A tradition of fiduciary services since 1782


In 1782, between the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, noted historian, public servant and attorney George Richards Minot nailed his sign to an elm tree in what is now Boston’s financial district, opened an office, and thus began a tradition of fiduciary services that has endured for more than 200 years. His firm evolved into the present day Rice, Heard & Bigelow, which is committed to carrying on Mr. Minot’s tradition of individual – not corporate – trusteeship for clients who desire personal attention to their investments, estate plans and tax matters.

As the first private trustee office in the nation, Rice, Heard & Bigelow is now one of the few places where individuals and families can go for professional management of their personal assets and affairs by people serving as their trustees. This is unique in the world of trust companies, corporate trustees, national banks and institutional investment advisors. Rather than follow the modern corporate model, RHB has remained independent and driven by the quality of its people and its clients. The firm remains based in Boston and serves generations of families across the country and around the world.

Boston Evening Transcript article printed on January 5, 1935 about the members of Minot, DeBlois & Maddison, predecessor firm to Rice, Heard & Bigelow.


In describing the role of the private trustee, a Boston Evening Transcript article printed on January 5, 1935 referred to the members of Minot, DeBlois & Maddison, predecessor firm to RHB, as follows: “The Boston Trustee is known over all the country as an outstanding example of the man [sic] who serves ably and honestly those who entrust to him the care of property and the conserving and upbuilding of estates.” These words are as appropriate a description of the current trustees at RHB as they were of the early trustees of the firm. In more recent times, the prominent philanthropist Charles E. Cotting established a trust upon his death in 1985 to assist students and faculty at the Harvard Business School. He named members of RHB to manage this trust, which is now the largest of its kind to benefit Harvard University.

Since 1782 the world has undergone radical changes. Trustees at RHB and its predecessor firms have come and gone. Yet the dedication to personal service and the commitment to a standard of excellence in working with and understanding each individual, family or charity remain the same today. Whether the matter is a complicated trust administration, the settlement of an estate or navigating a difficult family situation, clients rely heavily upon the firm’s rich blend of legal, investment and tax professionals. It is our mission to be a safe harbor for those looking for independent advice, honesty, responsiveness and trust, all of which Mr. Minot instilled in this firm more than 200 years ago.

Timeline

1782

Four years after graduating Harvard as valedictorian, George Richards Minot nailed his sign to an elm tree on Court Street in Boston’s financial district and created the first private trustee office in the US. George Richards Minot was elected clerk to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, a post he served dutifully for ten years alongside several future American presidents.

1800

George Richards Minot was selected by citizens of Boston as “Orator” of the city to deliver eulogy on death of George Washington.

1802

John Quincy Adams eulogized George Richards Minot, as recorded in the minutes of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

1874

Sarah Devens established a perpetual charitable trust for “virtuous” elderly women that is still being administered today by RHB trustees.

1880

William Minot distributed over $125,000 to Boston after 50 years of administering as trustee the $4,000 in funds left by Benjamin Franklin.

1894

William Minot Jr. and other trustees were listed among the largest 15 Boston taxpayers.

1909

Upon her death, Elizabeth Fay Brigham created a perpetual charitable trust to benefit the Robert Brigham hospital, on which RHB trustees currently serve.

1933

DeBlois & Maddison was listed by the Boston Globe as the city’s largest taxpayer.

1935

Minot, Williams & Bangs was formed via the combination of the Minot trustee office with Williams & Bangs.

1949

Minot, DeBlois & Maddison was formed creating the nation’s oldest real estate, investment and fiduciary management firm.

1983

RHB was formed to focus solely on serving as individual trustees, while Minot DeBlois & Maddison maintained the real estate management and consulting firm.

1985

Prominent philanthropist Charles E. Cotting established a charitable corporation to benefit the Harvard Business School on which RHB trustees continue to serve.

2009

Minot DeBlois Advisors was formed. This wholly-owned subsidiary is a registered investment advisor that allows the management of assets not in trust, including other accounts held by existing clients such as individual accounts and IRAs for those who desire a fiduciary investment philosophy.