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 Joseph Basil Girard  (1846 - 1918)

About: Joseph Basil Girard
 

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Lived/Active: Arizona/Texas      Known for: western frontier watercolor sketches

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A surgeon, born in Courpiere, Pay-de-Dome, France and earning a degree in medicine in 1867 at the University of Michigan, Dr. Joseph Basil Girard was appointed that same year as Assistant Surgeon USA with the rank of 1st Lieutenant.  His early service was on the frontier, primarily in Arizona where he was stationed from 1872 to 1887.  In 1879, Girard was with the last Wheeler Survey, led by Captain George M. Wheeler, whose purpose was to survey land lying south of the Central Pacific Railroad to have accurate information for map making.

Girard was also at posts in Michigan, New York and Texas.  In the early 20th Century, he served as Chief Surgeon for the Department of the Phillipines, 1904-1906; and Chief Surgeon for the Department of Texas, 1907-1910.  He lived in San Antonio until his death

During his medical career, he also did watercolor sketches of frontier life, and became a noted collector of botanical specimens.  A sizeable number of specimens including ones labelled "Camp Apache" were sent by him  from an area near Fort Davis, Texas to the Gray Herbarium at Harvard University.  The Detroit Scientific Association received many specimens, numbered 1 to 89, a system corresponding to dates with the location listed as "Arizona".

The Huntington Library in San Marino, California is the repository of the J.B. Girard Papers.

Sources include:
Rogers McVaugh, "Joseph Basil Girard, an Early Botanical Collector in Arizona", Brittonia, Vol. 30, No. 2 (April-June, 1978) pp. 131-133.
http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici= 0007-196X (197804%2F06)30%3A2%3C131%3AJBGAEB%3E2.0.CO%3B2-W

http://www.library.unr.edu/specoll/mss/NC319.html

Online archive of California, Huntington Library

Biography from The Arizona Historical Society, Southern Arizona Division:
In the United States military, Joseph Girard was assigned to Fort Lowell, Arizona, near Tucson in 1875.  In 1908, he painted a watercolor of Fort Lowell from a sketch he made during that period of service.  He also did sketches of Fort Apache.

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