Sylvia Field Porter, born in Patchogue in 1913, was a world-renowned economist and one of the most famous and widely-read journalists and authors in America overa career that spanned more than half a century.

Porter was born as Sylvia Feldman to her Russian-immigrant parents, Dr. Louis Feldman and his wife Rose, and the family lived on South Ocean Avenue, where Dr. Feldman ran a medical practice. Sylvia spent her early school years in Patchogue, until the family moved to Brooklyn in 1922, when she was nine. In 1949, the already-famous Porter told the Patchogue Advance that “…many people still living in Patchogue remember my father either because they were patients of his or because he helped bring them into the world.” She remembered the jellyfish in the bay and the great Patchogue Lace Mill. “To me,” she said, “Patchogue – well, Patchogue is home.”

Sylvia was a college freshman in 1929 when the stock market crashed. Determined to
understand why the crash had occurred, Sylvia switched her major to economics. Soon after marrying banker Reed Porter, Sylvia began writing articles for financial journals and magazines, disguising her gender by using the byline S.F. Porter. Her column in the New York Evening Post became hugely successful and with her fame, the paper changed the column’s name to “Sylvia F. Porter Says.” By 1947 she was syndicated in newspapers across the nation, and she began writing enormously sucessful guidebooks to personal finance. Her blockbuster- Sylvia Porter’s Money Book: How to Earn it, Spend it, Save it, Invest it, Borrow it, and Use it to Better Your Life-sold more than a million copies in 1975. When her column moved to the New York Daily News, it was reaching more than 40 million readers every day.

Before Porter’s breakthrough and smashing success, it was considered an accepted principle
that money matters were best handled by men. Patchogue’s Sylvia Feldman Field Porter obliterated that notion-and in so doing, became one of the most influential women in America.