A familiar figure garbed in an old black dress carrying a large black satchel on the streets of New York City and Hoboken, New Jersey invited attention and curiosity. The odd person in question was Henrietta “Hetty” Howland Robinson Green, known for her vast wealth, who, ironically, wanted only to be unnoticed.
Green’s paranoia and eccentric behavior inspired many rumors, including some pretty outlandish ones. Notably, she was listed in the Guiness Book of World Records as the “World’s Greatest Miser.” Her frugality was legendary and derisive and she was widely blamed for the amputation of her young son’s leg because she would not see a doctor to avoid medical fees. She was also ridiculed for obsessively relocating to small apartments in Brooklyn, Hoboken, New Jersey and New Hampshire, just to avoid paying New York City residency taxes and to guard her anonymity. Read the rest of this entry »