George Peabody

Last updated
George Peabody
George Peabody
Born(1795-02-18)February 18, 1795
DiedNovember 4, 1869(1869-11-04) (aged 74)
Resting place Harmony Grove Cemetery, Salem, Massachusetts
Occupation Financier, banker, entrepreneur
Net worthUS$16 million at the time of his death (approximately 1/556th of US GNP) [1]
Parent(s)Thomas Peabody and Judith Dodge

George Peabody ( /ˈpbədi/ PEE-bə-dee; [2] February 18, 1795 – November 4, 1869) was an American financier and philanthropist. He is widely regarded as the father of modern philanthropy.


Born into a poor family in Massachusetts, Peabody went into business in dry goods and later into banking. In 1837 he moved to London (which was then the capital of world finance) where he became the most noted American banker and helped to establish the young country's international credit. Having no son of his own to whom he could pass on his business, Peabody took on Junius Spencer Morgan as a partner in 1854 and their joint business would go on to become J.P. Morgan & Co. after Peabody's 1864 retirement.

In his old age, Peabody won worldwide acclaim for his philanthropy. He founded the Peabody Trust in Britain and the Peabody Institute and George Peabody Library in Baltimore, and was responsible for many other charitable initiatives. For his generosity, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and made a Freeman of the City of London, among many other honors.


Peabody's birthplace, now the George Peabody House Museum, in Peabody, Massachusetts. George Peabody House.JPG
Peabody's birthplace, now the George Peabody House Museum, in Peabody, Massachusetts.

Peabody was born in 1795 in what was then South Danvers (now Peabody), Massachusetts. His family had Puritan ancestors in the state. As one of seven children in a poor family, George suffered some deprivations during his childhood, and was able to attend school for only a few years. When he was a teenager, his father died, and he worked in his brother’s shop to support his widowed mother and six siblings. He later expressed "I have never forgotten and never can forget the great privations of my early years". [3] These factors influenced his later devotion to both thrift and philanthropy.

In 1816, he moved to Baltimore, where he made his career and would live for the next 20 years. He established his residence and office in the old Henry Fite House, and became a businessman and financier.

At that time London, Amsterdam, Paris and Frankfurt were at the center of international banking and finance. As all international transactions were settled in gold or gold certificates, a developing nation like the United States had to rely upon agents and merchant banks to raise capital through relationships with merchant banking houses in Europe. Only they held the quantity of reserves of capital necessary to extend long-term credit to a developing economy like that of the US.

Peabody first visited England in 1827, seeking to use his firm and his agency to sell American states' bond issues, to raise capital for those states' various programs of "internal improvements" (principally the transportation infrastructure, such as roads, railroads, docks and canals). Over the next decade Peabody made four more trans-Atlantic trips, starting in 1835 [3] and establishing a branch office in Liverpool. Later he established the banking firm of "George Peabody & Company" (later stylised as J.S. Morgan & Co. [3] ) in London. In 1837, he took up permanent residence in London, where he lived for the rest of his life.

In the 1840s, the state of Maryland defaulted on its debt and Peabody, having marketed about half of Maryland's securities to individual investors in Europe, became persona non grata around London. The Times of London noted that while Peabody was an "American gentleman of the most unblemished character", the Reform Club had blackballed him for being a citizen of a country that reneged on its debts. At first, Peabody sent letters to scold Baltimore friends about the need for the state to resume interest payment and rewarded reporters with small gratuities for favourable articles about the state. [3]

At last, in 1845 he conspired with Barings to push Maryland into resuming payment by setting up a political slush fund to spread propaganda for debt resumption and elect legislators who would placate their investors. By means of a secret account, the two firms transferred a thousand sterling to Baltimore and even bribed Daniel Webster, the orator and statesman, to make speeches for debt repayment. Their attempts were successful: pro-resumption Whigs were elected and London bankers started to receive payments. Barrings duplicated the same tactics in Pennsylvania. Florida and Mississippi were the most persistent debtors and as such were excluded from Peabody's later philanthropies. [3]

Although Peabody was briefly engaged in 1838 (and later allegedly had a mistress in Brighton, England, who bore him a daughter), he never married. [4] Ron Chernow describes him as "homely", with "a rumpled face ... knobby chin, bulbous nose, side whiskers, and heavy-lidded eyes." [3] However, there are numerous photographs and portraits of Peabody that would suggest that Chernow's negative opinion is overly subjective. [5]

Statue of Peabody by William W. Story in Mt. Vernon Place, Baltimore, Maryland. George Peabody statue, Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore, MD.jpg
Statue of Peabody by William W. Story in Mt. Vernon Place, Baltimore, Maryland.

Peabody frequently entertained and provided letters of introduction for American businessmen visiting London, and became known for the Anglo-American dinners he hosted in honor of American diplomats and other worthies, and in celebration of the Fourth of July. In 1851, when the US Congress refused to support the American section at the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, Peabody advanced £3000 (then worth $15,000; worth about $300,0000 in 2015 dollars) to improve the exhibit and uphold the reputation of the United States. In 1854, he offended many of his American guests at a Fourth of July dinner when he chose to toast Queen Victoria before US President Franklin Pierce; Pierce's future successor, James Buchanan, then Ambassador to London, left in a huff. [6] At around this time, Peabody began to suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and gout. [7]

In February 1867, on one of several return visits to the United States, and at the height of his financial success, Peabody was suggested by Francis Preston Blair, an old crony of President Andrew Jackson and an active power in the smoldering Democratic Party as a possible Secretary of the Treasury in the cabinet of President Andrew Johnson. At about the same time, Peabody was also mentioned in newspapers as a future presidential candidate. Peabody described the presidential suggestion as a "kind and complimentary reference", but considered that at age 72, he was too old for either office. [8]

Coat of arms of George Peabody Coat of Arms of George Peabody.svg
Coat of arms of George Peabody


While serving as a volunteer in the War of 1812, Peabody met Elisha Riggs, who, in 1814, provided financial backing for what became the wholesale dry goods firm of Riggs, Peabody & Co., specializing in importing dry goods from Britain. Branches were opened in New York and Philadelphia in 1822. Riggs retired in 1829, and the firm became Peabody, Riggs & Co., with the names reversed as Peabody became the senior partner.

Peabody first visited England in 1827 to purchase wares, and to negotiate the sale of American cotton in Lancashire. He subsequently opened a branch office in Liverpool, and British business began to play an increasingly important role in his affairs. He appears to have had some help in establishing himself from Sir William Brown, 1st Baronet, of Richmond Hill and James Brown, sons of another highly-successful Baltimore businessman, the Irishman Alexander Brown (founder of the venerable investment and banking firm of "Alex. Brown & Sons" in 1801), who managed their father's Liverpool office, opened in 1810.

In 1837, Peabody took up residence in London, and the following year, he started a banking business trading on his own account. [9] The banking firm of "George Peabody and Company" was not, however, established until 1851. [10] It was founded to meet the increasing demand for securities issued by the American railroads, and – although Peabody continued to deal in dry goods and other commodities – he increasingly focused his attentions on merchant banking, specializing in financing governments and large companies. [9] The bank rose to become the premier American house in London. [9]

In Peabody's early years in London, American state governments were notorious for defaulting on their debts to British lenders, and as a prominent American financier in London, Peabody often faced scorn for America's poor credit. (On one occasion, he was even blackballed from membership in a gentlemen's club.) Peabody joined forces with Barings Bank to lobby American states for debt repayment, particularly his home state of Maryland. The campaign included printing propaganda and bribing clergy and politicians, most notably Senator Daniel Webster. Peabody made a significant profit when Maryland, Pennsylvania, and other states resumed payments, having previously bought up state bonds at a low cost. [11] Encyclopædia Britannica cites him as having "helped establish U.S. credit abroad." [12]

Peabody took Junius Spencer Morgan (father of J. P. Morgan) into partnership in 1854 to form Peabody, Morgan & Co., and the two financiers worked together until Peabody's retirement in 1864; Morgan had effective control of the business from 1859 on. [13] During the run on the banks of 1857, Peabody had to ask the Bank of England for a loan of £800,000: although rivals tried to force the bank out of business, it managed to emerge with its credit intact.

Following this crisis, Peabody began to retire from active business, and in 1864, retired fully (taking with him much of his capital, amounting to over $10,000,000, or £2,000,000). Peabody, Morgan & Co. then took the name J.S. Morgan & Co.. The former UK merchant bank Morgan Grenfell (now part of Deutsche Bank), international universal bank JPMorgan Chase and investment bank Morgan Stanley can all trace their roots to Peabody's bank. [14]


The Peabody Trust continues to provide cheap housing in central London. This sign marks the Horseferry Road Estate in Westminster. Peabody Trust estate Horseferry Road.jpg
The Peabody Trust continues to provide cheap housing in central London. This sign marks the Horseferry Road Estate in Westminster.

Though thrifty, even miserly with his employees and relatives, Peabody gave generously to public causes. [15] He became the acknowledged father of modern philanthropy, [16] [17] [18] [19] having established the practice later followed by Johns Hopkins, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates. In the United States, his philanthropy largely took the form of educational initiatives. In Britain, it took the form of providing housing for the poor.

In America, Peabody founded and supported numerous institutions in New England, the South, and elsewhere. In 1867–68, he established the Peabody Education Fund with $3.5 million to "encourage the intellectual, moral, and industrial education of the destitute children of the Southern States." [20] [21] His grandest beneficence, however, was to Baltimore, the city in which he achieved his earliest success.

The first block of Peabody dwellings in Commercial Street, Spitalfields, London. A wood-engraving published in the Illustrated London News in 1863, shortly before the building opened. Peabody Buildings 1863.jpg
The first block of Peabody dwellings in Commercial Street, Spitalfields, London. A wood-engraving published in the Illustrated London News in 1863, shortly before the building opened.

In April 1862, Peabody established the Peabody Donation Fund, which continues to this day as the Peabody Trust, to provide housing of a decent quality for the "artisans and labouring poor of London". The trust's first dwellings, designed by H. A. Darbishire in a Jacobethan style, were opened in Commercial Street, Spitalfields in February 1864.

George Peabody GeorgePeabody.jpg
George Peabody

George Peabody provided benefactions of well over $8 million ($158,000,000 in 2017 dollars [22] ), most of them in his own lifetime. Among the list are:

1852 The Peabody Institute (now the Peabody Institute Library), [23] Peabody, Mass: $217,000
1856 The Peabody Institute, Danvers, Mass (now the Peabody Institute Library of Danvers): [24] $100,000
1857 The Peabody Institute (now the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University), Baltimore: $1,400,000. By including a complex involving a library, an academy of music, and an art gallery, his goal was to promote the moral, intellectual and artistic opportunities for the People of Baltimore. [25]
1862 The Peabody Donation Fund, London: $2,500,000
1866 The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University: $150,000
1866 The Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University: $150,000 (at the suggestion of his nephew Othniel Charles Marsh, son of his younger sister Mary Peabody, [26] :12 and America's first professor of paleontology)
1867 The Peabody Academy of Science, Salem, Mass: $140,000 (now the Peabody Essex Museum)
1867 The Peabody Institute, Georgetown, District of Columbia: $15,000 (today the Peabody Room, Georgetown Branch, DC Public Library).
1867 Peabody Education Fund: $2,000,000
1875 George Peabody College for Teachers, now the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. The funding came from the Peabody Education Fund
1877 Peabody High School, Trenton, Tennessee, established with funds provided by Peabody
1866 The Georgetown Peabody Library, the public library of Georgetown, Massachusetts
1866 The Thetford Public Library, the public library of Thetford, Vermont: $5,000
1901 The Peabody Memorial Library, Sam Houston State University, Texas
1913 George Peabody Building, University of Mississippi [27]
1913 Peabody Hall, housing the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Arkansas: [28] $40,000
1913 Peabody Hall, housing the School of Education (now Philosophy and Religion), University of Georgia: [29] $40,000
1913 Peabody Hall, housing the College for Teachers (now part of Criser Student Services Center), University of Florida: [30] $40,000
Peabody Hall, housing the college of Human Science and Education, Louisiana State University.
1914 Peabody Hall, housing the Curry Memorial School of Education (now Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of Admission), University of Virginia

Racial policies

According to William P. Vaughn, Dr. Barnas Sears was a highly efficient, dedicated official who disperse the Peabody Fund moneys until his death in 1880. Sears accepted the white supremacy positions prevalent in the southern elite, fearing that integrated schools would be a disaster that would drive whites away and destroy the public school system.. He therefore followed a Segregation policy whereby Blacks received an education consistent with their needs and abilities, , but not geared to advance some to equality with whites, Vaughn concludes that Sears helped postpone the end of segregated schooling. [31]

Peabody's funeral in Westminster Abbey Funeral of George Peabody at Westminster Abbey, 1869 ILN.jpg
Peabody's funeral in Westminster Abbey

Peabody died in London on November 4, 1869, aged 74, at the house of his friend Sir Curtis Lampson. At the request of the Dean of Westminster, and with the approval of Queen Victoria, Peabody was given a funeral and temporary grave in Westminster Abbey. [32]

His will provided that he be buried in the town of his birth, Danvers, Massachusetts. Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone arranged for Peabody's remains to be returned to America on HMS Monarch , the newest and largest ship in the Royal Navy, arriving at Portland, Maine, where they were received by US Admiral David Farragut. He was laid to rest in Harmony Grove Cemetery, in Salem, Massachusetts, on February 8, 1870. Peabody's death and the pair of funerals were international news, through the newly completed trans-Atlantic underwater telegraph cable. Hundreds of people participated in the ceremonies and thousands more attended or observed. [33]

Recognition and commemoration

Impact on American philanthropy

Historian Roderick Nash argues that Peabody made his millions quietly, while contemporary millionaires were building highly visible empires in oil, iron, land and especially railroads. Peabody made his money quietly in groceries in real estate. As a disciple of Benjamin Franklin, Peabody joined hard work with frugality, punctuality, and a strong public spirit. Peabody was a pioneer, whose success in philanthropy set the standard for American millionaires in a way that was unique in the world. By contrast, philanthropy in Europe typically came from Old established aristocratic families with vast inherited landed wealth built palaces and museums that were eventually opened to the public. The American way was for the self-made millionaires to become self-made philanthropists, a model that was perfected in the next generation by Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) and John D Rockefeller (1839-1937). They agreed with Peabody that riches produced a duty to give most of it back to the community through specialized permanent foundations. Peabody was especially imaginative, – and relied on his own memories of poverty and self learning to figure new ways to Educate and culturally enrich the next generation of poor youth, and thereby promote more equality in American society. Jacksonian Democracy promoted equality in politics; he promoted equality and culture through libraries, schools, museums and colleges. He rejected doling out bundles of cash to the poor as a waste of money in comparison to building permanent institutions that produced a steady stream of benefits. His last great benefaction was the Peabody Education Fund, which had a dramatic impact in improving southern public schools. It was the first major Philanthropy that gave large sums to very poor Blacks on the same terms as whites, albeit within the strict limits imposed by Southern culture regarding racial segregation and white supremacy. Even more important was the institutional framework that Peabody devised, of a permanent professional foundation, run by experts in philanthropy, who were guided by and indeed invented the best practices of the day. [34] [35] [36]

Recognition and memory

Peabody's philanthropy won him many admirers in his old age. He was praised by European luminaries such as Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone and author Victor Hugo, and Queen Victoria offered him a baronetcy, which he refused. [37]

In 1854, the Arctic explorer Elisha Kane named the waterway off the north-west coast of Greenland "Peabody Bay", in honor of Peabody, who had funded his expedition. The waterway was later renamed the Kane Basin, but Peabody Bay survives as the name of a smaller bay at the eastern side of the basin. [38]

On July 10, 1862 he was made a Freeman of the City of London, the motion being proposed by Charles Reed in recognition of his financial contribution to London's poor. [39] He became the first of only two Americans (the other being 34th President and General Dwight D. Eisenhower) to receive the award. On March 16, 1867, he was awarded the United States Congressional Gold Medal, [40] an Honorary Doctorate of Laws by Harvard University, and an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law by Oxford University. [41] On March 24, 1867, Peabody was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society [42]

Peabody's birthplace, South Danvers, Massachusetts, changed its name in 1868 to the town (now city) of Peabody, in honor of its favorite son. In 1869, the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, was named in his memory. A number of Elementary and High Schools in the United States are named after Peabody.

Statue by the Royal Exchange, London Statue of George Peabody, London EC3 - - 1706589.jpg
Statue by the Royal Exchange, London

A statue sculpted by William Wetmore Story stands next to the Royal Exchange in the City of London, unveiled by the Prince of Wales in July 1869: Peabody himself was too unwell to attend the ceremony, and died less than four months later. [43] A replica of the same statue, erected in 1890, stands next to the Peabody Institute, in Mount Vernon Park, part of the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland.

In 1900, Peabody was one of the first 29 honorees to be elected to the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, located on what was then the campus of New York University (and is now that of Bronx Community College), at University Heights, New York.

His birthplace at 205 Washington Street in the City of Peabody is now operated and preserved as the George Peabody House Museum, a museum dedicated to interpreting his life and legacy. There is a blue plaque on the house where he died in London, No. 80 Eaton Square, Belgravia, erected in 1976. [44]

On March 16, 2018, Google honored Peabody with a Google Doodle on the 151st anniversary of Peabody being awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. [45] [46] The mural reproduced in the Google Doodle is physically located within the lunchroom of George Peabody Elementary School in San Francisco.

The Georgetown Neighborhood Library in Washington, D.C. houses the Peabody Room, named after the original neighborhood Peabody Library founded by Peabody. The Peabody Room contains historical information about the Georgetown neighborhood.

See also

Related Research Articles

J. P. Morgan American financier, banker, industrial organizer, philanthropist, and art collector

John Pierpont Morgan Sr. was an American financier and banker who dominated corporate finance on Wall Street throughout the Gilded Age. As the head of the banking firm that ultimately became known as J.P. Morgan and Co., he was a driving force behind the wave of industrial consolidation in the United States spanning the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Rockefeller family is an American industrial, political, and banking family that owns one of the world's largest fortunes. The fortune was made in the American petroleum industry during the late 19th and early 20th centuries by John D. Rockefeller and his brother William Rockefeller, primarily through Standard Oil. The family has had a long association with, and control of, Chase Manhattan Bank. As of 1977 the Rockefellers were considered one of the most powerful families, if not the most powerful family, in the history of the United States. The Rockefeller family originated in Rhineland in Germany and family members moved to the New World in the early 18th century, while through Eliza Davison, John D. Rockefeller and William Rockefeller Jr. and their descendants are also of Scotch-Irish ancestry.

George Foster Peabody banker and philanthropist

George Foster Peabody was an American banker and philanthropist.

Panic of 1907 three-week financial crisis in the United States

The Panic of 1907 – also known as the 1907 Bankers' Panic or Knickerbocker Crisis – was a financial crisis that took place in the United States over a three-week period starting in mid-October, when the New York Stock Exchange fell almost 50% from its peak the previous year. Panic occurred, as this was during a time of economic recession, and there were numerous runs on banks and trust companies. The 1907 panic eventually spread throughout the nation when many state and local banks and businesses entered bankruptcy. Primary causes of the run included a retraction of market liquidity by a number of New York City banks and a loss of confidence among depositors, exacerbated by unregulated side bets at bucket shops. The panic was triggered by the failed attempt in October 1907 to corner the market on stock of the United Copper Company. When this bid failed, banks that had lent money to the cornering scheme suffered runs that later spread to affiliated banks and trusts, leading a week later to the downfall of the Knickerbocker Trust Company—New York City's third-largest trust. The collapse of the Knickerbocker spread fear throughout the city's trusts as regional banks withdrew reserves from New York City banks. Panic extended across the nation as vast numbers of people withdrew deposits from their regional banks.

Junius Spencer Morgan United States financier

Junius Spencer Morgan I was an American banker and financier as well as the father of John Pierpont "J.P." Morgan. He founded J. S. Morgan & Co. along with George Peabody.

Peabody Institute Conservatory and university-prep school

The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is a music and dance conservatory and university-preparatory school in the Mount Vernon-Belvedere neighborhood of northern Baltimore, Maryland, United States, facing the landmark Washington Monument circle at the southeast corner of North Charles and East Monument Streets.

Bulge Bracket type of investment bank

The group of Bulge Bracket banks comprises the world's largest multi-national investment banks whose investment banking clients are usually large corporations, institutions, and governments. There is no definitive list of Bulge Bracket banks.

Enoch Pratt American businessman

Enoch Pratt was an American businessman in Baltimore, Maryland. Pratt was also a committed active Unitarian, and a philanthropist. He is best known for his donations to establish the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore and expanding the former Sheppard Asylum to become The Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital,, located north of the city in western Towson, county seat of Baltimore County. Born and raised in Massachusetts, he moved south to the Chesapeake Bay area and became devoted to the civic interests of the city of Baltimore. He earned his fortune as an owner of business interests beginning in the 1830s originally as a hardware wholesaler, and later expanding into railroads, banking and finance, iron works, and steamship lines and other transportation companies.

J.P. Morgan & Co. was a commercial and investment banking institution founded by J. P. Morgan in 1871. The company was a predecessor of three of the largest banking institutions in the world — JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Deutsche Bank — and was involved in the formation of Drexel Burnham Lambert. The company is sometimes referred to as the "House of Morgan" or simply "Morgan".

Ronald Chernow is an American writer, journalist, historian, and biographer. He has written bestselling and award-winning biographies of historical figures from the world of business, finance, and American politics.

J. P. Morgan Jr. American banker

John Pierpont "Jack" Morgan Jr. was an American banker, finance executive, and philanthropist. Jack Morgan inherited the family fortune and took over the business interests including J.P. Morgan & Co. after his father J. P. Morgan died in 1913.

Charles Sanger Mellen American businessman

Charles Sanger Mellen was an American railroad man whose career culminated in the presidencies of the Northern Pacific Railway (1897-1903) and the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (1903-1913). His goal, along with the New Haven's financier J. P. Morgan, was to consolidate, electrify and modernize all the main railroads of New England, so as to lower competition and produce higher profits. The result of his abrasive tactics alienated public opinion, led to high prices for acquisitions and costly construction; the accident rate soared when efforts were made to save on maintenance costs. Debt soared from $14 million in 1903 to $242 million in 1913, when it was hit by an antitrust lawsuit by the federal government on the charge of monopolizing New England's rail traffic. He was called, "The last of the railway czars."

<i>The House of Morgan</i> book by Ron Chernow

The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance is a non-fiction book by Ron Chernow, published in 1990. It traces the history of four generations of the J.P. Morgan financial empire, on both sides of the Atlantic, from its obscure beginnings in Victorian London to the crash of 1987.

The Pujo Committee was a United States congressional subcommittee in 1912–1913 that was formed to investigate the so-called "money trust", a community of Wall Street bankers and financiers that exerted powerful control over the nation's finances. After a resolution introduced by congressman Charles Lindbergh Sr. for a probe on Wall Street power, congressman Arsène Pujo of Louisiana was authorized to form a subcommittee of the House Committee on Banking and Currency. In 1913–1914, the findings inspired public support for ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment that authorized a federal income tax, passage of the Federal Reserve Act, and passage of the Clayton Antitrust Act.

George Peabody Library library

The George Peabody Library, formerly known as the Library of the Peabody Institute of the City of Baltimore, is the 19th-century focused research library of The Johns Hopkins University. It is located on the Peabody campus at West Mount Vernon Place in the Mount Vernon-Belvedere historic cultural neighborhood north of downtown Baltimore, Maryland, across from the landmark Washington Monument. The collections are available for use by the general public, in keeping with the famous Baltimorean merchant/banker/financier/philanthropist George Peabody's goal to create a library "for the free use of all persons who desire to consult it."

Morgan, Harjes & Co. was a Paris-based investment bank founded in 1868 by John H. Harjes, Eugene Winthrop and Anthony J. Drexel as Drexel, Harjes & Co. In 1871, with the formation of Drexel, Morgan & Co., together with J. Pierpont Morgan, the company became the French affiliate of an international banking firm with offices in London, Philadelphia, New York City and Paris that would subsequently become J.P. Morgan & Co.

Philadelphia financier Jay Cooke established the first modern American investment bank during the Civil War era. However, private banks had been providing investment banking functions since the beginning of the 19th century and many of these evolved into investment banks in the post-bellum era. However, the evolution of firms into investment banks did not follow a single trajectory. For example, some currency brokers such as Prime, Ward & King and John E. Thayer and Brother moved from foreign exchange operations to become private banks, taking on some investment bank functions. Other investment banks evolved from mercantile firms such as Thomas Biddle and Co. and Alexander Brothers.

Philanthropy in the United States

Philanthropy has played a major role in American history, from the Puritans of early Massachusetts who founded Harvard College, down to the present day. Since the late 19th century philanthropy has been a major source of income for religion, medicine and health care, fine arts and performing arts, as well as educational institutions.

The Morgan family is a prominent American family and banking dynasty, which became prominent in the U.S. and throughout the world in the late 19th century and early 20th century. Members of the family amassed an immense fortune over the generations, primarily through the noted work of John Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913). The majority of the family resides in Northern Kentucky.

Mellon: An American Life is a biographical book detailing the life Andrew Mellon (1855–1937), American banker, businessman, and philanthropist. Written by Sir David Cannadine, Dodge Professor of History at Princeton University, the book describes how Mellon built his personal wealth by investing and running businesses in major industries, eventually becoming the Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. He was also noted for founding the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Cannadine acknowledges the controversy that surrounds Mellon and the other industrialists of his era. Like John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Henry Clay Frick, Andrew Carnegie, John Pierpont Morgan Sr., and William Randolph Hearst, the businessmen were part of a fundamental transformation of the American economy in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.


  1. Klepper, Michael; Gunther, Michael (1996), The Wealthy 100: From Benjamin Franklin to Bill Gates—A Ranking of the Richest Americans, Past and Present, Secaucus, New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group, p.  xii, ISBN   978-0-8065-1800-8, OCLC   33818143
  2. This is the standard pronunciation in Massachusetts (his birthplace), and presumably how Peabody himself pronounced his name. However, in Maryland—location of the Peabody Institute and George Peabody Library—and also in Britain—home of the Peabody Trust--the name is pronounced as spelled, Pea-body /ˈpˈbɒdi/ PEE-bah-dee.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Chernow, Ron (2010-01-19). The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. p. 4. ISBN   9780802198136.
  4. Parker 1995, pp. 29–33.
  5. See early photos of Peabody, and portraits of him as a younger man in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery (United States), Maryland State Art Collection, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
  6. Chernow, Ron (2010-01-19). The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. p. 7. ISBN   9780802198136.
  7. Chernow, Ron (2010-01-19). The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. p. 8. ISBN   9780802198136.
  8. Parker 1995, pp. 164–5, 203, 214.
  9. 1 2 3 Chernow, Ron (2010-01-19). The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. p. 5. ISBN   9780802198136.
  10. Burk (1989), p. 1
  11. Chernow, Ron (2010-01-19). The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. pp. 5–7. ISBN   9780802198136.
  12. "George Peabody | American merchant, financier, and philanthropist". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  13. Chernow, Ron (2010-01-19). The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. pp. 9–13. ISBN   9780802198136.
  14. Chernow, Ron (1990). The House of Morgan: an American banking dynasty and the rise of modern finance . New York: Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN   0871133385.
  15. Chernow, Ron (2010-01-19). The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. p. 9. ISBN   9780802198136.
  16. Bernstein, Peter (2007). All the Money in the World. Random House. p.  280. ISBN   0-307-26612-5. Even before the Carnegies and Rockefellers became philanthropic legends, there was George Peabody, considered to be the father of modern philanthropy.
  17. The Philanthropy Hall of Fame, George Peabody
  18. Davies, Gill (2006). One Thousand Buildings of London. Black Dog Publishing. p. 179. ISBN   1-57912-587-5. George Peabody (1795–1869)—banker, dry goods merchant, and father of modern philanthropy...
  19. "Peabody Hall Stands as Symbol of University's History". University of Arkansas. December 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-02-19. Retrieved 2010-03-12. George Peabody is considered by some to be the father of modern philanthropy.
  20. "George Peabody Library History". Johns Hopkins University. Archived from the original on 2010-06-04. Retrieved 2010-03-12. After the Civil War he funded the Peabody Education Fund which established public education in the South.
  21. Negro Year Book: An Annual Encyclopedia of the Negro ... 1913. p. 180.
  22. "Measuring Worth - Result in Table". Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  23. "Peabody Institute Library". Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  24. "administration/pilhistlong2". Archived from the original on 2008-01-06. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  25. Ray E. Robinson, "The Peabody Institute: Ideas Implicit in Its Founding." Journal of Research in Music Education 19.2 (1971): 216-221.
  26. Dingus, Lowell (2018). King of the Dinosaur Hunters : the life of John Bell Hatcher and the discoveries that shaped paleontology. Pegasus Books. ISBN   9781681778655.
  27. "About UM - History - University Buildings | Spring 2017-18 | UM Catalog". Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  28. University Of Arkansas
  29. "Peabody Hall | Buildings & Locations | AZ | University of Georgia". Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  30. "Historic Campus - Peabody Hall". Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  31. William P. Vaughn, "Partners in Segregation: Barnas Sears and the Peabody Fund." Civil War History 10.3 (1964): 260-274.
  32. "Funeral of George Peabody at Westminster Abbey". The New York Times. 1869-11-13. p. 3. As soon as the ceremony within the church was over the procession formed again, and advanced to a spot near the western entrance, where a temporary grave had been prepared... Here the body was deposited, and will remain until it is transported to America.
  33. Parker, Franklin (July 1966). "The Funeral of George Peabody". Peabody Journal of Education. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (Taylor & Francis Group). 44 (1): 21–36. doi:10.1080/01619566609537382. JSTOR   1491421.
  34. Roderick Nash, "Peabody, George, " in John A. Garraty, Encyclopedia of American Biography (1974), p. 841.
  35. Franklin Parker, "George Peabody's Influence on Southern Educational Philanthropy." Tennessee Historical Quarterly 20.1 (1961): 65-74. Online
  36. George A. Dillingham, The Foundation of the Peabody Tradition (University Press of America, 1989).
  37. Chernow, Ron (2010-01-19). The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. p. 14. ISBN   9780802198136.
  38. "Biography – KANE, ELISHA KENT – Volume VIII (1851–1860) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography". Retrieved 2016-05-18.
  39. "London People: George Peabody" . Retrieved 2010-03-12. By 1867 Peabody had received honours from America and Britain, including being made a Freeman of the City of London, the first American to receive this honour.
  40. "Congressional Gold Medal Recipients". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  41. Parker 1995, p. 203.
  42. "MemberListP". American Antiquarian Society. Retrieved 2018-03-17.
  43. A detailed account of the commissioning, erection and reception of the statue appears in Ward-Jackson 2003, pp. 338–41.
  44. "George Peabody Blue Plaque". Retrieved 2013-11-23.
  45. "Google doodle honors philanthropist George Peabody". CNET. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  46. "Google Doodle Just Honored George Peabody, Financier-Turned-'Father of Modern Philanthropy'". Fortune. Retrieved 2018-03-16.

Further reading