What You Didn’t Know About Hetty Green’s Marriage

Hetty Green, also known as the “Witch of Wall Street,” was a successful businesswoman born to a well-established Massachusetts family in 1834. At a young age, Hetty’s father prepared her for a career in business, teaching her stock trading and asking her to read financial papers, as reported by Ripley’s. As a common practice in the 1800s, women were expected to marry at a young age, and coming from a rich family, Hetty’s father spent thousands of dollars to purchase beautiful dresses, expecting his 20-year-old daughter to find a man to marry. Hetty wasn’t interested, however, and sold the dresses to invest in bonds.

Despite being more focused on increasing fortune than finding a husband, Hetty eventually married in her early 30s. The man, Edward Green, was 14 years her senior and had wealth from his silk trading business. Before the marriage, though, Hetty insisted on signing a prenuptial agreement, which was uncommon at that time, in order to protect her vast fortune (via Smithsonian).

Hetty and Edward's marriage

Hetty and Edward’s marriage bore two children — a boy and girl. The couple clashed personalities, with Hetty being a miser and Edward more gratuitous with his money. According to the New England Historical Society, Edward flaunted his wealth by enjoying fine cuisine, wearing fancy clothes, and going to social clubs, a far cry from Hetty’s lifestyle of being a cheapskate despite her wealth.

In 1881, as reported by New York Social Diary, Edward lost $2 million in the stock market. There were also reports of Edward’s philandering (via Business Insider), but what pushed Hetty to leave her husband was when a bank used her money to cover financial losses that Edward accrued. After that, Hetty Green packed up her bags and brought her two children with her to New York. She separated from her husband, but they didn’t get officially divorced.

At the time of her death in 1916, Hetty Green’s estate was estimated at upwards of $200 million, about $5 billion today, per Ripley’s.

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