Documenta Ophthalmologica

, Volume 94, Issue 1–2, pp 39–58 | Cite as

Stephen Girard (1750–1831): a one-eyed American patriot

  • William Tasman


Stephen Girard trader, banker, millionaire, and patriot lived 81 full and exciting years. Apparently born with a blind or amblyopic right eye, he emigrated from Bordeaux. France, via Santa Domingo to the United States, and finally settled in Philadelphia, where he developed a successful maritime trade. Ultimately, Girard became the first multimillionaire in the United States. Extremely generous, he often walked from his home in the center of Philadelphia to his farm in what is now South Philadelphia distributing shoes to needy children. Probably Girard’s most heroic gestures were his gallant fight against the yellow fever epidemic in 1793 and his loan to the U.S. government during the War of 1812, which allowed the bankrupt country to continue the conflict and ultimately to win the war.

Key words

American revolution Bordeaux France Albert Gallatin Girard College President Monroe Philadelphia sight War of 1812 yellow fever 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Tasman
    • 1
  1. 1.Wills Eye Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University HospitalPhiladelphia

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