The Winterthur Library

 The Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera





Creator:          Girard College                                     

Title:               Records

Dates:             1832-1907

Call No.:         Col. 790

Acc. No.:         05x70

Quantity:        2 boxes (ca. 0.6 cu. ft.)

Location:        15 K 1






Girard College was established under the terms of the will of Stephen Girard (1750-1831).  Stephen (original name: Etienne) Girard was born near Bordeaux, France, the son of Pierre Girard and his wife, Ann Odette Lafargue.  Pierre was a sea captain and merchant.  Stephen himself went to sea at age 13 or 14 and was a sailor for several years.  In 1776, he established himself as a merchant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; he later went into banking and finance and was probably the richest man in the United States when he died on December 26, 1831. 


Stephen Girard was married but had no children, and most of his estate was left to the city of Philadelphia for the purpose of financing a residential school to educate “poor male white orphan children.”  Most of the money was invested, primarily in bank stock, real estate, and coal fields, with the rest going towards building a magnificent classroom building and dormitories.  Girard College, as the school was named, opened for classes on January 1, 1848.  The school is still in operation, still residential, but is now open to boys and girls of all races, who lack one or both parents or who reside with a foster family.  During its first century, Girard College prepared its students for apprenticeships and jobs in trade.  Today, the school has a college preparatory curriculum.  The original building, now called Founder’s Hall, was designed by the noted architect Thomas Ustick Walter.


Girard’s money was left to the Girard Estate or Girard Trust.  For about 30 years, the estate trust fund was overseen by Philadelphia City Council.  However, as the city council had a number of trust funds to oversee, the management became unwieldy and in the 1860s, the city established a Board of Directors of City Trusts.  This board, a department of city government, still manages the Girard Estate trust fund, as well as all other trust monies left to Philadelphia.





The collection documents expenses for two different but related entities: the Girard Estate (a trust fund) and the Girard College.  The expenses for the estate relate to properties owned by that entity: rental properties in Philadelphia and coal fields and other rental properties in Schuylkill and Columbia Counties, Pennsylvania.  Bills from carpenters, painters, landscapers, hardware stores, wallpaper hangers, and others list the addresses of the rental properties being built, repaired, or updated.  Bills for meetings of the trustees of the estate and for employees of the estate are also found.  Most of the pre-1870 bills were addressed to the Girard Trust.  Although the location was not always specified, most of the work covered by these bills seems not to be related to the college, either the building of it in the 1830s and 1840s, or the maintaining of the grounds or buildings after its opening in 1848.  Two items relate to architect Thomas Ustick Walter: one item is a bill from him to the Girard Estate for work to be done on the Girard Bank building and the other is an order to pay him for work on Girard College.


As well, there are materials relating to Girard College.  Letters about students list names of those whose time to leave had come.  Some students were expelled for misconduct; others had to leave because their mothers could take care of them; and a few left because “places” (apprenticeships or jobs) had been found for them.  The school provided the students with clothing, medical care, eyeglasses, textbooks, food, and bedding; bills for all these expenses are found in the collection.  Some of the bills mention the students for whom the goods were purchased, such as clothing, shoes, or eyeglasses for specific students.  Of interest is the bill for the funeral of a student who died in 1890.  Some bills for payroll expenses are also found; they list employees by name and usually mention an employee’s position.  Many of the post-1870 bills were addressed to Girard College.    





The papers were divided by topic, and with a few exceptions, are arranged chronologically within each folder.  Utility bills were arranged by utility (for example, electric, gas) and then chronologically.





Purchased from the Book Garden Gallery.





            Walter, Thomas Ustick, 1804-1887.



            Girard Estate (Philadelphia, Pa.)

            Building – PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia – 19th century.

            House construction - PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia – 19th century.

            Schools – Furniture, equipment, etc.

            Textbooks – United States – 19th century.

            Boarding schools - PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia.


Funeral rites and ceremonies - PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia.


Taxation - PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia.

Trusts and trustees.








Location: 15 K 1


Box 1:


Folder 1:          advertising expenses incurred by Girard Estate, 1844, 1846, 1884, 1889, 1890, 1894;

mostly for advertising properties for rent


Folder 2:          “bills for rebuilding market houses on High St. ordered to be paid by the Committee on City Property,” 1836 [title of folder from wrapper], bills sent to Benjamin Jones, Jr., treasurer of Girard Trusts


Folder 3:          bills: books and maps; mostly textbooks and library books for Girard College; other books as well, 1847, 1878-1894


Folder 4:          bills: bricks, stones, brickwork, paving, 1833, 1834, 1845-1846, 1851-1852, 1858, 1861, 1879, 1886, 1894;

                        Many of the bills have the addresses of the property for which the materials were provided, and none of those addresses are the college.


Folder 5:          carpenters’ bills to Girard Estate, 1833, 1835, 1844-1845, 1847, 1852-1853, 1856, 1858, 1860-1861, 1876, 1880;

                        Mostly for repairs; address of site where work was done is usually given


Folder 6:          bills: classroom equipment and instructional materials (not books) for Girard College1885, 1889-1890, 1893


Folder 7:          bills: clothes and fabric for Girard College, 1875, 1877, 1884, 1889, 1894, 1906;

Sometimes the student for whom the clothes were purchased is mentioned, but other goods, such as 240 dozen collars, were for the matron’s stock.  A bill from 1894 is for military goods, possibly for a student drill unit.


Folder 8:          bills: coal and firewood for Girard Estate and Girard College, wood: 1847, 1889; coal: 1832, 1845, 1847, 1856-1858, 1861, 1876-1880, 1889-1890


Folder 9:          drug store bills for Girard College, 1879, 1884-1885, 1887, 1889-1890


Folder 10:        expense reports and miscellaneous bills for Girard Estate and Girard College, 1832, 1836, 1845-1847, 1852, 1858, 1875, 1880, 1884, 1890;

Includes a blank petition form from Oldham Blue Coat School, no location given, which was used to nominate boys to be taken into said school.

Some orders give pocket money; the people receiving this money are probably students.  Their names are given.


Folder 11:        farm bills, address to for Girard Estate (many for fence posts, rails, panels, shingles, and other lumber), 1835, 1846-1847, 1890, 1894, no date

                        [see also bills for lumber and fencing in Box 2]


Folder 12:        bills: food and beverages for Girard College, 1875-1894, 1907


Folder 13:        bills: food, beverages, refreshments, and cigars for Girard Estate, 1835, 1844-1847


Folder 14:        bill to Girard College for funeral expenses of Howard Kilpatrick, 1890


Folder 15:        Girard Estate: expenses related to land owned in Schuylkill and Columbia Counties1847, 1858, 1879, 1889-1894;

                        The Girard Estate had offices in Pottsville and Girardville, Pennsylvania.


Folder 16:        goods purchased for Girard Estate, 1835-1894


Folder 17:        goods purchased for Girard College, 1880-1894


Folder 18:        bills: hair cuts at Girard College, 1880-1881, 1890


Folder 19:        bills: hardware for Girard Estate and Girard College, 1844-1847, 1851, 1861, 1880, 1889-1890;

                        The hardware bills addressed to Girard Estate sometimes indicate the address of the property to which the goods were delivered.


Folder 20:        bills: harnesses, saddlery, stable expenses for Girard College, 1880, 1890


Folder 21:        bills: household furnishings: pots, pans, brooms, dishes, corks, furniture, mattresses, etc., mostly for Girard College, 1832, 1844-1847, 1875-1894


Folder 22:        bills: ice for Girard Estate and Girard College, 1847, 1890, 1894


Folder 23:        insurance bills for Girard Estate, 1872, 1876, 1890


Folder 24:        landscaping bills for Girard Estate and Girard College, 1845-1847, 1857-1858, 1881, 1889-1890, 1894;

                        Some of the plants were for the estate offices in Pottsville, while others were for various properties in Philadelphia (addresses given), and for the college itself.  Also, work was done on a playground for the college.




Box 2:


Folder 1:          Letters about students at Girard College, 1880, 1890, 1896-1898;

In 1898, Henry B. Lafferty wrote the Board of Directors of City Trusts to inform them that some college alumni are planning to form a regiment to serve “in the present war.”


Folder 2:          letters concerning Girard Estate lands in Schuylkill and Columbia Counties, 1871-1872.

                        The estate owned coal fields and other rental properties in these counties.


Folder 3:          bills: lumber and fencing for Girard Estate and Girard College, 1832-1833, 1844-1845, 1851-1852, 1857-1858, 1861, 1879-1880, 1889-1890, 1894

                        [see also bills for farms in Box 1]


Folder 4:          bills: medical expenses and eyeglasses for Girard College students, 1880, 1884, 1890, 1894;

                        Students’ names are included on the bills.


Folder 5:          minutes and resolutions by Girard Estate and City of Philadelphia, 1858, 1860;

                        About building houses on Brown Street


Folder 6:          bills: office supplies, typewriters, postage, printing charges, photographs, for Girard College and Girard Estate; 1833, 1835, 1844-1847, 1858, 1875-1876, 1880-1881, 1889-1890, 18931894


Folder 7:          bills: painting, gilding, 1832-1833, 1844-1847, 1857-1858, 1861, 1875-1876, 1880-1881, 1884, 1890;

A bill from 1875 mentions painting the walls and ceiling of the swimming pool at the college.


Folder 8:          payment requests to Girard Estate, July 13, 1843;

                        The person to be paid is named, but not what the payment is for.


Folder 9:          plasterers’ bills to Girard Estate and Girard College, 1845-1846, 1858, 1861, 1907


Folder 10:        bills: privies, cesspools, wells – Girard Estate, 1834, 1845-1847, 1861


Folder 11:        rent: money due and commissions for collecting rent for Girard Estate1833-1834, 1847, 1890, 1893-1894


Folder 12:        bills to Girard Estate for “repairing pebble pavement, Delaware Avenue, 1847”


Folder 13:        repairs and work done at Girard College1880-1894


Folder 14:        repairs and work done for Girard Estate, 1833-1847


Folder 15:        repairs and work done for Girard Estate, 1850s


Folder 16:        repairs and work done for Girard Estate, 1860-1889


Folder 17:        royalties on coal from Girard Estate properties, 1871-1872


Folder 18:        salaries, wages, payroll paid by Girard College, 1890


Folder 19:        salaries, wages, payroll paid by Girard Estate or Girard Trust, 1832, 1845, 1857-1858, 1861, 1872, 1879, 1889-1890, 1894


Folder 20:        salaries, wages, payroll paid by Girard Estate in Schuylkill and Columbia Counties,1889-1890, 1894


Folder 21:        scraps, wrappers


Folder 22:        shipping, hauling, drayage charges – Girard College and Girard Estate, 1833, 1847, 1852, 1858, 1861, 1880, 1884. 1889, 1893


Folder 23:        bills: shoes, boots, slippers for Girard College, 1875, 1880, 1884-1885, 1894;

                        Some of the bills include students’ names.


Folder 24:        bills: soap for Girard College, 1875, 1881, 1890, 1894


Folder 25:        bills: subscriptions (magazines, newspapers) for Girard College and Girard Estate, 1846-1847, 1880, 1884, 1893-1894


Folder 26:        taxes owed by Girard Estate, 1833-1834, 1845, 1847, 1857, 1872, 1879


Folder 27:        bills: trunks and bags for Girard College, 1880-1881, 1885, 1889


Folder 28:        utilities: gas, water, electricity for Girard College and Girard Estate, 1834, 1846-1847, 1857, 1889, 1894


Folder 29:        bills: wallpaper and paper hanging for Girard Estate, 1832-1833, 1835, 1844—1847, 1858, 1861, 1876, 1879, 1884, 1889, 1894;

                        The address of the building where the paper was hung is usually given.


Folder 30:        Walter, Thomas Ustick: architect fees:

July 1, 1843, payment of $375 due to Walter from Building Committee of Girard College, to be paid by Treasurer of the Girard Trust;

January 6, 1846, bill from Walter to Commissioners of the Girard Estates for designs and estimates for alteration of Girard Bank; on paper watermarked Philadelphia.