GIRARD, Stephen, American financier and philanthropist: b. Bordeaux, France, 24 May 1750; d. Philadelphia, 26 Dec. 1831. He followed the sea, becoming a master in 1773 and soon afterward engaging in the West In dian and American coasting trade. In 1769 he settled in Philadelphia as both shipmaster and merchant. After the Revolutionary War his business rapidly increased. He invested largely in the shares of the old Bank of the United States in 1810, and in 1812, upon the lapsing of its charter, purchased a controlling interest and the building. He named it the Bank of Stephen Girard and, retaining the old officers, made it one of the foremost financial institu tions of the country. During the War of 1812 Girard was the principal financial support of the American government ; in 1814 he subscribed for about 95 per cent of the war loan of $5, 000,000. His fortune at the time of his death was undoubtedly the largest in America, amounting to about $7,500,000, almost all of which he left in public benefactions. For the
erection and maintenance of a school for white male orphans he left about $5,260,000. (See GIRARD Cou.EGE). He was a man of unusual individuality, brusque and distant in manner, possessed of great foresight, practical and generous in his charities. During the rage of yellow fever in Philadelphia in 1793 he was ever present in relieving the afflicted, both by his free giving and by his personal care Con sult Ingram, H. ' A., 'Life and Character of Stephen Girard' (Philadelphia 1884); Mac-' Master, J. B., 'The Life and Times of Stephen Girard' (Philadelphia 1918); Rupp, G. P., 'Stephen Girard—Merchant and Mariner) (in of Girard College,' ib. 1898).