I’ve been doing some research for a new book for the past couple of days. This book is quite complicated, plus it has a cast of thousands. Okay, maybe not thousands.
I happened on to something and, in the way of how I follow rabbit tracks, I ended up on Wikipedia. I really don’t have a lot of feelings about Wikipedia. I don’t use them as a primary source, but if they lead me to other places – especially research books – then I feel a little better about the information they provide.
The article that I happened across was about a woman named Hetty Green. Her nickname was the Witch of Wall Street. I was absolutely fascinated by her. She was extraordinarily wealthy and had a brilliant financial mind.
According to Wikipedia she left an estate that was equivalent to $2.25 billion to $4.5 billion in today’s dollars. However, this is the same woman who never turned on the heat or used hot water. She was even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as “the world’s greatest miser”.
People like Hetty fascinate me. I suspect that money didn’t represent buying things to Hetty. It was a way of keeping score and that was it. The more she spent, the less of a tally she maintained which is why she was a miser.
Hetty was born in 1834 and died in 1916. She was the only woman among those Americans who amassed a fortune in that era.
Here’s the Wikipedia article on her: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hetty_Green