Heritage, Volume 10, Number 1, Winter 1992 Page: 11
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Mary Moody Northen, Texas' First Lady of Finance
Known as the "first lady of finance,"
Mary Moody Northen had been
groomed by her father to manage his
financial empire and served as president
or chairperson of more than 50
companies. It was hardly a predictable
role for the once frail and shy debutante
of 1911 Galveston society. Her greatest
influence in Texas, however, is seen
through her devotion to philanthropic
As chairperson of the Moody Foundation,
one of the largest in the country,
she encouraged favorable policies
toward history and preservation programs.
Her personal concern for
Galveston led to the Foundation's instrumental
role in the restoration of the
Santa Fe Railroad Building, a commercial
office building at the foot of the
Strand; two 19th century homes,
Ashton Villa and the Samuel May Williams
House; and the 1877 iron sailing
barque Elissa. As a tribute to Northen's
efforts, the face of the figurehead on
Elissa was carved to resemble Mary
Moody at the time of her debut.
Mary Moody Northen was involved
in state preservation and cultural endeavors
as a board member. She was a
founding member of the Texas Historical
Commission, the Texas Historical
Foundation, and the Texas Commission
for the Arts. Her personal gift established
Park and Museum to commemorate the
Republic of Texas. Libraries, dormitories,
civic centers, and public facilities
across the state exhibit the Moody name
and stand as a testament to Mary Moody
With the restoration of the Moody
Mansion and Museum in Galveston,
Mary Moody Northen has, once more,
left her mark on the heritage of Texas.
Shown above is the library where the Moody's greeted important guests. A portrait of Colonel William L. Moody hangs in the place of honor.
HERITAGE WINTER 1992 1 1
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 10, Number 1, Winter 1992, periodical, Winter 1992; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45418/m1/11/: accessed June 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.