Women were important managers of wealth in nineteenth-century France and their activities in this domain warrant renewed attention from historians. This paper offers preliminary discussion of the absence of the female investor in scholarship on French financial history. It outlines existing historiography on women and finance in nineteenth-century France, pointing to new opportunities suggested by research on female investment in other countries as well as shifting historical assessments of women’s enterprise in France. It shows that women’s lack of prominence in the scholarship on finance follows from the silence on women’s practices in key contemporary sources and it sketches the conditions of possibility for recovering their presence from alternative sites. It argues that incorporating women into our study of popular finance allows us to ask new questions of the past, and promises to solve at least two problems – not only that of the erasure of women as consequential agents in French financial histories, but also that of the omission of the modest and ordinary investor in accounts of the construction and operation of financial markets.