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George Peabody Monument in Mount Vernon

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East Mount Vernon Place (Street View)

GPS: 39° 17′ 51.18″ N 76° 36′ 54.33″ W

History

Born in 1795 in the town of South Danvers, Massachusetts, George Peabody was an entrepreneur and philanthropist who moved to Baltimore in 1816, where he lived for twenty years overseeing the dry-goods mercantile business he co-founded, Peabody, Riggs, and Company.

In the 1850s, while in London, Peabody became involved in banking, forming a prominent partnership with Junius Spencer Morgan, father of financier JP Morgan. A number of large financial institutions, including Morgan Grenfell, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, can trace their roots directly back to Peabody’s handiwork. For this reason, a statue of Peabody quite similar to Baltimore’s was unveiled before his death beside the Royal Exchange in London.

Peabody is also considered to be father of modern philanthropy. In 1857, Peabody founded the first music conservatory in the United States in Baltimore, the Peabody Institute (now a part of Johns Hopkins University). In 1862, he set up the Peabody Trust in London to provide housing for the city’s deserving poor.

After the American Civil War, he established the Peabody Education Fund to educate children from the Southern States, and is known to have donated some $8 million dollars to charitable trusts and organizations during his lifetime. His philanthropic acts served as a model for others, including Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller and Bill Gates.

Notes

Peabody’s Baltimore Monument rests in the park just east of the Washington Monument in Mount Vernon. Immediately to his south is the historic Peabody Institute building, with the Mount Vernon Place Methodist Church to the north.

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Written by monumentcity

May 15th, 2009 at 1:33 pm