Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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RICHARDS, Benjamin Wood, mayor of Philadelphia, born in Burlington county, New Jersey, in November, 1797; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 13 July. 1851. After graduation at Princeton in 1815 he settled in Philadelphia, which he represented in the legislature. In that body he offered the first resolutions to make appropriations for the organization and support of public schools, and was one of the first members of the board of control. He was appointed by President Jackson a director of the United States bank, which office he resigned to become mayor of Philadelphia in 1830-'1. Subsequently he visited Europe, and on his return formed an association with Nathan Dunn, John Jay Smith, Frederick Brown, and Isaac Collins, to purchase and lay out the cemetery that is now known as Laurel Hill. He was one of the earliest directors of Girard college the originator, founder, and president until his death of the Girard life and trust company, and a founder with John Vaughan of the Blind asylum.
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