Edward Howland Robinson Green
|Edward Howland Robinson Green|
|Born||August 22, 1868|
|Died||June 8, 1936(aged 67)|
|Spouse(s)||Mabel E. Harlow|
|Relatives||Harriet Sylvia Ann Howland Green Wilks, sister|
Edward Howland Robinson "Ned" Green (August 22, 1868 – June 8, 1936), also known as Colonel Green, was an American businessman, the only son of the notorious miser Hetty Green (the "Witch of Wall Street"). He was also noted for his stamp and coin collections.
Edward Green was the first of two children of Hetty and Edward Henry Green. His sister Harriet Sylvia Ann Howland Green Wilks, called Sylvia, was born in 1871.
When Ned was a child, he broke his leg. Hetty tried to have him admitted in a free clinic for the poor. According to Hetty's biographer Charles Slack, the oft-repeated story that when she was recognized, she stormed away vowing to treat the wounds herself is only half true. He relates that having been found out (and perhaps also after procrastinating about seeking treatment for the boy in the first place), Green paid her bill and thereafter brought him to other doctors (while also trying home remedies). Similarly, Slack relates that it is not true that the leg had to be amputated because of gangrene. Rather, it was amputated after years of unsuccessful treatment. In any case, Ned ended up with a cork prosthesis. Despite this mishap, he grew to 6'4" (1.93 m) and 300 lb. (136 kg).
He attended Fordham College and later studied real estate law. In 1893, his mother sent him to Terrell, Texas to manage the Texas Midland Railroad, which she had acquired by foreclosure. He turned the ailing enterprise into "a model railroad boasting the first electrically-lighted coaches in the State." This was only one of many business ventures in which he succeeded.
Green was also active in state politics. In 1896, he began a long lasting partnership with African American William Madison McDonald, a leader of the "Black and Tan" faction of the Republican Party. In 1910, though a Republican, he was made "a Colonel on the staff of a Democratic Governor of Texas".
In stark contrast to his mother, Ned spent lavishly and partied. He also surrounded himself with attractive young women, who were well paid for their services. As Hetty strongly opposed the idea of him marrying, he had to wait until after her death in 1916 to wed his longtime companion Mabel E. Harlow, a prostitute.
He and his sister Sylvia each inherited half of their mother's fortune of $150 million or more. In addition to the various other homes he owned, he built a mansion in Massachusetts, Round Hill, and another on Star Island after his mother's death. The Round Hill mansion was designed by the Anglo-American architect Alfred C. Bossom and completed in 1921 at a cost of $1.5 million.
After his death in 1936, his widow and his sister fought over his estate, estimated at the time as $44,384,500. Ned had gotten Mabel to sign a prenuptial agreement which limited her to a $1500 monthly stipend, but she challenged it in court. She eventually settled for $500,000.
Green is known to philatelists for forming one of the great collections of postage stamps of the early 20th century, exceeded in size and value only by that of King George V. In 1918, he purchased the sheet of Inverted Jenny stamps from the dealer Eugene Klein for $20,000. On Klein's advice, he broke the sheet up into blocks. He put one stamp in a locket he gave to his wife.
He brought one of the first automobiles into Texas, "a two-cylinder St. Louis Gas Car surrey, designed by George Norris [sic - the correct name is Dorris]", and is reputed to have been involved in the first car accident in the state, when the car was forced off the road into a ditch by a farm wagon in October 1899 in Forney, Texas. He eventually owned a large fleet of cars, many modified with special transmissions on account of his prosthetic leg.
In 1924, Green rescued the last American wooden whaling vessel of the 19th century, the bark Charles W. Morgan, and exhibited her, embedded in sand, at Round Hill. Green was the grandson of Edward Mott Robinson, one of the ship's earlier owners. The Marine Historical Association bought her in 1941, when she became a showpiece of Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic, Connecticut.
- Slack, Charles, Hetty: The Genius And Madness Of America's First Female Tycoon. New York: Ecco (2004) ISBN 0-06-054256-X.
- Zimmerman, Paul (1982). "The Star of Star Island". Sports Illustrated (December 13, 1982).
- "Green Grist". Time magazine. 1937-05-03. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
- "McDonald, William Madison (1866-1950)". Handbook of Texas. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
- "McDonald, William Madison (1866-1950)". BlackPast.org. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
- "Ned Liked to Spend Money". Life (February 19, 1951): 46. 1951.
- Heritage Numismatic Auctions Presents the Gold Rush Collection Catalog #360. Dallas, TX: Heritage Capital Corporation. 2004. p. 19. ISBN 1-932899-44-8.
- Montgomery, Paul; Borckardt, Mark; Knight, Ray; (2005). Million Dollar Nickels. Irvine, CA: Zyrus Press. p. 121. ISBN 0-9742371-8-3.
- Clay Coppedge (December 24, 2009). "Ned Green". Retrieved October 8, 2010.
- "History". Terrell Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitors Bureau. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
- "Automobile Trip, 1899". Forney Historic Preservation League. Retrieved October 10, 2010.
- National Register of Historic Places, Inventory and Nomination
- Bedell, Barbara Fortin, Colonel Edward Howland Robinson Green and the World He Created at Round Hill 2003 ISBN 0-9743731-0-9
- Lewis, Arthur H., The Day They Shook the Plum Tree. New York: Harcourt Brace. (1963); Buccaneer Books, Cutchogue, NY (1990) ISBN 0-89966-600-0
- "Hetty Green's Railroad". by Arthur H. Lewis Railroad Magazine October 1963 pp. 17-23.
- The Technology Review's article about Bedell's book
- The Voice From Way Down East - 1923 WMAF promotional brochure