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Georgia Neese Clark. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Clark, Georgia Neese (27 January 1898–26 October 1995), U.S. treasurer, was born Georgia Neese in Richland, Kansas, the daughter of Albert Neese, a farmer and businessman, and Ellen O'Sullivan Neese. Her father, a self-made man, had prospered in the years before her birth and become the town's leading citizen, owning much of its property as well as the bank and general store. Although a Presbyterian, Georgia Neese briefly attended a small Catholic college in nearby Topeka after graduating from high school in 1917, then transferred to Washburn University in that city. She majored in economics at Washburn and was also active on campus, serving as president of several student organizations, including the drama club. Determined to become an actress, she moved to New York City following graduation in 1921 and enrolled at Sargent's Dramatic School....

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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....

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Paul, Josephine Bay (10 August 1900–06 August 1962), businesswoman and philanthropist, was born Josephine Holt Perfect in Anamosa, Iowa, the daughter of Otis Lincoln Perfect, a realtor, and Tirzah Holt. In 1906 the family moved to Brooklyn, New York, where Josephine Perfect grew up. In 1916 Josephine graduated from Brooklyn Heights Seminary and enrolled at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, where she studied for a year. She then spent the next ten years as a secretary and as the director of the Brooklyn Junior League’s bookstore, helping the store to recover from near bankruptcy. In 1928 Josephine and her sister Tirzah established a greeting card business in Brooklyn. With Tirzah as designer and Josephine as sales manager, the sisters managed to sustain a thriving business with distribution stretching from the East Coast to the Midwest. In 1933, following Tirzah’s marriage, the sisters dissolved the business....

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Riis, Mary Phillips (29 April 1877–04 August 1967), financier and social welfare reformer, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Richard F. Phillips, a cotton broker and later president of the Cotton Exchange in St. Louis, and Lina Rensch. She was educated in England and France but held no college degree. She moved to New York and was acting in small parts on Broadway when, at the age of twenty-six, she met the social reformer ...

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Roebling, Mary G. (29 July 1905–25 Oct. 1994), banker and the first woman governor of the American Stock Exchange, was born Mary Gindhart in West Collingswood, New Jersey, the eldest of four children of Isaac Dare Gindhart, Jr., a telephone company executive, and Mary W. Gindhart, a vocalist and pianist. As a child Mary displayed a hardy work ethic by picking strawberries for a penny per box, and this industriousness later characterized her career. She attended public schools in Haddonfield and Moorestown, New Jersey before leaving high school in ...

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Sbarboro, Andrea (26 November 1839–28 February 1923), wine producer and banker, was born in Acero, Italy, near Genoa, the son of Stefano Sbarboro, a farmer, and Maria (maiden name unknown). In 1844 the Sbarboros and their nine children emigrated to New York City, where Andrea was a street peddler of toys from the age of eight. His mother, a strong Catholic, did not allow Andrea to attend public schools because they offered no religious instruction; thus, he received little formal education. He learned to write from a neighbor who gave evening lessons and later received additional instruction in an Italian-American school....

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Walker, Maggie L. (15 July 1867–15 December 1934), educator, social activist, and bank president, was born Maggie Lena Draper in Richmond, Virginia, the daughter of Elizabeth Draper, a former slave, and Eccles Cuthbert, an Irish-American journalist. Her natural parents could not marry. (The Virginia law prohibiting the marriage of mixed-race couples was overturned in 1967, a century after Maggie's birth.) In 1868 Elizabeth Draper married William Mitchell, a mulatto butler who, like herself, was employed by the wealthy abolitionist and Union spy ...