The Girard College

Item Info

Item No: pdcp00794
Title: The Girard College
Historic Street Address: 2101 S College Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19121
Media Type: Lithographs
Source: Print and Picture Collection

John Caspar Wild (1804-1846)
Swiss-born and Paris-trained artist, John Caspar Wild moved to Philadelphia in 1832.  He travelled around the city, creating watercolors of newly built and impressive buildings, using them as the basis for lithographic prints, which could be reproduced in great numbers.  With his partner J. B. Chevalier he issued a series of 20 prints, released in monthly parts in 1938 as Views of Philadelphia and Its Vicinity
Wild's prints were originally issued in parts - four prints each month for the first five months of 1838.  The 20 plates were followed by the four panoramas from the State House steeple.  This was followed by the second edition (still in 1838), which consisted of all 20 plates in one bound volume.  "Poetical illustrations" of each image were written by Ezra Holden and Andrew McMakin, the proprietors of the Saturday Courier.  Holden wrote the prose and McMakin wrote the poetry.
Not long after the Views of Philadelphia was published, Wild moved west to St. Louis and turned his focus to that city and the Mississippi Valley.  The copyright and lithographic stones to view his Views of Philadelphia were bought by J. T. Bowen, who published another edition in 1838 and a new edition of the work with hand-colored plates in 1848. Wild died in Davenport, Iowa at the young age of 42. 


Corinthian & Girard Avenues


Hand-colored lithograph, published in Philadelphia by J.T. Bowen, 1840.


The Girard College is situated on a tract of land containing forty-five acres, in the north-western environs of Philadelphia, about one mile from the incorporated limits of the city. ....
The centre building, which forms the principal and most imposing object, is composed in the Corinthian order of architecture; it is surrounded by thirty-four columns, supporting an entablature after the manner of a Greek temple; the columns rest upon a basement of eight feet high, composed of a continuous flight of marble steps, surrounding the whole building; each column is six feet in diameter at the bottom of the shaft and fifty-five high, including the capital and base; the shafts are composed of frustra from three to six feet in height; the base is three feet high, and its greatest diameter nine feet two inches; the height of the capital is eight feet ten inches, and its extreme width eight feet four inches. 
-Ezra Holden, Views of Philadelphia and Its Vicinity, 1838

Geocode Latitude: Geocode Longitude:-75.168890
Geocode Latitude:39.973210

Creator Name: Wild, J. C. (John Caspar), approximately 1804-1846 - Lithographer
Bowen, John T., approximately 1801-1856? - Lithographer