Island, who shunned the rigid religious dogmas of the mainland, left an indelible mark on her personality; she remained forever an unconventional individualist....

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Edna Hopper Seated in her berth on a train. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-95412).

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Hopper, Edna Wallace (17 January 1864?–14 December 1959), actress, entrepreneur, and financier, was born and raised in San Francisco, California, the daughter of Walter Wallace. (Her mother’s identity is unknown.) Little is verifiable about her early years, except that she was educated at the Van Ness Seminary, as public records were destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. She began her stage career on a whim when, at a reception, she met and charmed comedian Roland Reed into issuing her an invitation to join his company. In August 1891 she made her debut as Mabel Douglas in the musical comedy ...

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Herman Kohlmeyer Jr., Herman Kohlmeyer Jr. and Herman Kohlmeyer Jr.

Newman, Isidore (28 February 1837–30 November 1909), financier and philanthropist, was born Isidore Neumond in Kaiserslautern, Rhenish Bavaria (now the German state of Rheinland Pfalz), the son of Jacob Neumond, a merchant, and Clara Kahn. His family had been merchants in the area of Kaiserslautern for generations. In 1808, when the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte required all of the Jews in his Empire to take permanent family names, Isidore’s family adopted the name Neumond, which means “new moon.” Isidore Newman arrived in New Orleans on 18 November 1853 in steerage on a sailing ship, a penniless Jew sixteen years old. He was met by his uncle, Charles Newman, who had arrived in New Orleans in 1828 and set himself up, along with his sons Edward, Jacob, Louis, and Morris, in the money-changing business, probably changing money for sailors who had just docked in the port of New Orleans. Young Isidore had blond hair, blue eyes, a heavy German accent, a love of music, and a wardrobe consisting of one suit hand-sewn by his mother....