Women of Means - Deepstash
Women of Means

Women of Means

Marlene Wagman-Geller

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BEN CASSEL

Having much often makes one want more.

BEN CASSEL

17

349 reads

WARREN BUFFETT

Excess can be a motivation buster and leave one with a sense of psychological impotence.

WARREN BUFFETT

15

266 reads

MARLENE WAGMAN-GELLER

The aphorism "necessity is the mother of invention" naturally gives rise to the corollary "too much wealth is a breeding ground for non-productivity".

MARLENE WAGMAN-GELLER

16

203 reads

Almina Herbert, Countess of Carnarvon (1876-1969)

Almina Herbert, Countess of Carnarvon (1876-1969)

Her wealth funded the search for Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt.

She was the illegitamate child of the banker Alfred de Rothschild.

Her husband, George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, died from pneumonia in 1923 after the opening of the tomb.

Was involved in the much-publicised High Court case known as the "Bachelor's Case" between her second husband Colonel Dennistoun and his former wife, who demanded alimony after hearing about Almina's wealth.

After the death of her second husband she lived well above her means and was declared bankrupt in 1951.

17

169 reads

Nancy Clara Cunard (1896-1965)

Nancy Clara Cunard (1896-1965)

Her father was Sir Bache Cunard, heir to the Cunard Line shipping business. Her mother was Maud Alice Burke, an American heiress. When her parents separated in 1911, she moved to London with her mother. Her education was at various boarding schools, including time in France and Germany.

She became a writer and political activist.

Much of her life was devoted to fighting racism and fascism.

She became a muse to some of the 20th century's most distinguished writers and artists.

In later years she suffered from mental illness, and her physical health deteriorated. When she died she only weighed 26kg.

17

123 reads

Marguerite "Peggy" Guggenheim (1898-1979)

Marguerite "Peggy" Guggenheim (1898-1979)

Her father was Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down with the Titanic in 1912. Her mother was heiress Florette Seligman, from whom she inherited US$2.5 million when she turned 21. She was an American art collector, bohemian, and socialite.

She promoted and sponsored many writers and artists throughout her life. She claimed to have slept with 1000 men.

She had to abandon her plans for an art museum in Europe due to WW2 and started buying art instead.

She settled in Venice in 1949 and exhibited her art collection for the rest of her life.

She donated her home and collection inter vivos in 1976.

17

112 reads

Lady Edwina Mountbatten (1901-1960)

Lady Edwina Mountbatten (1901-1960)

Was an English heiress, socialite, relief worker and the last vicereine of India. Her father, Wilfried Ashley, was the first Baron Mount Temple. Her mother, Amalia Mary Maud Cassel, was the only child of the international magnate Sir Ernest Cassel, one of the richest and most powerful men in Europe.

She was bullied at school on account of her grandfather being rich, German and Jewish.

She married Louis Mountbatten, a member of the British royal family, in 1922. She had many affairs and didn't hide them from her husband. Her daughter described her as a man eater and a detached, rarely seen mother

16

97 reads

Roberta Brooke Astor (1902-2007)

Roberta Brooke Astor (1902-2007)

Her father was John Henry Russell Jr, 16th Commandant of the Marine Corps. Due to her father's career she spent much of her childhood abroad. She was a philanthropist and socialite.

She married her first husband, John Dryden Kuser, at age 17. She later described her first marriage as "the worst years of her life".

In 1953, after the death of her second husband, she married William Vincent Astor, the last rich American member of the famous Astor family - a financial transaction to many. She served as chairwoman of the Vincent Astor Foundation after his death.

Suffered elder abuse by her son.

17

82 reads

Huguette Clark (1906-2011)

Huguette Clark (1906-2011)

Her father was senator and industrialist William A Clark who had amassed fortune in copper mining operations.

American painter, heiress, and philanthropist, who became well known late in life as a recluse, living in hospitals for over 20 years.

She spent much of her time outside of the public sphere, devoting her life to painting and collecting dolls. She became increasingly reclusive after the death of her mother.

She left behind a fortune of more than $300 million, most of which was donated to charity after a court dispute with distant relatives.

Her reclusive life was covered in Empty Mansions.

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70 reads

Barbara Hutton (1912-1979)

Barbara Hutton (1912-1979)

Was an American debutante, socialite, philanthropist and heiress to one-third of the estate of retail tycoon Frank Winfield Woolworth. Was dubbed "Poor Little Rich Girl" due to her notoriously troubled private life.

Her childhood was marked by the neglect of her father and early loss of her mother. Was married 7 times, often maliciously treated and exploited by her husbands. Publicly envied, privately remained deeply insecure, taking refuge in drink, drugs and playboys.

On the verge of bankruptcy at her death as a result of lavish spending and exploitation by those entrusted to manage her estate

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70 reads

Doris Duke (1912-1993)

Doris Duke (1912-1993)

Billionaire tobacco heiress, philanthropist and socialite.

Her great wealth, luxurious lifestyle and love life attracted lots of press coverage, during her life and after her death.

To this day, belief persists that she deliberately ran over Eduardo Tirella, curator of her art holdings, after he decided to leave her for a career in Hollywood.

Was married twice, had one daughter that died at 1 day old.

Her fortune was largely left to charity. The Doris Duke Foundation is dedicated to medical research, prevention of cruelty to children and animals, the performing arts, wildlife and ecology.

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62 reads

Baroness Nica Rothschild (1913-1988)

Baroness Nica Rothschild (1913-1988)

Jazz patron and writer. Her father was Charles Rothschild, her mother was baroness Rozsika Edle von Wertheimstein. She married in 1935 and had 5 children. After her separation in 1951, her family disinherited her.

She joined the Free French Army to fight against Nazi Germany and was decorated as a lieutenant.

After the divorce she moved to New York and started supporting jazz artists, hosting jam sessions in her hotel suite. She paid for rent, groceries, hospital visits, and several funerals and burial grounds. Many compostions are dedicated to her. She is known as The Jazz Baroness to this day.

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60 reads

Leona Helmsley (1920-2007)

Leona Helmsley (1920-2007)

Queen of Mean due to her flamboyant personality and tyrannical behavior.

Joined a New York real estate firm, where she eventually became vice-president.

Earned millions working as a condominium broker. Was sued by several tenants for forcing them to buy condominiums, and lost her real estate license as a result. Married Harry Helmsley in 1972 and focused on running his hotel empire.

Known for disputing payments to contractors and vendors.

Served 19 months in prison for tax evasion.

Evicted her son's widow shortly after his funeral and sued his estate.

Spent her final years estranged with few friends

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55 reads

Liliane Henriette Charlotte Bettencourt (1922-2017)

Liliane Henriette Charlotte Bettencourt (1922-2017)

Her father was Eugène Schueller, founder of L'Oréal. Her mother died when Liliane was 5. At age 15 she joined her father's company. Married André Bettencourt in 1950. Her father and her husband were Nazi sympathizers. Had one daughter. She became the principal shareholder of L'Oréal after her father's death in 1957.

There was much controversy over her relationship with FranCois-Marie Banier, who she gifted an estimated €1.3 billion. A legal battle over her guardianship with her daughter followed, leading to their estrangement.

Was also involved in illegally funding politicians and tax evasion.

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52 reads

Barbara Daly Baekeland (1921-1972)

Barbara Daly Baekeland (1921-1972)

Her father, Frank Daly, committed suicide when she was 11.

Grew up in New York City and became a prominent socialite due to her beauty. This resulted in frequent invitations to high society parties, allowing her to date various wealthy admirers.

Known for unstable personality, rude outbursts, bouts of severe depression, heavy drinking, and extramarital affairs.

Attempted to fix her son's bisexual tendencies by hiring prostitutes. After this failed, she allegedly forced him into incestuous relations. He stabbed her to death in 1972. Their relationship is depicted in the film Savage Grace.

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47 reads

Gloria Laura Vanderbilt (1924-2019)

Gloria Laura Vanderbilt (1924-2019)

Her father was railroad heir Reginald Claypoole Vanderbilt. Upon his death she inherited a $5 million trust fund, the control belonging to her mother since she was a minor. Her mother's spending habits led to a custody battle with her aunt, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and she became the ward of her aunt. Her mother had to live on a reduced portion of her daughter's trust. After she became of age, she cut off her mother completely.

She was married 4 times, which resulted in 4 sons by her 2nd and 4th husband. Coauthored the memoir The Rainbow Comes and Goes with her youngest son, Anderson Cooper

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47 reads

Martha Sharp "Sunny" von Bülow (1932-2008)

Martha Sharp "Sunny" von Bülow (1932-2008)

Only child of utilities magnate George Crawford, former chairman of Columbia Gas & Electric Company.

Nicknamed "Sunny" because of her nature.

Her father died when she was 3, she inherited US$100 million.

Married Prince Alfred Eduard Friedrich Vincenz Martin Maria von Auersperg in 1957 and had two children with him. Her net worth was $75 million when they divorced in 1965.

Married Claus von Bülow in 1966 and had one daughter, Cosima von Bülow. He was convicted of attempting to murder her by insulin overdose in 1882, which was later overturned.

She lived in a persistent vegetative state from 1980.

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45 reads

Hélène Pastor (1937-2014)

Hélène Pastor (1937-2014)

Monegasque heiress and businesswoman.

She was the richest woman in Monaco, most of her wealth coming from collecting rent.

She was married twice and had a daughter from her first and a son from her second husband.

Her son-in-law Wojciech Janowski, whom she never was fond of nor trusted, arranged her assassination in 2018 for financial self-preservation. Her daughter Sylvia was diagnosed with breast cancer, and since their union had never been made legal, he would have no recourse to the estate. He claimed to have killed out of love because of the emotional abuse of his wife by her mother.

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41 reads

Farah Pahlavi (1938)

Farah Pahlavi (1938)

Married the last Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in 1959. Was Queen and Empress of Iran from 1959 to 1979. The Shah's first two marriages had produced no male heir. Their was much rejoice when she gave birth to a son.

She founded Iran's first American-style university, enabling more women to study and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and facilitated the buying-back of Iranian art.

The family fled the country in 1979 because of growing anti-imperial unrest that led to revolution, living in constant fear of extradition. The Shah died in exile in 1980. She continues her charity work.

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42 reads

Jocelyn Alice Wildenstein (1940)

Jocelyn Alice Wildenstein (1940)

She married Alec Wildenstein, a billionaire art dealer, in 1978. They had two children. Their interest in wild cats led her to extensive cosmetic surgery, thinking it would make her more attractive to her husband. She caught him in flagrante delicto with a 19-year-old Russian model in her bedroom, he threatened her with a gun. Divorce in 1999 followed. She received billions in divorce settlement, but the judge stipulated that she could not use any of it for further cosmetic surgery.

Media nicknamed her Catwoman, The Lion Queen, and The Bride of Wildenstein.

She had to file for bankruptcy in 2018

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46 reads

Ruth Madoff (1941)

Ruth Madoff (1941)

She married Bernie Madoff, her high school sweetheart, in 1959. They had 2 sons.

Her husband was sentenced to 150 years in prison for running the largest known Ponzi scheme in history, worth an estimated $65 billion. He died in prison in 2021.

Her older son committed suicide in 2010, exactly 2 years after his father's arrest. Her second son died from lymphoma in 2014.

Most of the family assets were seized by the government.

She is required to provide reports about her expenditures to the trustee liquidating her husband's firm for victims.

On death her remaining assets will be used to settle claims

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41 reads

Patrizia Reggiani (1948)

Patrizia Reggiani (1948)

Married Maurizio Gucci, heir to the Gucci fashion house, in 1972. They had two daughters. Her father-in-law did not approve of the marriage and called her a social climber who had nothing in mind but money. She became active in social circles and made regular appearances at parties and fashion events. Maurizio left her in 1985, divorce followed in 1994. She received an annual alimony of $1.47 million.

Maurizio was shot and killed by a hitman a year later. In 1997 she was arrested and accused of hiring the hitman. She was sentenced to 29 years in prison, but was released after serving 18 years.

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40 reads

Christina Onassis (1950-1988)

Christina Onassis (1950-1988)

Only daughter of Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, heiress to the Onassis fortune.

Lost her entire immediate family within a 29-month period: her brother in 1973 in a plane crash, her mother in 1974 from an overdose, her father in 1975.

After the brother's death her father began grooming her to take over the family business. She successfully ran the family business after her father's death.

Her frequent battles with her weight and inability to find lasting love left her unhappy. She was married 4 times and had 1 daughter.

She died of a heart attack caused by acute pulmonary edema at age 37

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41 reads

Patricia Campbell Hearst (1954)

Patricia Campbell Hearst (1954)

Her grandfather was William Randolph Hearst, who created the largest newspaper, magazine, newsreel and film business in the world. Her family wielded immense political influence and opposed organized labor, worker's rights and communism.

Her parents did not find it necessary to assure her personal security.

In 1974 she was kidnapped and indoctrinated by the Symbionese Liberation Army. She was convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to 35 years in prison. However, she testified that she had been raped and threatened with death while held captive. She was later pardoned by President Bill Clinton.

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40 reads

Gina Rinehart (1954)

Gina Rinehart (1954)

She was the only child of Lang Hancock, founder of the mineral exploration and extraction company Hancock Prospecting. When he died in 1992, she succeeded him as executive chairman. She turned the company with severe financial difficulties into the largest private company in Australia.

As a teen, she already had strong capitalist views.

She was married twice and had 4 children.

Lang created the Hope Margaret Hancock Trust for his grandchildren. She tried to postpone the transfer by decades to keep sole control of the company. She eventually stood down in 2013.

A personality befitting an iron mine.

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38 reads

Susanne Klatten (1962)

Susanne Klatten (1962)

Billionaire heiress. Daughter of Herbert and Johanna Quandt.

Inherited 50.1% stake in pharmaceutical and chemicals manufacturer Altana and 12.5% stake in BMW after her father's death.

She holds multiple business degrees and sits on the supervisory board of both companies. She helped transform Altana into a world-class corporation.

Her family was tied to Nazi crimes during the 2nd World War.

She married Jan Klatten, an engineer, in 1990. They have 3 children.

In 2007 she was seduced and blackmailed by Helg Russak Sgarbi. He was charged with similar schemes agains multiple women and arrested in 2009

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38 reads

Susan Cummings (1962)

Susan Cummings (1962)

Daughter of billionaire arms dealer Samuel Cummings. Most known for killing her boyfriend in 1997. She started dating Argentine polo player Roberto Villegas in 1995. He forwent returning to polo and lived on her farm, financially dependent on her and under her control. When he was to leave for a polo tournament representing Argentina, she shot him four times. She claimed he was threatening her with a knife, but the cuts on her arms were suspected to be self-inflicted. She was charged with homicide, but only convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 60 days in jail and fined $2500.

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37 reads

Eva Louise Rausing (1964-2012)

Eva Louise Rausing (1964-2012)

Was a member of the Rausing family, which owns the food packaging business Tetra Pak. Her father was a millionare executive for the Pepsi Cola Corporation.

She married Hans Kristian Rausing, whom she met in a rehab clinic. They had 4 children. The couple was well-respected as philanthropists who gave to anti-drug charities. She was co-patron of the drug charity Action on Addiction.

They relapsed in 1999. Any attempts by the family to help them failed.

Her body was found days after her death. She died as a result of her drug abuse. Her husband was charged with delaying the burial of her body.

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38 reads

Gulnara Islamovna Karimova (1972)

Gulnara Islamovna Karimova (1972)

Her father was Islam Karimov, president of Uzbekistan from 1991 to his death in 2016. She had considerable influence through her business dealings and family connections, but started losing it in 2013 due to conflicts with her father.

In 2014 she was placed under house arrest. In 2016 she was suspect in a Swiss money-laundering investigation. In 2017 US entities were banned from dealing with her or any of her associates. In 2019 she was sent to prison for fraud and money laundering.

Is said to have bullied her way into every lucrative business in Uzbekistan and was viewed as a robber baron.

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37 reads

Casey Johnson (1979-2010)

Casey Johnson (1979-2010)

Heiress to the Johnson & Johnson empire.

Her father was businessman Woody Johnson.

She was diagnosed with diabetes and borderline personality disorder.

A staple for the gossip columns, she wanted to establish her own identity.

The biggest mistake in her life was turning down Paris Hilton's offer to co-star in her reality show.

Publicly accused her aunt of seducing her boyfriend. Her father severed all ties with her following this scandal.

Died from a diabetic coma brought on by erratic insulin injections, coupled with her use of OxyContin, Ecstasy and cocaine.

Her body was undetected for several days

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37 reads

Georgia Inman (1997)

Georgia Inman (1997)

She and her twin brother Walker Patterson III were born to Walker Patterson Inman Jr, the heir to the Doris Duke fortune. He was awarded custody in 2000. The court deemed him the more stable parent despite kidnapping his children, multiple marriages, and drug and alcohol addiction. The twins were starved, imprisoned and physically abused by their father and other care givers.

The father died from a drug overdose in 2010.

The stepmother attempted to keep them for their trust fund, but the mother gained custody.

The children spent 3 months in a psychiatric facility before living with their mother.

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39 reads

CURATED BY

temet_nosce

while(1 < 2) love laugh dance

CURATOR'S NOTE

A compilation of mini-biographies about the richest women in history.

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