““I can tell you my Dear friend that I am in good health and spirits and feel as saucy as you please…””


Catherine “Caty” Littlefield Greene 1755-1814
Little has been written about Caty’s contribution, if not the invention, of the Cotton Gin which revolutionized the economy of the South, by simplifying the cleaning process of cotton. In Woman as Inventor, written in 1883, Matilda Gage asserted that it was Caty and not Eli Whitney who should be credited with the invention. In 1792, Whitney rented a room from Caty and it is believed she not only suggested the idea of the Cotton Gin, but she drew the rudimentary design, made corrections for improvement, and later financed the patent and fabrication. Perhaps she didn’t receive credit for the invention because women were not allowed to hold patents. Regardless, neither Whitney nor Caty profited from the invention after congress refused to renew the patent and it was mass produced.