1722-1995; bulk: 1906-1970
Guide to the Collection
This collection consists of the personal and family papers, diaries, records, and scrapbooks of sculptress, horsewoman, farmer, and philanthropist Amelia Peabody of Boston and Dover, Mass.
Francis Howard Peabody
Francis Howard Peabody (1831-1905) was the son of William Bourne Oliver Peabody (1799-1847) and Elizabeth Amelia White (1799-1843). He had three brothers: Everett (1830-1862), Oliver W. (1834-1896), and William B. (1834-1894). Francis was first in the employ of the banking house John E. Thayer & Brother with his brother Oliver W. In 1865 Henry P. Kidder, Francis, and Oliver W. Peabody formed Kidder, Peabody & Co. In 1854, Francis married Lucy Adelaide Kinsley (1831-1914). Their children were Frank Everett (1856-1918), Fanny (1858-1896), and Lilian (1863-1942). Fanny and Lilian never married.
Frank Everett Peabody
Frank Everett Peabody (1856-1918) was employed in the family business Kidder, Peabody & Co. He married in 1882 Gertrude Bayley (1859-1937). Their children were: Everett (1885-1900) and Amelia (1890-1984). The couple maintained a summer house in Marblehead, Mass., and their winter residence at 120 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston. They also purchased a farm ("Snipatuit Farm") and camp on a lake in North Rochester, Mass. Frank enjoyed hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and yachting. Frank's widow Gertrude (Bayley) married (2nd) in 1920 a long-time family friend, William Storer Eaton.
Amelia Peabody was born in 1890, the daughter of Frank E. Peabody, a partner in the investment house of Kidder, Peabody. After her debut in 1909, she studied sculpture at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts under Charles Grafly and became an accomplished sculptress, horsewoman, farm owner and breeder, and philanthropist. At her farms in Dover, Mass., she raised registered Hereford cattle, Yorkshire pigs, sheep, and thoroughbred horses. For many years, she was the Chairman of the Arts and Skills Service of the American Red Cross, which promoted art therapy for wounded servicemen during World War II, and continued to promote art therapy for hospital patients of all kinds after the War. She maintained her family home at 120 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, as well as Mill Farm, her residence in Dover, Mass., and Powisset Farm, also in Dover, with a number of other land holdings in that town. Miss Peabody died of natural causes in 1984, leaving the bulk of her vast estate to charity.
William Storer Eaton
William Storer Eaton (1854-1949), long a bachelor who pursued outdoor activities in North Rochester and Marblehead, and maintained the family fortunes, married in 1920 Gertrude (Bayley) Peabody, the widow of his long-time friend Frank Everett Peabody. Eaton owned a large yacht, Taormina, on which the couple lived in the summer months. They also owned a house ("The Bog") in Lakeville, Mass. Eaton was the son of William Storer Eaton (1817-1902) and Frederica Warren Goddard (1822-1894). He was descended from the Quincy and Storer families through his father. His siblings were Georgiana Goddard and Francis Storer Eaton. Eaton died in 1949, leaving the bulk of his estate to his step-daughter Amelia Peabody.
Rhoads, Linda Smith. Amelia Peabody. Boston, 1998.
The collection consists of personal and family papers, scrapbooks, diaries and records, and photographs of Amelia Peabody and her family, and related items of William Storer Eaton, her stepfather and also a long-time family friend to the Peabodys. The collection is housed in 7 manuscript boxes and 25 cased volumes.
The loose papers in the collection consist of materials relating to the estate of Amelia Peabody, her various properties and possessions, and their disposition. There are also genealogical notes on a number of families from which Amelia Peabody and William S. Eaton descended; and a series of wills and related matter concerning various family members. The personal papers include Storer family papers presumably gathered and saved by William S. Eaton; papers relating to the death of Everett Peabody (1839-1862), killed at the Battle of Shiloh in the Civil War; some items pertaining to Oliver W. Peabody, Gertrude Peabody, and William S. Eaton; and miscellaneous papers of Amelia Peabody, mostly newspaper clippings, brief notes and ephemera, and materials related to her death in 1984.
The diaries and records include a two-volume travel journal of Francis H. Peabody, 1872; a diary kept by Gertrude (Bayley) Peabody at Snipatuit Farm, 1905-1923; and two volumes of records for the yacht Taormina kept by William S. Eaton, 1938-1941. Amelia Peabody volumes consist of a diary in three volumes, 1909-1918; a travel diary, 1927; a line-a-day diary, 1935-1940; three date books with scattered diary entries, 1957, 1963, and 1972; an undated sketchbook; and a sculpture record notebook.
The scrapbooks, in 15 volumes, are the physical bulk of the personal papers. They were all kept (presumably) by Amelia Peabody, and contain photographs, newspaper and magazine clippings, greeting cards, and other ephemera, pertaining to Amelia Peabody's interests and activities which included horseback riding, sculpture and the arts, travel, British royalty, the Red Cross Arts and Skills program, animal husbandry, her farms, her solar house, items about her friends and acquaintances, and much matter on Boston Society people and events.
Printed materials removed from the collection appear at the end of this guide. Photographs have been removed to the Amelia Peabody photographs (Photo. Coll. 28; see the guide to that collection for more details) and the MHS Photo Archives (unprocessed oversize).
This collection was given to the Massachusetts Historical Society by the Amelia Peabody Charitable Fund, 30 December 1998, with additions in March 2009.
Detailed Description of the Collection
I. Personal and family papers, 1722-1995
The family papers include matter relating to the Storer family, Everett Peabody, Oliver W. Peabody, Peabody Associates, Gertrude Bayley, William S. Eaton, and Amelia Peabody. The Storer family papers were removed from a scrapbook; the items are numbered in the order in which they appeared in the scrapbook. Included is a 1722 letter from Ebenezer Storer (1699-1761) to Mary Edwards (1700-1771); a history of his business troubles during the Revolution by Ebenezer Storer (1730-1807); and an 1802 "Memorandum of Affairs" by Ebenezer Storer (1730-1807), as well as later copies of family correspondence and other writings. Silhouettes of Ebenezer Storer (1730-1807) and Charles Bulfinch (1763-1844) have been removed to the MHS silhouettes collection.
The materials relating to Everett and Oliver W. Peabody were bound into a scrapbook, along with numerous photographs, detailing the death of Everett Peabody and Civil War experience of Oliver W. Peabody. There are many newspaper clippings concerning the manner of Everett's death in the Battle of Shiloh, as well as correspondence with Oliver W. and Francis H. Peabody from many acquaintances concerning the death of Everett. Later items describe Oliver W. Peabody's service as Captain and Lieutenant Colonel of the 45th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment and his death in 1896. This scrapbook was disbound in Feb. 2000. The items are numbered according to their order in the scrapbook. Photographs from the scrapbook were removed to the MHS Photo. Archives, Amelia Peabody photographs (Photo. Coll. 28); see the Guide to that collection for details.
Amelia Peabody's personal papers consist of a few drawings, many newspaper clippings regarding family matters, a few items of correspondence and ephemera, and a series of newspaper articles and other documents concerning her life and career, death and memorials.
William Storer Eaton's papers consist of a few drawings and newspaper clippings, poetry about his "Nichewaug Club" (a horseback-riding club), and loose items from his Taormina record books (Diaries and Records, vols. 9-10).
Gertrude Peabody Eaton's papers consist of two manuscript poems removed from her farm diary (Diaries and Records, vol. 3).
Items removed from a scrapbook. Includes genealogical information, writings, correspondence, and obituaries of Storer family members. Penciled numbers on items reflect their original order in the scrapbook.
Materials removed from a scrapbook, mostly concerning Col. Everett Peabody of the 25th Missouri Regiment and his death at the Battle of Shiloh in the Civil War (1862). Includes correspondence, newspaper articles, and obituaries. Penciled numbers on items reflect their original order in the scrapbook.
Materials removed from a scrapbook. Penciled numbers on items reflect their order in the scrapbook. Items concern his participation in the Civil War as Lieut. Colonel of the 45th Mass. Vol. Infantry Regiment and his death in 1896.
Two poems removed from her farm diary (Diaries and Records, Vol. 3).
Poems and drawings regarding the Nichewaug Club's ride from Boston to Petersham, Oct. 4-11, 1883.
Miscellaneous writings, drawings, and newspaper clippings.
Loose items removed from the yacht Taormina record books (Diaries and Records, Vol. 9-10).
Brief notes, ephemera, newspaper clippings, and some correspondence.
Birth certificate, Colonial Dames application, and newspaper articles.
Obituaries, memorial services, and church programs.
II. Genealogical papers
The genealogical papers include wills and/or other items concerning the deaths of Georgiana G. Eaton, Gertrude (Bayley) Peabody Eaton, William S. Eaton Sr., William S. Eaton Jr., Georgie Andrews Kinsley, Frank E. Peabody, Lilian Peabody, Mary L. Peabody, and Oliver W. Peabody. There are numerous notes and genealogical matter for the Atkins/Gray, Bancroft, Bayley, Bourne, Eaton, Kinsley/Billings, Leonard, Peabody, Porter/Varnham, Quincy/Hancock, Tobey, and Walker families.
A. Wills, etc.
III. Estate papers
The estate papers (boxes 3-5) are papers presumably gathered by the executors of Amelia Peabody's estate. They contain appraisals of real estate, furniture, paintings, jewelry, and stock holdings, with other inventories of property and papers relating to the disposition of the estate and properties at 120 Commonwealth Avenue and 328 Newbury Street in Boston, and her numerous land holdings and buildings in Dover, Mass. Box 3 contains all papers relative to 120 Commonwealth Avenue and 328 Newbury Street (the Peabody garages). Box 4 contains papers pertaining to all the properties in Dover, Mass. Materials in Box 5 relate to the estate in general, and include items such as deeds for plots in Forest Hills Cemetery (Jamaica Plain, Mass.), a portfolio evaluation, papers concerning farm equipment and livestock, jewelry appraisals, instructions to the executors, and other matters.
A. 120 Commonwealth Avenue and 328 Newbury Street
B. Dover properties
C. Miscellaneous estate papers
IV. Diaries and records, 1872-1972
There are 15 volumes of diaries and records in the collection. The first two are a detailed European travel journal of Francis H. Peabody kept in 1872, when he traveled abroad with his family and others. Volume 3 is a diary kept by Gertrude (Bayley) Peabody, later Eaton, at "Snipatuit Farm" and camp, a Peabody property in North Rochester, Mass., 1905-1923, when the farm was sold. Volumes 4-6 are an intimate diary kept by Amelia Peabody, from her "coming out" in 1909 to 1918. Volume 7 is a travel diary kept by Amelia Peabody in 1927 on a voyage to Madeira, Gibraltar, Algiers, Monaco, Naples, Greece, Damascus, Jerusalem, Cairo, Venice, and other locations. Box 6 contains five small Amelia Peabody volumes, including a line-a-day diary, 1935-1940; three date books with scattered diary entries, 1957, 1963, and 1972; and an undated sketchbook. Volume 8 is a notebook of records of sculpture by Amelia Peabody, with name (if any) of the sculpture, size, price, where shown, the purchases or commissioner, etc. No dates are given, but the notebook appears to date from the 1960s. Volumes 9-10 are record books for W.S. Eaton's yacht Taormina for 1938-1941, with photographs, guest lists, ephemera, and summaries of activities by season.
A formal journal in two volumes, probably copied out upon return from the trip. Peabody, his wife and children traveled with a group of friends and/or relatives in the Royal Mail Steam Ship Siberia from Boston to Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands. They sailed home from England in the Russia to New York City. The volumes contain some photographs and photographic postcards.
Diary kept at Snipatuit Farm and camp in North Rochester, Mass. The diary ends with the sale of the property and shipment of furniture to Amelia Peabody's Mill Farm in Dover, Mass.
NOTE: Use photocopies in Box 5a.
Diary kept while traveling to Madeira, Gibraltar, Algiers, Monaco, Naples, Greece, Damascus, Jerusalem, Cairo, Venice, and other locales in Italy.
One line-a-day diary, 1935-1940; three date books with scattered diary entries, 1957, 1963, and 1972; and an undated sketchbook.
Notebook with records of Amelia Peabody's sculpture by name, size, price, where shown, purchaser, etc. Not all of her sculpture is listed here. No dates are given, but the volume appears to date from the 1960s.
Two volumes of photographs, guest lists, ephemera, seasonal summaries of activities.
V. Scrapbooks, 1906-1973
The scrapbooks were all kept presumably by Amelia Peabody, and contain photographs, newspaper clippings, magazine clippings, greeting cards, and other ephemera relating to her many interests and activities. These include, but are not limited to, sculpture, horses, animal husbandry, her solar house, the Red Cross Arts and Skills program, her farms in Dover, the activities of family members and friends, as well as Boston high society events. (Note that photographs in scrapbooks have not been numbered as part of the Amelia Peabody photographs, Photo. Coll. 28). Volumes 5 and 6 are scrapbooks documenting the design, construction, and function of Amelia Peabody's solar house in Dover, Mass.
Amelia Peabody papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.
Materials Removed from the Collection
Photographs in this collection have been removed to the Amelia Peabody photographs, ca. 1845-1960 (Photo. Coll. 28) and the MHS Photo Archives (unprocessed oversize).
For a list of printed materials removed from this collection, see Curator of Manuscripts.
The following items have been removed to the MHS engravings collection:
Unidentified man, profile bust. Engraving.
William B.O. Peabody. S.W. Cheney, [original artist]. J. Andrews, [engraver]. E.H. Bass, Print (1 copy).
Oliver W.B. Peabody. Tappan & Bradford's Lith. (1 copy).
Paul B. Goddard. M.D. Engraved by T.H. Welch, from a daguerreotype by Richards. Phila. Pubd. By Harrison. 39 So. 8th. St. Philada.
The following items have been removed to the MHS silhouettes collection:
Charles Bulfinch / Architect of the State House. By Unidentified silhouettist. Blank ink on wove paper on gray card stock, dated [late 18th c.]. Removed from Box 1, folder 3.
Ebenezer Storer / 1775. By Unidentified silhouettist. Wove paper, hollow cut with black paper backing on gray card stock, dated [late 18th c.]. Removed from Box 1, folder 1.