Financial History Issue 131 (Fall 2019) - Page 32

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The First Boston Corporation By Susie J. Pak Massachusetts Bank (f. 1784, Boston) In 1784, the Massachusetts Bank was founded by a group of Boston merchants: William Phillips, Isaac Smith, Jonathan Mason, Thomas Russell, John Lowell, Stephen Higginson, Edward Payne, John Hurd and Moses Michael Hays. The Mas- sachusetts Bank was “The first independent joint-stock bank in the United States and the second Bank to receive a State Char- ter.” It “was established to aid business and provide a bank in New England trade that were then being done by the British bank [The Bank of England] in London.” The first president of the bank, James Bowdoin, was the former governor of the common- wealth and a fellow of Harvard. First National Bank of Boston signage bearing the founding date of its earliest predecessor, the Massachusetts Bank, 1784. Massachusetts National Bank (f. 1865, Boston) The First National Bank of Boston (1903, Boston) In 1865, after the Civil War, the Massa- chusetts Bank joined the national banking system and became the Massachusetts National Bank. In 1903, the Massachusetts National Bank merged with The First National Bank of Boston. (A descen- dant of the Safety Fund Bank founded in 1859, First National Bank of Boston acquired its name in 1863 after it also joined the national banking system.) The newly merged bank was called The First National Bank of Boston. Daniel Gould Wing served as the bank’s president from 1903 until 1926, after which he served as chairman of the board. Wing was a native of Davenport, Iowa, and was raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, where his childhood friends included Vice President of the United States Charles G. Dawes, Army General John G. Pershing and Harvard Law School Dean Roscoe Pound. 30    FINANCIAL HISTORY  |  Fall 2019  | First National Corporation of Boston (subsidiary, f. 1918, Boston) The First National-Old Colony Corporation (subsidiary, f. 1929, Boston) In 1918, the First National Bank invested $2.5 million in the newly formed First National Corporation of Boston, an investment subsidiary. After the Crash of 1929, the First National Bank of Boston took over the Old Colony Trust Company, including Old Colony’s securities affiliate, Old Colony Corporation. The name of its investment subsidiary was then changed to The First National-Old Colony Corpo- ration. After the passage of the Banking Act of 1933 required commercial banks to withdraw from the investment bank- ing business, The First National-Old Col- ony Corporation was spun off from First National, combined with the securities affiliate of Chase National Bank. Chase National Bank was founded in 1877 in New York. Its founder, John Thompson, had been one of the founders