Herbert Schildt, "C++ Nuts & Bolts for Experienced Programmers", Osborne McGraw-Hill, 1995. (Yes, Schildt has gotten flack for technical errors / flaws on C++ in his books, and yes, this book wasn't intended to be a reference).
When was Boost created? late 90s. Before Boost there was the HP and SGI STL, which I gather inspired the standardised STL (and Boost?), and iostream. That work dates from the early 90s AFAICT. The SGI STL page doesn't seem to have any kind of smart pointer, dated 1994. C++98 has the auto_ptr, but it apparently is flawed. The early Boost pages reference this: http://web.archive.org/web/19991222182604/http://www.boos... which references books discussing smart pointer programming *patterns* from '92, '94.
I know this stuff is all trivial to you, but it does seem to me that it took about 10 to 15 years (80s to mid/late 90s) for leading C++ programmers to agree on patterns for dealing with exception safety, such as RAII, then getting some kind of smart pointer support in the language (standard or generally available libraries) in order to cope with remaining pitfalls in C++ RAII+exceptions. That smart pointer support then needed further refinement in the mid/late 90s and early 2000s to get to where we are today.
That doesn't quite suggest to me that this stuff is quite as trivial as you suggest to is. Finally, even with smart pointers, I still don't find exception handling code that uses them to be non-trivial! However, you do seem be a superior breed of programmer to the rest of us, so perhaps that's the reason for the discrepancy in views ;). (Intended as a gentle jibe, I hope you'll accept it in that spirit).