Shepard, Helen Miller (1868–1938)

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Shepard, Helen Miller (1868–1938)

American philanthropist. Name variations: Helen Miller Gould. Born Helen Miller Gould in New York City on June 20, 1868; died in 1938; eldest daughter of Jay Gould (1836–1892, the financier) and Helen Day (Miller) Gould; briefly attended New York Law University; married Finley Johnson Shepard (1867–1942, an executive of the Missouri Pacific Railway), on January 22, 1913; children: Olivia Margaret; Finley Fay; Helen Anna.

Helen Miller Shepard was born Helen Miller Gould in New York City in 1868, the eldest daughter of financier Jay Gould and Helen Day Miller Gould . From 1892, when she inherited part of the family fortune, Shepard was known for her charity. Besides large donations, she gave her personal services to various movements for public and social welfare. She contributed $100,000 to the victims of the St. Louis cyclone in 1896, and funded a library and the Hall of Fame building at New York University, as well as the naval branch of the Brooklyn YMCA. She also gave generously to Rutgers, Vassar, and Mt. Holyoke Colleges, and financed the Woody Crest, a home for crippled children.

Shepard's most important work seems to have been for U.S. soldiers during the Spanish-American War. At the outbreak of the conflict in 1898, among other things, she contributed $100,000 to the U.S. government for relief of soldiers at Camp Wycoff (also seen as Wikoff), Long Island. On December 5, 1898, General Joseph Wheeler, with the help of Congressional Representative Stallings, introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that provided recognition of her benevolence; a medal was presented by President William McKinley.