Helen Miller Gould
Helen Miller Gould was an American philanthropist
that gave not only of her money, but also of herself, to the work
of relieving distress and making the world a better place. She
achieved extended fame through her benefactions for charitable
and educational uses. Helen earned the friendship of those she
helped by giving her personal compassion and intelligent interest
with her gifts of money.
Helen Miller Gould was born in New York City, the eldest daughter
of the famous financier, Jay Gould. She was educated by private
instructors under the careful eye of her father. So that she might
have a knowledge of business for the management of her own affairs,
her father enrolled her in the New York Law University. In 1913,
Helen married Finley J. Shepard.
As previously mentioned, Helen was very generous with her money.
At one time she gave $250,000 for the Library of the University
of the City of New York, and followed that with another $60,000
at a later time. For the St. Louis cyclone sufferers in 1896,
$100,000. Rutgers, Vassar, and Mount Holyoke Colleges all received
generous gifts as well as the Engineering School of the University
of the City of New York. The Naval Branch of the Young Mens
Christian Association near Brooklyn Navy Yard received $50,000
Miss Gould gave Woody Crest, a home for crippled children
$150,000 (Adleman, Famous Women, p. 309).
When the Windsor Hotel, opposite her home in New York, was burned,
she, herself, ministered to the firemen and others in the rescue
work. The firemen showed their deep gratitude by preparing an
address and sending it by the hands of a committee of ten, representing
a constituency of more than eighteen hundred.
One project of Helens that was interesting, if not really
charitable, was the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, which is
still found on the campus of Bronx Community College, which is
part of the City University of New York. Located in University
Heights, the campus was originally part of the uptown campus of
New York University. Helen provided the original funding for this
memorial and set some conditions regarding who might be admitted.
Helens condition was that only people that had been dead
ten years or more were to be eligible. The time period was extended
to 25 years in 1922. Even though 50 names were to be inscribed
in 1900, only 29 were elected from more than 1,000 nominations.
Being in this Hall of Fame was a great honor.
Perhaps Helens greatest work was her patriotic efforts during
the Spanish-American War. At the outbreak of the war with Spain
she gave $100,000 to the United States Government for relief of
the soldiers at Camp Wycoff, Long Island. On December 5, 1898,
General Joseph Wheeler, through Congressman Stallings, introduced
in the House a bill providing that, in recognition of the patriotic
devotion and bounteous benevolence of Miss Gould to the soldiers
of the Unites States during the Spanish-American War, the thanks
of Congress be offered and an appropriate medal be prepared, the
same to be presented to Helen by the President..
|This article may be re-published as long
as the following resource box is included:
Patricia Chadwick is a freelance writer and
has been a stay-at-home mom for 15 years. She is currently
a columnist in several online publications as well as editor
of two newsletters. Parents & Teens is a twice-monthly
newsletter geared to help parents connect with their teens.
Subscribe at www.parentsandteens.com.
History's Women is weekly online magazine highlighting the
extraordinary achievements of women. Subscribe at www.historyswomen.com/subscribe.html.