This vintage photographic portrait features Helen Miller Gould (1868-1938). She was the daughter of Jay Gould and was a prominent heiress. She was a heiress because Jay Gould was quite rich. Maybe one of the richest men of his era. He was a leading railroad developer and speculator. Wikipedia reports that he was “one of the ruthless robber barons of the Gilded Age”. Helen was accomplished in her own right. She attended New York University School of Law. She married Finley Johnson Shepard (1867-1942) in 1913. He was an executive at the Missouri Pacific Railroad. She and her husband adopted three children. One of these kids was adopted after being found abandoned on the steps of St Patrick’s Cathedral. She also had one foster child. In 1918, she and Emma Baker Kennedy became the first female vice presidents of the American Bible Society. Helen was a major philanthropist. She donated one hundred thousand dollars the the US government at the start of the Spanish American War. She contributed another fifty thousand dollars toward military hospital supplies. She was active in the Women’s National War Relief Association and worked in a hospital caring for wounded soldiers. Helen donated a library building at New York University and also contributed to its engineering school. She was on the national board of the YWCA and the Russell Sage Foundation. The Russell Sage Foundation funds research relating to income inequality. Areas under study include immigration, ethnicity, labor markets and social inequality in the United States.  Helen Gould was certainly an admirable woman. Through her philanthropy she had a positive impact on many people’s lives. The photograph below is a portrait of Helen Gould Shepard at a slightly younger age than the one above. The photograph above measures about 8″ x 10″.   (SOLD)

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