The first attempt to sort the papers fifty boxes full

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The first attempt to sort the papers---fifty boxes full-- took place in 1902, under the direction of George E. Kirkpatrick, Superintendent of the Girard Estate. The work continued off and on for 16 years. By the end of 1903, approximately 18,000 letters-received predating 1817 were sorted and listed. Additionally, all letters up to 1811 had been cleaned, repaired and pressed and 2600 pieces of pre-1795 papers were translated. Very few letters predating Girard’s 1776 arrival in Philadelphia were found and most of those related to family matters. By 1905 all the documents were ready for briefing, indexing and filing. Also, copies of all outgoing letters were in one unbound and 23 bound volumes, and they numbered more than 25,000. Since Girard often received and wrote letters in French, they had to be translated. Continuing into 1906, “ papers other then letters were classified, listed , packed in chests and returned to Girard 15
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College.” These papers included bills, canceled checks, deposit books, memos relating to law suits, farm accounts, bills of lading, insurance policies, and books and pamphlets belonging to Girard’s library. 32 In March 1913 the Board appropriated $5,000 and commissioned Dr. John Bach McMaster, a Professor of American History at the University of Pennsylvania, to write a biography of Stephen Girard. In preparation for the biography, 57,000 letters and document were mounted, cleaned and bound and Dr. Max Goepp spent three years translating the papers. Due to the excessive costs, and the fact that Dr. Goepp entered the war service in 1918, the translation and processing of the papers was not completed. McMaster used the papers extensively in writing his two volumes entitled The Life and Times of Stephen Girard, Mariner and Merchant, published in 1918. The papers include a view of Girard’s personal matters such as his quarrels with brother John and their complete estrangement for a period of two years. Then they reveal Stephen’s patience and his generous response when, broken in health and fortune, John applied for assistance. Also, further family affairs tell of deaths of John, and his wife, Eleanor, as a consequence of which Mr. Girard took into his family the three orphaned daughters, who made their home with him until their several marriages. The papers reveal the distressing illness of Mrs. Stephen Girard (Mary Lum), to whom he was most devotedly attached, which illness, developing into one of the most trying forms of insanity, finally compelled her confinement in an asylum until she died in 1815. There are accounts of the epidemic of yellow fever in which Mr. Girard was among the first to suffer and recover. There are accounts of the marriage of his niece Marie Antoinette Girard to John Hemphill, and the arrival in Philadelphia of two nephews, sons of brother Etienne, who would live with Girard and whom Girard would pay to have educated. In addition to educating two nephews, Girard also accepted responsibility for a distant relative, Stephen Girard Fennimore. The marriage of his niece Henrietta to Henri Lallemand, a general in Bonaparte’s army, who had defected to America is described in 1819 letters.
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  • Fall '19
  • Test, Second Bank of the United States, Stephen Girard, Marie Antoinette Girard

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