Our Stories

1919 - 1942: History at a Glance



The firm that would eventually become Barnes, Richardson & Colburn was founded in New York City in 1919 as Barnes, Chilvers & Halstead.

The firm’s three founding partners were Albert MacC. Barnes, Jr., Mr. Chilvers, and Frank M. Halstead. Barnes and Halstead had significant experience in the trade arena.

We’ve learned they founded the firm after both holding leadership positions in the Federal government.

Chilvers, on the other hand, has not left a significant paper trail therefore we know little about him.

Original Office located at 2 Rector Street, New York


The earliest documentation of the firm in Customs or court records that has been uncovered (so far) is Treasury Decision 38397 (May 4, 1920) decided before the United States Board of General Appraisers, which was a distant predecessor to the Court of International Trade.

The case itself regarded the exaction of duties against the Niagara Ferry & Transportation Company by the collector of customs at the Port of Buffalo.

Unfortunately, Mr. Barnes was not successful in his efforts to secure a refund. However, the decision highlights a number of changes that have occurred in customs and trade law since our founding in 1919 that we will explore in future entries.


Samuel Richardson joined the firm in July of 1933, having previously held the position of Solicitor of Customs at New York.

When Richardson joined the firm, the partners agreed upon the name Barnes, Richardson & Halstead.

2 Rector Street, New York



J. Bradley Colburn, born in 1903, attended law school at George Washington University.

He spent a year in the Consular Service in London in the 1920s and was assistant to the General Counsel at the U.S. Tariff Commission from 1924 to 1928 predecessor to the U.S. International Trade Commission).

Colburn entered private practice in 1928 and in January 1935, he joined the firm.


The partners adopted the name Barnes, Richardson & Colburn on October 1, 1942 and it has remained since.