Richard M. Tobin

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Richard M. Tobin
Richard M. Tobin.jpg
U.S. Minister to the Netherlands
In office
May 1, 1923 – August 29, 1929
PresidentCalvin Coolidge
Preceded byWilliam Phillips
Succeeded byGerrit J. Diekema
Personal details
Richard Montgomery Tobin

April 9, 1866
San Francisco, California
DiedJanuary 23, 1952(1952-01-23) (aged 85)
San Francisco, California
Political partyRepublican
Florence Adele Sloane Burden
(m. 1936; his death 1952)
ParentsRichard Tobin
Mary Regan
Alma materSt. Ignatius College
AwardsGrand Cross of Orange-Nassau
Knight of the Order of Malta
Légion d'honneur

Richard Montgomery Tobin (April 9, 1866 – January 23, 1952) was an American banker and diplomat. He was a civic leader and philanthropist in San Francisco, California and served as United States Minister to the Netherlands.

Early life[edit]

Richard Montgomery Tobin was born in San Francisco on April 9, 1866. He was the son of Mary (née Regan) Tobin and Richard Tobin, one of the earliest leaders of California after it became a possession of the United States. He was educated at St. Ignatius College (now the University of San Francisco).[1]


In 1889, he became an officer and member of the board of directors of the Hibernia Savings & Loan Association (later the Hibernia Bank), which had been founded by his father and uncle. He became Secretary and Treasurer in 1906, and President in 1933.[2] Tobin was also involved in politics as a progressive Republican.[3][4]

Tobin maintained homes in San Mateo and San Francisco, and was active in several San Francisco organizations as a board member, officer, and benefactor, including the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, San Francisco Musical Association, and Catholic church.[5][6][7][8]

Tobin joined the United States Navy Reserve for World War I, receiving a commission as a Lieutenant in December, 1917. He served in France throughout the war, working at the U.S. embassy as the officer in charge of cable traffic between Europe and the U.S., including censoring messages to ensure that secrets were not unintentionally revealed.[9]

After the war Tobin remained in Europe, serving as an assistant to the U.S. Naval attaché and a member of the staff supporting the U.S. Commission which took part in negotiating the Treaty of Versailles.[10] He received the Legion of Honor from France in recognition of his military service.[11]

In 1923, Tobin was appointed U.S. Minister to the Netherlands, and he served until 1929.[12][13][14] At the completion of his service he was presented with the Grand Cross of Orange-Nassau.[15] In 1931 he was made a Knight of the Order of Malta.[16] Tobin was initially also appointed as Ambassador to Luxembourg, which had been a dual appointment with the Netherlands for several years. He did not serve in this post because it was established as a separate embassy in 1923.[17]

Foreign awards[edit]

NLD Order of Orange-Nassau - Knight Grand Cross BAR.png Knight Grand Cross with Swords of the Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands) 1929

Personal life[edit]

Tobin remained a bachelor until 1936, when he married Florence Adele Sloane Burden (1873–1960), the widow of wealthy businessman James Burden.[18] Mrs. Tobin was the daughter of Emily Thorn Vanderbilt and great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt.[19][20]

Tobin died in San Francisco on January 23, 1952.[21] He was buried in San Mateo's Holy Cross Cemetery.[22]


  1. ^ Harper Publishing, Who's who on the Pacific Coast, 1913, page 565
  2. ^ Georgina Pell Curtis, Benedict Elder, The American Catholic Who's Who, 1911, page 654
  3. ^ New York Times, Tobin Supports Tubbs in Senatorial Battle, July 17, 1932
  4. ^ New York Times, Tobin out for Johnson: Former Minister to Netherlands Praises Senator's Work, March 18, 1934
  5. ^ New York Times, Tobin Heads Musical Body, April 16, 1933
  6. ^ New York Times, San Francisco Acts to Fund Orchestra, January 24, 1935
  7. ^ San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Programs of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Volume 52, 1961, title page
  8. ^ San Francisco Museum of Art, Program, Opening with the Fifty-Fifth Annual Exhibition of the San Francisco Art Association, 1935, title page
  9. ^ John William Leonard, Who's Who in Finance, Banking, and Insurance, 1922, page 684
  10. ^ James Terry White, The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Volume 41, 1967, page 155
  11. ^ History of Music Project, Fifty Local Prodigies, 1906-1940, 1940, page 194
  12. ^ Los Angeles Times, Diplomatic Post for San Franciscan: President Names Tobin to be Minister to Netherlands, February 28, 1923
  13. ^ Hartford Courant, Diekema Appointed Minister to Holland, August 21, 1929
  14. ^ Minister Richard M. Tobin pays an official visit to Amsterdam, at YouTube.
  15. ^ New York Times, Tobin Back, Reviews Europe's New Faith, October 31, 1929
  16. ^ New York Times, R. M. Tobin is Made a Knight of Malta, December 17, 1931
  17. ^ Office of the Historian, U.S. Department of State, Biographical summary, Richard Montgomery Tobin, accessed December 12, 2012
  18. ^ New York Times, Mrs. J.A. Burden Wed to Richard M. Tobin, July 7, 1936
  19. ^ New York Magazine, James Burden Mansion, June 5, 1995, page 86
  20. ^ New York Times, Obituary, Mrs. R. M. Tobin, January 11, 1960
  21. ^ New York Times, Richard M. Tobin, Former Diplomat: Ex-Minister to the Netherlands, President of Hibernia Bank in San Francisco, Dies at 85, January 24, 1952
  22. ^ San Mateo Times, Death Notice, Richard M. Tobin, January 25, 1952
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
William Phillips
U.S. Minister to the Netherlands
Succeeded by
Gerrit J. Diekema