Woman of the Century/Hulda Regina Graser
GRASER, Miss Hulda Regina, customhouse broker, born in Montreal, Canada, 23rd June, 1869. In 1870 the family removed to Chicago, III., where, in the great fire of 1871, they lost all their property and nearly lost their lives. Her father, Ernst G. Graser, was a native of St. Gallen, Switzerland, where he was born in 1842. He came to America in 1867 and settled in Montreal. Her mother was a resident of Zurich, Switzerland. After the loss of their home and property in Chicago, the family went to Cincinnati, Ohio, where they began life anew. Mr. Graser, who was a thoroughly educated man and could speak several languages well, secured employment with the government He also gave private instruction in foreign languages. He remained in the custom-house ten years, after which time, in 1882, he opened what is called a customs brokerage business, and one year prior to his death, which occurred in 1884, he took into partnership with him his older daughter, styling the firm E. & M. Graser. HULDA REGINA GRASER. After his death the daughter continued the business until her marriage, in 1885, to Dr. E. H. Rothe, when she sold it. Hulda, the younger daughter, was educated in the Cincinnati free schools, and in 1885 she was employed as clerk and then as cashier in a wholesale and retail notion house. She afterward studied stenography, did some reporting and helped on the senatorial investigation, in the above capacity, and in the fall of 1886, when seventeen years old, opened a new office as customs broker and forwarder, her sister's successor having sold out to her present competitor. In 1887, about five months after she commenced, there was a decision by the department, on the strength of false representations made to the department, prohibiting brokers or their clerks from getting any information from customs officials without an order from the different importers, thus making her beginning doubly hard. That necessitated her calling upon every importer in the city, securing his signature to a petition asking for any and all information regarding each firm's importations. In 1890, in connection with brokerage, she took up an agency for tin-plates, and she handles large quantities of that article. The greater amount of tin-plates arriving at Cincinnati between January and July, 1891, went through her office, and her undertaking has proved very successful. She occupies a unique position, and her success in that arduous line of work is another demonstration of the truth that women can conduct business that exacts great care, sound judgment, originality and untiring industry.