Graduating from Harvard in the class of 1843, Mr. Richardson studied law privately and then entered the Harvard Law School. In 1846 he received the degrees of A. M. and LL. B. Since 1848, when he was admitted to the Suffolk County Bar, Judge Richardson's life has been one of great activity. From 1850 to 1859 he aided very actively in the revision of the General Statutes of Massachusetts. In 1856 he was appointed judge of probate in Middlesex County and occupied that position till 1872. Beginning with the year 1869 he served two terms as an overseer of Harvard College. Judge Richardson's connection with the federal government began in 1869 when he was appointed Assistant Secretary of the Treasury by President Grant. In 1873 he succeeded Secretary Boutwell as Secretary of the Treasury. In the following year Judge Richardson accepted a seat in the United States Court of Claims, of which he has been Chief Justice for eleven years.
Judge Richardson was a law lecturer for many years at Georgetown College and the Columbian University. From these two institutions, as well as Dartmouth College, he received the degree of LL. D.
Among Judge Richardson's numerous publications on financial and judicial subjects are "Banking Laws of Massachusets" and "Practical Information Concerning the Debt of the United States." He also prepared and edited a "Supplement to the Revised Statutes of the United States" and a "History of the Court of Claims."