Harriet Sylvia Ann Howland Green Wilks

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Hetty Sylvia Ann Howland Robinson Green Wilks
From left to right are: Hetty Green, her son-in-law Matthew Astor Wilks, and her daughter Sylvia Green Wilks on their wedding day in Morristown, New Jersey on February 23, 1909
BornJanuary 7, 1871
DiedFebruary 5, 1951(1951-02-05) (aged 80)
Net worth$95M (1951)
$443M (2007 dollars)
Spouse(s)Matthew Astor Wilks (1844–1926)
Parent(s)Hetty Howland Robinson
Edward Henry Green
RelativesEdward Howland Robinson Green, brother
Sylvia Ann Howland, grandaunt

Hetty Sylvia Ann Howland Robinson Green Wilks (January 7, 1871 – February 5, 1951) was one of the wealthiest women in the United States.[1]


She was born in London, England on January 7, 1871 to Hetty Howland Robinson and Edward Henry Green. Her brother was Edward Howland Robinson Green (1868–1936). Throughout her life she was generally known as Sylvia rather than by her given first name.

She married Matthew Astor Wilks (1844–1926), great grandson of America's first millionaire John Jacob Astor, in Morristown, New Jersey February 23, 1909; she was 32 and he was 63.[2] When her brother died in 1935, she inherited his estate, rather than the estate going to his widow.[1]

Sylvia Green Wilks died on February 5, 1951 leaving an estate of $94,965,229 (approximately $916,994,000 today).[3][4][5] The list of assets included 36 pages of bonds, eight pages of blue-chip stocks, and $31 million in a non interest bearing checking account.[6][7]

Her will was found stuffed in a tin cabinet with four cakes of soap. She bestowed just $5,000 on her closest genetic relative, a cousin, but the court awarded her $140,000 during probate. The remainder was divided between 63 charities and educational institutions.[6]

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  1. ^ a b "Green Grist". Time. May 3, 1937. Retrieved 2008-06-08. A surprise witness at the first session was tall, sharp-nosed, bespectacled Mrs. Hetty Sylvia Ann Howland Green Wilks, 66, whose right to her brother's fortune by terms of a will drawn nine years before his marriage has been challenged by Colonel Green's widow, redheaded Mabel E. Harlow Green, 66.
  2. ^ "Matthew A. Wilks Dies. J.J. Astor Descendant. Son-in-Law of the Late Hetty Green Was a Member of Many Clubs". New York Times. August 4, 1926. Retrieved 2008-06-09.
  3. ^ "Mrs. H. Wilks Dead At Age Of 80. Daughter Of Hetty Green, Noted For Financial Manipulations, Wed Descendant Of Astor "Accustomed To Economy" Active Until Last Year". New York Times. February 6, 1951. Retrieved 2008-06-09. Mrs. Hetty Sylvia Ann Howland Green Wilks of 988 Fifth Avenue, widow of Matthew Astor Wilks, and daughter of Hetty Green, the famous woman financier, died yesterday in the New York Hospital at the age of 80.
  4. ^ "Hetty Green's Daughter Leaves $94,965,229". Los Angeles Times. September 27, 1952. Retrieved 2008-06-08. The estate of Mrs. Hetty Sylvia Howland Green Wilks, who died Feb. 5, 1951, totaled $94,965,229 gross and $90,845,301 net, according to an estate tax appraisal filed yesterday.
  5. ^ "Hetty Green's Only Daughter, 80, Dies". Los Angeles Times. February 7, 1951. Retrieved 2008-06-08. Mrs. Matthew Astor Wilks, 80, only daughter of the wealthy Hetty Green and, in her own right, one of the world's richest women, died last night in New York Hospital.
  6. ^ a b "Mother Knew Better". Time. March 31, 1952. Retrieved 2008-06-09.
  7. ^ "Wilks Estate Is Put At 95 Millions, Third Of It In One Checking Account; Mrs. Wilks' Assets Put At 95 Millions". New York Times. March 20, 1952. Retrieved 2008-06-09. Mrs. Hetty Sylvia Howland Green Wilks, daughter of the late Hetty Green, noted woman financier at the turn of the century, left an estate of approximately $95,000,000 according to an accounting filed in Surrogate's Court yesterday. She died Feb. 5, 1951.

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