1834: Henrietta Howland Robinson born (financier)Nicknamed “The Witch of Wall Street” (November 21, 1834 – July 3, 1916), was an American businesswoman, remarkable for her frugality during the Gilded Age, as well as for being the first American woman to make a substantial impact on Wall Street.

  • Green conducted much of her business at the offices of the Seaboard National Bank in New York, surrounded by trunks and suitcases full of her papers; she did not want to pay rent for an office. Possibly because of the stiff competition of the mostly male business environment and partly because of her usually dour dress sense (due mainly to frugality, but perhaps ascribable in part to her Quaker upbringing), she was given the nickname the “Witch of Wall Street”.
  • She was a successful businesswoman who dealt mainly in real estate, invested in railroads, and lent money.
  • The City of New York came to Hetty in need of loans to keep the city afloat on several occasions, most particularly during the Panic of 1907; she wrote a check for $1.1 million and took her payment in short-term revenue bonds. Keenly detail-oriented, she would travel thousands of miles – alone, in an era when few women would dare travel unescorted – to collect a debt of a few hundred dollars.
  • According to her longstanding “World’s Greatest Miser” entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, she died of apoplexy when she argued with a maid about the virtues of skimmed milk. Biographer Slack, however, reports this not to have been the case; Green had in fact suffered a series of strokes since April 17 of that year (the date of the argument with an intemperate cook in the employ of her lifelong friend Annie Leary).
  • Estimates of her net worth ranged from $100 million to $200 million (or $1.9 – $3.8 billion in 2006 dollars) (Slack estimates $200 million), arguably making her the richest woman in the world at the time. She was buried in Bellows Falls, Vermont, next to her late husband, having converted late in life to his Episcopalian faith so they could be interred together.


 1850: Isabel Hapgood born (translator, writer) was an U.S. writer and translator of Russian and French texts.

Hapgood was born in Boston, the descendant of a long-established New England family. She studied Germanic and Slavic languages, specializing in Orthodox liturgical texts. She was one of the major figures in the dialogue between Western Christianity and Orthodoxy. She traveled through Russia between 1887 and 1889. While there, she spent several weeks with the famous Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy on his country estate. She wrote a lengthy article detailing her visit and observations of the man trying to live his ideal life for The Atlantic magazine, it was published in 1891.

Her Own Work

  • The Epic Songs of Russia (1886)
  • Russian Rambles (1895)
  • A Survey of Russian Literature (1902)
  • Little Russian and St. Petersburg Tales (Date Unknown)

Works Translated

  •  Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (1888), and Sevastopol (1888) by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Epic Songs of Russia. (1886, new edition with an introduction by Prof J.W.Macktail, 1915))
  • Taras Bulba and Dead Souls by Nikolay Gogol
  • Les Misérables (1887), Notre Dame de Paris (1888), and Toilers of the Sea (1888) by Victor Hugo
  • Recollections and Letters (1892) by Ernest Renan
  • The Revolution of France Under the Third Republic (1897) by Pierre de Coubertin
  • Foma Gordyeef (1901) and Orloff and His Wife (1901) by Maksim Gorky
  • The Brothers Karamazov (1905) by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • The Seagull (1905) by Anton Chekhov
  • The Gospel in Brief (2008, new edition 2010) by Leo Tolstoy
  • Service Book of the Holy Orthodox-Catholic (Greco-Russian) Church (1922)
  • The Village (1923) by Ivan Bunin

She was in Moscow when the revolution broke out in 1917, but was able to escape and returned to the United States.

Despite Count Tolstoy’s admonition that she should marry, Ms. Hapgood never married and had no children. She died in New York.


1868: Martha Wollstein born (physician) was an American physician. Wollstein was born in New York to a German Jewish family.

  • She was educated at the Woman’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary, which became part of the Cornell University Medical School in 1909. There she studied with Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi, with whom she would later publish her first paper in 1902, on a myosarcoma of the uterus.
  •  After graduating in 1890, Wollstein joined the Babies Hospital in New York, where she became a pathologist in 1892. Her work there included research on infant diarrhea, malaria, tuberculosis, and typhoid fever.
  •  In 1904, she was invited by Simon Flexner to join the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research as an assistant researcher, though she continued to work at the Babies Hospital even after this. At the Rockefeller Institute she did experimental work on polio, studied pneumonia, and helped to develop an anti-meningitis serum.
  •  In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1918, she made an important contribution to the study of mumps, by indicating that the disease could be viral in nature.
  • From 1921 until her retirement in 1935, Wollstein continued her research on various children’s diseases at the Babies Hospital, including tuberculosis and leukemia.
  •  In 1930 she was made a member of the American Pediatric Society, as the first woman ever.
  •  She published eighty scientific papers during her career. After her retirement she moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan. When she fell ill she moved back to New York, where she died on September 30, 1939, at Mount Sinai Hospital.


1870: Mary Johnston born (writer) was an American novelist and women’s rights advocate.

  • The daughter of an American Civil War soldier who became a successful lawyer, Mary Johnston was born in the small town of Buchanan, Virginia. A small and frail girl, she was educated at home by family and tutors. She grew up with a love of books and was financially independent enough to devote herself to writing.
  • Johnston wrote historical books and novels that often combined romance with history. Her first book Prisoners of Hope (1898) dealt with colonial times in Virginia as did her second novel To Have and to Hold (1900) and 1904’s Sir Mortimer. The Goddess of Reason (1907) uses the theme of the French Revolution and in Lewis Rand (1908), the author portrayed political life at the dawn of the 19th century.
  • To Have and to Hold was serialized in the The Atlantic Monthly in 1899 and published in 1900 by Houghton Mifflin. The book proved enormously popular and according to the New York Times was the bestselling novel in the United States in 1900.
  • Johnston’s next work titled Audrey was the 5th bestselling book in the U.S. in 1902, and Sir Mortimer serialized in the Harper’s Monthly Magazine from November 1903 through April 1904 and published in 1904. Beyond her native America, Johnston’s novels were also very popular in Canada and in England.
  • Three of Johnston’s books were adapted to film. Audrey was made into a silent film of the same name in 1916 and her blockbuster work To Have and to Hold was made into a silent film in 1916 and filmed again in 1922. Pioneers of the Old South was adapted to film in 1923 under the title Jamestown.
  • During her long career, in addition to twenty-three novels, Johnston wrote a number of short stories, one drama, and two long narrative poems. She used her fame to advocate women’s rights, strongly supporting the women’s suffrage movement.
  • Johnston died in 1936, at the age of 65, at her home in Warm Springs, Virginia


    On This Day:  1981, NCAA sponsored the first women’s championships in cross country and field hockey


Quote for Today

“It’s time to do something. The decision has been made. Let’s go forward. I’m one of those firm believers that if you don’t like it, run for school board or shut your mouth.”


 Mary Johnston

Leave a Reply

HTML Snippets Powered By : XYZScripts.com