George Peabody

American-British entrepreneur and philanthropist

George Peabody (/ˈpbədi/ PEE-bə-dee; February 18, 1795 – November 4, 1869) was an American financier and philanthropist, and slave trader.[1] He was widely thought as the father of modern philanthropy. He founded the Peabody Trust in Britain and the Peabody Institute and George Peabody Library in Baltimore.

George Peabody
George Peabody by Southworth & Hawes c1850.jpg
George Peabody
Born(1795-02-18)February 18, 1795
DiedNovember 4, 1869(1869-11-04) (aged 74)
Cause of deathPneumonia
Resting placeHarmony Grove Cemetery, Salem, Massachusetts
OccupationFinancier, banker, entrepreneur
Parent(s)Thomas Peabody and Judith Dodge

Peabody's early company Riggs, Peabody and Co. was based in Maryland, a slave state. It bought and sold slaves as well as related goods like clothing for slaves. When he lived in London, he received visits from his relative Herbert C. Peabody, a slave owner and cotton planter in Mobile, Alabama.[2][3]

Peabody was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and made a Freeman of the City of London, among many other honors. He was given a funeral and temporary grave in Westminster Abbey.[4]


  1. Spielman, Fran (4 May 2004). "Bank Adds To Slavery Disclosure". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 2020-10-08. Retrieved 2 November 2020. The documents from Riggs, Peabody and Co., a predecessor of J.P. Morgan Chase, include a December 1833 receipt for a pair of shoes for a slave named Sally. For William W. Corcoran, a client of George Peabody, there was a receipt for an August 1832 ad placed in the Columbia Gazette for the private sale of slaves. And there was a Peabody and Riggs receipt listing slaves transported on a ship called the Aurora.
  2. "Herbert C. Peabody Papers, 1845-1859". The Southern Historical Collection at the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  3. "H C Peabody in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedules". Ancestry Library Edition. 1850. Retrieved 2020-11-13. Name: H C Peabody; Residence Date: 1850; Residence Place: Mobile, Mobile, Alabama, USA; Number of Enslaved People: 8
  4. "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.

Other websitesEdit

  •   Media related to George Peabody at Wikimedia Commons
  • Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum. Repository of 145 linear feet of Peabody's business and personal papers.