Collections & Research

The artifacts, letters records of Stephen Girard are of local and national significance. The physical and digital collections housed in Founder’s Hall are available for researchers and educators alike.

Our incomparable Director of Historical Resources, Kathy Haas, is happy to assist you with accessing content both on campus and online.

Museum Collections

The Stephen Girard Artifact Collection is Philadelphia’s greatest intact single-owner collection from the early national period. The items of the collection, ranging in time period from 1780 to 1830, include furniture, silver, paintings, ceramics and textiles owned and used by Stephen Girard in his Philadelphia townhome.

The rare survival of both artifacts and archives means that for many objects, we know the original maker, year of manufacture and the purchase price, which makes ours a touchstone collection for other institutions with related artifacts. Of the furnishings, most were made in Philadelphia, France or China, while the extensive silver collection represents products of Philadelphia, France and England.

Most of the Stephen Girard artifacts are included in the illustrated catalog “The Stephen Girard Collection” (Girard College, 1980) available for $5.00 plus shipping.

Museum Archives

The Girard College Legacy Collection at Founder’s Hall includes ephemeral items that detail the history of the school from its opening in 1848 to the present. This collection includes a wide variety of memorabilia relating to the students, faculty and campus.

The architectural drawings collection is a group of documents that contains many of T.U. Walter’s drawings for the construction of the original Girard College campus and most of the drawings entered in the 1832 Founder’s Hall architectural competition.

Most of the images from the architectural drawings collection are published in “Monument to Philanthropy: The Design and Building of Girard College 1832-47 (Girard College, 1998).” available for $35.00 plus shipping.

Resources for Educators

Girard College welcomes school groups of all grade levels from elementary through post-collegiate for tours and activities in our collections. Visits can include a general museum tour or focus on a specific topic, such as a roof-to-foundation architectural tour of the monumental Founder’s Hall building, tracing the fate of yellow fever victims from 1793, puzzling through an escape room based on original documents from the war of 1812, or learning about the 1968 desegregation of Girard College and the civil rights movement in Philadelphia. Visits can also be customized to meet the needs of specific classes, drawing from all areas of our collections, including maritime history, the China trade, life in 19th-century Philadelphia, education history, and much more.

Special Curriculum: The Desegregation of Girard College

Catalogs & Digital Collections

The Historical Collections Database contains searchable catalog records for the Stephen Girard Collection of decorative arts, Stephen Girard’s personal library, and segments of the Girard College History Collections. Additional segments of the historical collections will be added to the catalog as they are completed.

Historic publications digitized by Girard College can be found on the Girard College Historical Collections page on archive.org; this currently includes all yearbooks published 1930-1979. Publications about Stephen Girard and Girard College digitized by other institutions can also be found through Internet Archive and Google Books.

Historical Collections Database

Girard College Historical Collections

Digitized Publications – Internet Archive

Digitized Publications – Google Books

Stephen Girard Letters

The incoming and outgoing letters in the Stephen Girard papers were indexed in the early 20th century by sender, recipient and topic. Explore the PDFs below.

A-B index C-D index E-G index H-L index M-P index T-Z index Q-S index

For an archive of incoming and outgoing correspondence, year-by-year receipt books, records of his bank, ship log books, maps and charts, and his personal library, the Stephen Girard Papers are available on microfilm to scholars at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia.

Student Archives Search

At no cost, we can confirm by email whether a student attended Girard College and their dates of entry and departure.

We offer a fee-based research service for descendants interested in further information about former Girard College students. This service is primarily designed to assist family genealogists with a former student’s home addresses, parents’ names, etc.