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Inventory of the J. B. Girard Papers, 1861-1918
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content Note

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: J. B. Girard Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1861-1918
    Creator: Girard, J. B.
    Extent: 2 boxes
    Repository: The Huntington Library
    San Marino, California 91108
    This collection contains 120 semi-catalogued items in two boxes, spanning the period 1861 to 1918 (there is one newspaper clipping from 1963).
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open to qualified researches by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information please go to following URL .

    Publication Rights

    In order to quote from, publish, or reproduce any of the manuscripts or visual materials, researchers must obtain formal permission from the office of the Library Director. In most instances, permission is given by the Huntington as owner of the physical property rights only, and researchers must also obtain permission from the holder of the literary rights In some instances, the Huntington owns the literary rights, as well as the physical property rights. Researchers may contact the appropriate curator for further information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], J. B. Girard Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

    Acquisition Information

    This collection was purchased from Colonel Girard's granddaughter, Ms. Jane Hemphill, in January 1989. Also purchased were 84 drawings and watercolors by J. B. Girard, kept in the Virginia Steele Scott Gallery of American Art at the Huntington. For the drawings and watercolors of J. B. Girard that are owned by the Huntington Library, please see attached list.

    Biographical Note

    Joseph Basil (J. B.) Girard emigrated from France to the United States in 1861, at the age of fifteen. In 1867 he graduated as a doctor of medicine from the University of Michigan; in that same year he received an appointment to the United States Army Medical Corps in which he served until his retirement in 1910 with the rank of lieutenant-colonel and assistant surgeon general. He married Louise Oury in 1875; they had three children, Agnes, Louise, and Laura. Girard was stationed at several army posts throughout his military career. He served in Arizona, Wyoming, Missouri, Hawaii, Nebraska, Georgia, and Washington State. He also served as Chief Surgeon for the Division of the Philippines from 1904-1906 and for the Department of Texas from 1907-1910. He was a member of the Scientific Society of San Antonio and the Arizona Pioneers Historical Society. He was also a skilled amateur artist who produced many pencil sketches and watercolors throughout his life. These sketches and paintings often included western landscapes and scenes of army life at military posts. Girard's work also contains several sketches he did while traveling through Europe. After retirement, J. B. Girard remained in San Antonio where he died in 1918.

    Scope and Content Note

    The collection includes Girard's diaries, certificates, military appointments, travel orders, sketchbooks, photographs, passports and newspaper clippings. The sketchbooks contain sketches of western landscapes and European landscapes. The photographs in the collection are of J. B. Girard, his family, and family friends.
    There are eight diaries in the collection, which span the years 1900-1907. The diaries detail the Girard family and their day-to-day activities, including visits with friends and the extensive traveling they did moving to and from military posts. The diaries also give detailed accounts of Girard's military duties including inspections of hospitals at several military posts in the mid-West. The diaries often discuss Girard's failing health, his depression after his wife's death and his increasing unhappiness with his life and his service in the U. S. Army. In the memoranda section in the last pages of the 1903-1907 diaries, there is information concerning bonds Girard purchased throughout the years. These diaries also include several addresses of Girard's family members and acquaintances.