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Stephen Girard

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NEWS
May 15, 1998 | BY FRANK GERACE
On Founder's Day tomorrow, Girard College will celebrate its founder's 248th birthday and the school's 15Oth anniversary. What should be a gala year may be tarnished by the poor image of Stephen Girard. A recent series in another newspaper encouraged the notion that Girard was a racist and the school institutionally racist. The facts do not support these assumptions. Girard's first encounter with racial controversy was during the Revolutionary War. He fitted out one of his vessels as a privateer to capture black slaves from the enemy.
NEWS
October 13, 2002 | By Peter Binzen
He was strong-willed and public-spirited, a wealthy man with concern for those less fortunate. He was determined to have an impact on future generations, and he did just that. His legacy to the Philadelphia region is a marvelous institution with few peers. But he had his quirks. He laid down very specific rules for the operation of and admission to his institution. And because of his unyielding stance, his executors found it difficult to adjust to social and economic changes as time went by. What resulted was ugly infighting that the founder surely would have detested.
NEWS
May 1, 1991 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
In August 1965, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood outside the high stone walls encircling Girard College in the city's Fairmount section. "It is a sad experience to stand at this wall in the 20th century in Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty," Dr. King told 3,000 demonstrators massed outside the school Stephen Girard established in the 19th century to educate orphaned white boys. "It is a kind of Berlin Wall to keep the colored children of God out. " Three years later, the racial barriers fell, and four black students enrolled in the free boarding school for elementary and secondary students.
NEWS
September 20, 1996 | ANDREA MIHALIK/DAILY NEWS
Members of Teamsters Local 628, mostly drivers for the Philadelphia Daily News and the Inquirer, picketed Girard College yesterday on behalf of 75 employees - women who cook, serve meals, clean and do laundry for the students. The union says the Board of City Trusts, which administers the will of college founder Stephen Girard, has demanded that the women take a pay cut from $11 to $9 an hour.
NEWS
April 4, 2012 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Autumn Adkins Graves, the first African American and first female president of Girard College, will leave the historic school in June, she said Tuesday. Graves, 39, presided over a difficult stretch for the private North Philadelphia boarding school founded by the 19th-century merchant-banker Stephen Girard for orphan boys. Serious money problems forced the school to enroll fewer students, lay off staff, and end a weekend residential program. Graves said family concerns led to her decision to step down.
NEWS
September 29, 1998 | BY MICHAEL R. MAYO
There has long been a passion among members of the Girard College alumni to honor our foster father, Stephen Girard. The Girard College Alumni Association has been attempting to have the U.S. Postal Service issue a commemorative stamp in his honor. In the long history of deserving Americans who have received proper acclaim in this manner, Girard has been wrongfully denied a place among them. A process was begun 67 years ago in the House and Senate to honor Stephen Girard with a series of commemorative postage stamps in observance of the 100th anniversary of his death.
NEWS
April 29, 1999 | BY FRANK GERACE
Many historians dismiss Stephen Girard as a robber baron, a misanthrope, a miser and worse, a godless man without religious values. A clause in his will may have been the source of this unfounded notion. Girard willed most of his money to found a boarding school for poor children. Insisting that their minds be open and free, he set some conditions. The most controversial was barring all clergy. But Girard's restriction of the clergy was widely misinterpreted. "I do not mean to cast any reflection upon any sect," he explained, "but, as there is such a multitude of sects, and such a diversity of opinion . . . I desire to keep the tender minds of the orphans . . . free from the excitements which clashing doctrine and sectarian controversy are apt to produce.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 6, 2011 | By Steven Rea, Inquirer Movie Critic
As the title of the new film says: "Stephen Girard: A Philadelphia Legacy. " Girard (1750-1831) was the fourth-wealthiest man in American history. He saved the nation from bankruptcy during the War of 1812. He was instrumental in the development and expansion of Philadelphia's port. And, with the millions Girard left in his estate, he created a true Philadelphia institution: Girard College. Established in 1831 and opened on the first day of 1848, the boarding school was conceived by the French-born naturalized American as a place for poor, fatherless white boys to get an education.
NEWS
May 21, 1994 | by Ron Avery, Daily News Staff Writer
Why shouldn't the insane wife of America's richest man have, at least, a tombstone to commemorate her existence? This thought has obsessed retired federal worker Joseph Vendetti of South Philadelphia for more than two years. Recently, a granite tombstone for Mary Lum Girard, who died in 1815, was completed. But officials at Pennsylvania Hospital, where the wife of Stephen Girard is buried, refuse to allow the small monument on the grounds. The 200-pound tombstone sits in the window of DeChristopher Brothers Memorial Co. on Passyunk Avenue near 12th Street.
NEWS
November 11, 1999 | By Rita Giordano, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Girard Estate, that graceful old South Philadelphia enclave of spacious homes and tree-lined streets, has been named a local historic district by the Philadelphia Historical Commission. The commission voted unanimously yesterday to bestow the historic designation, which will help preserve the character and architectural integrity of the neighborhood. "It meets all the criteria [for historic designation]. It's an absolute city treasure," said Wayne S. Spilove, chairman of the Historical Commission.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
January 31, 2014 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
A Philadelphia Orphans' Court judge on Wednesday said a group that includes Girard College alumni, parents, and students does not have the legal right to object to Girard's plans to end its high school and boarding programs. Administrative Judge Joseph D. O'Keefe denied the group's request to intervene. He held two days of hearings on the petitioners' request in November. "We're disappointed in the outcome, but at the same time, we're gratified we got a chance to be heard," said Joseph Samuel, president of the 3,000-member Girard College Alumni Association.
NEWS
July 31, 2013 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
The board that oversees Girard College asked Philadelphia Orphan's Court on Monday for permission to suspend the boarding and high school programs in the fall of 2014 to help restore its ailing finances. In its petition, the board asked the court to modify the will of Stephen Girard, the merchant banker whose 1831 bequest established the boarding school for poor children on a 43-acre campus in Fairmount. The filing comes nearly eight weeks after the Board of Directors of City Trusts announced that dramatic change was necessary to avert financial ruin.
NEWS
January 12, 2013 | By Annette John-Hall, Inquirer Columnist
Despite his lifelong quest for integration, justice, and equality, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said life's "most urgent and persistent question is, what are you doing for others?" Service was indeed the hallmark of Dr. King's abbreviated life. I was reminded of that the other day at Girard College. Volunteers will gather Jan. 21 at Girard to join in 1,500 community-service projects for the 18th annual Martin Luther King Day of Service. An expected 110,000 volunteers, in fact, which would be a national record for any volunteer effort connected with Martin Luther King's Birthday.
NEWS
September 19, 2012 | By Alfred Lubrano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Elizabeth Laurent works in white gloves to keep the past pure. "I touch history," said the woman whose job is to handle letters written by the men who invented America. "I have my fingers in things of the past. " As director of historic resources at Girard College, Laurent presides over 100,000 documents connected to college founder Stephen Girard - the 18th- and 19th-century banker, merchant, and philanthropist who was one of the young United States' richest men. Respectful of the slender slices of history in her covered hands, Laurent, 52, minds her finger oils and preserves the Girard papers in 288 boxes, 23 huge books, and numerous display cases.
NEWS
September 2, 2012
Ned Warwick is a former editor with The Inquirer It's a museum few people know exists, housing the collection of a man about whom most people are only vaguely aware. And yet the Stephen Girard Collection provides an extraordinary look at one of the most remarkable figures in the history of Philadelphia and of this country. The collection, housed on the second floor of Founders Hall on the Girard College campus in Fairmount, rekindles in all its day-to-day detail the life and times of a man who, when alive, was America's richest person.
NEWS
April 4, 2012 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Autumn Adkins Graves, the first African American and first female president of Girard College, will leave the historic school in June, she said Tuesday. Graves, 39, presided over a difficult stretch for the private North Philadelphia boarding school founded by the 19th-century merchant-banker Stephen Girard for orphan boys. Serious money problems forced the school to enroll fewer students, lay off staff, and end a weekend residential program. Graves said family concerns led to her decision to step down.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 6, 2011 | By Steven Rea, Inquirer Movie Critic
As the title of the new film says: "Stephen Girard: A Philadelphia Legacy. " Girard (1750-1831) was the fourth-wealthiest man in American history. He saved the nation from bankruptcy during the War of 1812. He was instrumental in the development and expansion of Philadelphia's port. And, with the millions Girard left in his estate, he created a true Philadelphia institution: Girard College. Established in 1831 and opened on the first day of 1848, the boarding school was conceived by the French-born naturalized American as a place for poor, fatherless white boys to get an education.
BUSINESS
October 30, 2011 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Stephen Girard , early Philadelphia's self-made millionaire global trader, energy and transport pioneer, war financier, and vegan slaveholder, left most of his $10 million fortune to the city, so it could build Delaware Avenue, hire cops, and fund other public projects - especially the Girard College for orphans. The good news is that Girard's legacy, managed by pros hired by Philadelphia's Board of City Trusts, grew a little last year, to $515 million from $486 million. The bad news is, the school this is supposed to be funding continues to shrink.
BUSINESS
November 16, 2010 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writer
Three years of falling real estate prices, and three bad bets placed with a giant Wall Street bank, have pushed Philadelphia's city-run Girard Estate to make drastic cuts at Girard College , the free boarding school set up by Philadelphia's richest citizen in his will about 180 years ago. "We have downsized the school," Joseph S. Martz , executive director of the Board of City Trusts, which manages Girard's $500 million in investments, told...
NEWS
October 17, 2009 | By Martha Woodall INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Autumn Joy Adkins, an educator with experience in Quaker and other private schools, had struggled with writing a speech for yesterday's investiture ceremony at Girard College recognizing her as 16th president of the boarding school in Fairmount for low-income students. Her first two drafts focused on her historic role as the first African American and first woman to lead a school created by a bequest of the 19th-century merchant-banker Stephen Girard to educate poor white orphan boys.
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