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Hetty Green The Witch of Wall Street   book icon  
by Boyden Sparkes (1935)

read: 12 March 2015
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

I’d known about Hetty Green all my life but got re-inspired to learn about her when I drove by the Hetty Green motel. I had not known she lived for a while in Bellows Falls and in fact when she died Vermont was the only state that saw any estate taxes from her despite the fact that she lived mostly in New Jersey and New York. Green was clearly mentally ill but also a really shrewd businesswoman. The two issues get mushed together because... everyone and everything was a bit nuttier then. Green was a huge mortgage-holder and this book (which is based a lot on court documents and newspaper articles) talks a lot about how she was a private money lender for hundreds of churches (often getting 6 or 7 % interest on these loans) and other business people. Really interesting book though written in the 30s so the language is a little flowery and at times hard to follow. Green comes across as unlikeable which is not that much of a surprise, but I learned to dislike her in new ways which was not what I was expecting.

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