Girard papers  1780-1870 (bulk 1793-1870)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection contains 18 business letters written by Philadelphia merchant Stephen Girard, as well as approximately 25 legal and financial documents concerning his professional affairs in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Also included are 17 partially printed bank checks drawn on Girard and about 170 bills and receipts related to the expenses of Girard College, a school founded by a bequest in Stephen Girard's will. The collection is arranged in two series: Correspondence, and Documents and Financial Records. The Documents and Financial Records are divided in two subseries: Stephen Girard and Girard College, and Israel Kinsman and Kinsman & Wright bank checks.

The Correspondence series consists of 18 letters from Stephen Girard to business acquaintances concerning his shipping interests between 1787 and 1829. The first 2 letters, dated March and April 1787, were written in French and addressed to Garnier of Spring Hill, New Jersey. Girard wrote one letter to F. D. Petit du Villers of Savannah, Georgia, about the shipment of Georgia pine wood (February 21, 1810); one to Allen M. Lane, an official in Wilmington, Delaware (April 22, 1812); and six to William Adgate, supercargo of Girard's ship Good Friends (August 5, 1811-May 20, 1812). In his letters to Adgate, Girard discussed the Non-Importation Act's effects on foreign trade and provided him with instructions as the Good Friends sailed between Newcastle, England, and Amelia Island, Georgia.

Girard sent 8 letters to eight different recipients between June 19, 1814, and June 27, 1829 - all related to his shipping interests. In a letter to David Parish of Washington, D.C., dated June 19, 1814, he expressed his thoughts on peace and on his recent meetings with John Jacob Astor. On December 3, 1827, he wrote to Secretary of State Henry Clay respecting French spoliation claims originally filed on June 4, 1795. Girard's final letter advised Captain Levi Bardin of the North America that the ship was to sail from Alexandria, Virginia, to Amsterdam, Netherlands, with a load of tobacco (June 27, 1829).

The Documents and Financial Records series is divided into two subseries: Stephen Girard and Girard College , and Israel Kinsman and Kinsman & Wright bank checks . The Stephen Girard and Girard College subseries contains materials related to Stephen Girard's shipping and financial interests ([February] 1781-March 20, 1827) and to the operations of Girard College (March 13, 1857-January 12, 1870). Approximately 25 receipts, bills of sale, accounts, inventories, contracts, and other documents relate to Stephen Girard's business affairs. Many of these items are partially printed documents, signed by Stephen Girard. Several early documents were written in French. Four documents include values of specific ships' cargoes and relevant duties. At least one item, a subscription form, pertains to the Second Bank of the United States (January 14, 1817), and another reflects shipping insurance purchased from Samuel Coates (November 23, 1793).

This subseries also contains approximately 170 bills and receipts issued to Girard College for a variety of supplies, including foodstuffs, cleaning supplies, and clothing. The largest portion concerns vegetables and meats, and everyday items, such as brooms and pails, cloth, and shoes. Others reflect the costs of keeping up the building, such as painting the college, repairing one of its boilers, purchasing coal, and paying wages.

The Israel Kinsman and Kinsman & Wright bank checks subseries consists of 17 partially printed checks, drawn on "Stephen Girard, Banker" by Philadelphia merchants Israel Kinsman and Kinsman & Wright (January 21, 1818-December 22, 1824).

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