The First Women in Banking

March is Women’s History month, and the team at Persons Banking Company couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than to recognize and honor the first women in banking. 

Keep reading to learn more about the women who broke glass ceilings and paved the way for generations of women to come.

Maggie Lena Walker (1864-1934)

Maggie Lena Walker was the first African American woman to both charter a bank and serve as a bank president. 

Born in Richmond, Virginia, Walker was a humanitarian and teacher who, in 1902, chartered the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank.

 She later served as the bank’s chairman of the board after the bank merged with two other Richmond Banks to become The Consolidated Bank and Trust Company.

Victoria Woodhull Martin (1838-1927)

Victoria Woodhull Martin and her sister, Tennessee Claflin, were the first female stockbrokers in the United States. 

In 1870, they opened a brokerage firm on Wall Street–shocking their male counterparts.

Woodhull earned a fortune on Wall Street by advising Cornelius Vanderbilt and other influential men. 

And in 1870, she and her sister used the money earned from their brokerage to start a newspaper–the Woodhull & Chaflin’s Weekly.

Louise M. Weiser (1837-1898)

Originally from Vermont, Louise M. Weiser was the first woman to serve as president of an American bank. 

Her husband, Horace, served as the bank’s founder and president until his death, after which Louise took the helm in 1892.

Janet Yellen (1946 –)

Janet Yellen is the first female to serve as the United States Secretary of The Treasury–a title she’s held since January 26, 2021. 

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Yellen is an American economist and educator, who served as a member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors from 1994-97 and again from 2010-18. 

She is the first person to have led the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury Department.

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