Our Georgia History

George Foster Peabody
July 27, 1852 George Foster Peabody born, Columbus, Georgia
  George Foster Peabody
  Columbus, Georgia
March 4, 1938 George Foster Peabody dies at his home in Warm Springs, GA
  George Foster Peabody
March 29, 1941 First George Foster Peabody Awards are presented
  Peabody Awards
  George Foster Peabody

George Foster Peabody (he always used his full name to differentiate himself from George Peabody, a well-known slave trader in Georgetown, Maryland) was born to working parents in a well-to-do neighborhood in Columbus, Georgia, but the Civil War destroy his family wealth and forced a moved to a working-class Brooklyn, New York neighborhood. After joining an investment firm owned by Spencer Trask, Peabody became heavily involved in building railroads in the western United States. By 1906 Peabody had accumulated enough wealth to retire.

One of his life-long ambitions was to improve education in the South, especially for African-Americans. Additionally, as an active member of the Democratic Party he opposed the nomination of William Jennings Bryan in 1896, but later incorporated some of the campaign issues in his agendas, specifically as Montetary Convention of 1897 and as Treasurer of the Democratic Party in 1904.

Peabody, though, was not interested in running for office. When Woodrow Wilson offered him a position on the Federal Trade Commission he refused, but did serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve. In 1923 George Foster Peabody purchase an inn at Warm Springs, and personally recommended it to his old friend Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1924 (the future president was stricken with polio in 1921 and Peabody felt the warm, mineral-rich water might help Roosevelt regain his ability to walk).

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