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Grant number: PG-52055-13

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Girard College Development Fund (Philadelphia, PA 19121-4800)
Elizabeth M. Laurent (Project Director: May 2012 to present)

Assessment and Storage Improvement Project for Philadelphia's Stephen Girard Textile Collection

A preservation assessment and the improvement of storage for a collection of 80 textiles belonging to Stephen Girard (1750-1830), an immigrant from France who settled in Philadelphia in the late 1700s and made his fortune in shipping, banking, and real estate. Girard built and endowed a college for children in need, and today a museum at the college holds his personal collections, including apparel and household textiles, as well as furniture, paintings, and decorative arts. The collections are used to examine the history of education, philanthropy, connoisseurship, and Girard's life and role in the city.

The Stephen Girard Collection is Philadelphia's great, intact single-owner collection from the early national period. This grant will support assessment and improvements for the storage and display of the Stephen Girard Collection textiles, eighty pieces of apparel and household textiles, dating 1770 - 1830. The textiles provide an intimate glimpse of Girard, the remarkable immigrant who, by the time of his death in 1831, had become probably the richest American of his generation. We will evaluate current textile storage conditions, display conditions and housekeeping routines, and make plans for relocating to better storage spaces, re-housing as needed, and improving housekeeping routines. We are particularly interested in focusing on three collection highlights: two of Girard's hats with their original wallpaper hatboxes, and his Masonic apron with its rare surviving sash. Our goal is to improve our stewardship of Girard's textile collection, to preserve them as long as possible.

Project fields:
American Studies

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$5,996 (approved)
$5,996 (awarded)

Grant period:
3/1/2013 – 8/31/2014