George Peabody

George Peabody


Feb. 18, 1795 Birth
Danvers, MA
Apr. 1862 Peabody Donation Fund created
1867 Peabody Education Fund created
Nov. 4, 1869 Death


George Peabody was a banker and philanthropist whose Peabody Education Fund was established in 1867 to "encourage the intellectual, moral, and industrial education of the destitute children of the Southern States."

Peabody first visited the United Kingdom in 1827 for business reasons and eventually established the George Peabody & Company banking firm in London.

In April 1862, Peabody established the Peabody Donation Fund to provide decent quality housing for the artisans and labouring poor of London. Peabody's philanthropy was recognised by his adopted London and on July 10 he was made a Freeman of the City of London in recognition of his contributions.

Founded of necessity due to damage caused largely by the American Civil War, the Peabody Education Fund promised in advance to southern state legislatures cooperative aid as soon as normal schools were instituted. Texas was the first State to respond to the proffer of substantial assistance. Because of a $2 Million endowment Sam Houston Normal Institute was able to open in 1879; money from the fund continued until 1904.

Texas was visited by two agents of the Peabody Fund: Barnas Sears and J.L.M. Curry.

Mary Estill, in her book Vision Realized (1970), identifies Peabody as one of "Five Who Served Sam Houston Well"- a group of individuals that were instrumental in the formation and early years of Sam Houston Normal Institute. Within the Main Building was a stained glass window bearing Peabody's name, as was a one-room library named for Peabody.

In 1902, the university's first library building - and the the first seperate library building at an institution of higher education in Texas - was named the Peabody Memorial Library in grateful appreciation of Peabody’s efforts.

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