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George Tompkins Peabody Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: George Tompkins Peabody Papers
    Dates: 1891-1941
    Collection Number: 2017_13
    Creator/Collector: Peabody, George Tompkins Lais Trading & Development Company
    Extent: 1 archives box.
    Repository: Sherman Library and Gardens
    Corona del Mar, California 92625
    Abstract: The collection consists of correspondence, documents, and news clippings related to the life and professional activities of George Tompkins Peabody.
    Language of Material: English


    These papers are open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the Sherman Library. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The Sherman Library do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    George Tompkins Peabody Papers. Sherman Library and Gardens

    Acquisition Information

    These papers were a gift from Shelly Fetterman.

    Biography/Administrative History

    George Tompkins Peabody was born July 23, 1879 in Sacramento, California to Henry Adams Peabody and Sallie Bradley Peabody. Peabody was a key figure in the development of the City of Newport Beach. He served on the first Board of Trustees of Newport Beach following the city’s incorporation in 1906. The following year, he was one of the sixteen “Harbor Boosters” responsible for the creation of the Chamber of Commerce, for which he later served as President. During his tenure, he handled the public relations and politics related to the Newport Harbor Development, public voting bond issues, and public hearings before the Board of Army Engineers attempting to gain federal assistance. Recognizing the potential of Pacific Electric Island as a commercial harbor, Peabody was instrumental in persuading oil tycoon W.K. Parkinson to purchase the island (renamed Lido Isle) in 1923. He, along with Harry Welch, aided Parkinson in obtaining a permit to build a bridge between Lido Isle and the Newport Beach mainland.
    The Peabodys were a prominent family in Newport Beach. His father, Henry, was editor and part owner of the Santa Ana Blade newspaper and served as Postmaster for the Santa Ana Post Office. In his youth, Peabody worked as a reporter for the Blade and later as a postal employee with the Post Office. He also often worked in the family store, Peabody’s Grocery, serving customers and delivering ice.
    He had a strong interest in forestry and, in early 1900, at the age of 20, joined the newly-formed Bureau of Forestry in Washington D.C. As Assistant Forester, Peabody worked in conjunction with Abbott Kinney to survey the forest conditions around Southern California. Additionally, he surveyed the forest conditions in Tennessee on behalf of the University of the South, where he also taught a course in forestry, and conducted a study of the New York State spruce production for paper pulp. Later that year, he served for two months as Timber Estimator in charge of forestry and lumbering operations for the Northwestern Lumber Company and the Frank H. Lamb Timberlands and Timber Products in Hoquiam, Grays Harbor County, Washington.
    In August 1901, Peabody joined a three-month gold mining expedition, serving as Mate aboard the yacht, “Violet.” The following year, he assumed a position as Chief Amalgamator at the Calmalli gold stamp mill for Charlie Gump and the Ybarra Gold Mining Company.
    Between January and May 1903, Peabody joined a voyage to the Philippine Islands, serving as a Commissary Worker for the U.S. Transportation Service aboard the “Thomas.” He then returned to Peabody’s Grocery, where he remained until 1910, overseeing management of the Peabody Investment Co., family enterprise, and the building of the Peabody Bath House. In the fall of 1911, he journeyed to Baja, California to prospect for family farm land on which to establish a commune.
    From 1912 to 1916, Peabody served as Supervisor of Planting for Dr. A.J. Chandler in Chandler, Maricopa County, Arizona. At this time, Chandler was experimenting with long staple cotton farming in the area. Peabody also served as Public Relations and assistant General Manager of the Chandler Improvement Company, Secretary/Manager of the Chandler Chamber of Commerce, and Secretary of the San Marcos Summer Club in Chandler. In 1914, he participated with fourteen others as a tenderfoot ostrich “cowboy” to drive 500 ostriches fifty miles through Arizona into Chandler.
    From October 1916 to February 1917, and again in 1918, Peabody led expeditions to Baja, California to explore mineral and farming potential in the area on behalf of the Parkinson Syndicate. Between 1918 and 1930, he served as the Business and Estate Manager for the Syndicate, and as Director of the Lido Isle dredging project.
    Peabody served as Consulting Engineer in charge of the 1926 study into water potential around Aztec, Arizona and was in charge of installing a water plant in Le Sage Arizona for the Yuma Company. From 1934 to 1936, he served as Garden Laborer for the Los Angeles County Playgrounds, S.E.R.A. and W.P.A. He went on to become Supervisor of Recreation until 1938.
    In 1938, Peabody became President of the Lais Trading & Development Company in Lais, Davao, Mindanao, Philippine Islands. In December 1941, serving as Brevet Major in the United States Armed Forces Far East, Davao Sector of Mindanao, he was sent to Davao to take charge of Off Shore Patrol and Communications. During this time, he became a leader in the resistance movement against the Japanese in the region. He was later betrayed to the Japanese and held prisoner until his death by beheading in December 1942. George Tompkins Peabody was survived by his wife, Blanche Peabody, and their children, George Wilkes Peabody and Ysabel Peabody Fetterman.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection consists of correspondence, documents, and news clippings related to the life and professional activities of George Tompkins Peabody. This includes materials related to the history of Newport Bay, business records of the Peabody Investment Company, and correspondence regarding Peabody’s death in 1942, A portion of the collection relates to Peabody’s expeditions in Baja, Mexico, including research materials, letters, and a scrapbook.

    Indexing Terms

    Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce.
    Newport Beach - Orange County - California.
    Philippine Islands.