About the Founder



Abraham C. Ratshesky was born in Boston in 1866, the son of Jewish immigrants. In 1895, at the age of 30, “Cap” and his brother Israel founded the United States Trust Company. This “Jewish” bank, the first in Boston, responded to the needs of the rising immigrant population by providing access to capital and banking services not otherwise available to these individuals.

Cap was a social activist and understood the power of political persuasion. He was a member of the Massachusetts Republican State Committee, a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1904, and a represen­tative in the Massachusetts State Legislature. From 1930 to 1932, Cap served as United States Minister to Czechoslovakia.

Cap was also a philanthropist. He was among the founders of the Beth Israel Hospital, and donated the building in which the Boston Chapter of the American Red Cross was first headquartered.

In December 1917, Cap helped organize and finance a medical relief team which was dispatched to Nova Scotia in response to the “Halifax Disaster.” In appreciation, the city of Halifax presented a large evergreen to the city of Boston the following November. Boston designated this gift as its “official” Christmas tree, thus establishing a tradition which has continued for more than eighty years.

Cap also served as treasurer of the “Pennies Campaign,” a national effort undertaken in the 1920′s to save “Old Ironsides,” which was then in danger of being decommissioned by the United States Navy. The campaign generated more than $150,000 in contributions from thousands of school children throughout the country.