George Foster Peabody (1852-1938), namesake of the awards, was a highly successful investment banker who devoted much of his fortune to education and social enterprise. Born in Columbus, Georgia, Mr. Peabody was especially interested in the state University in Athens and made significant contributions to the its library, the development of its School of Forestry, and the War Memorial Fund.
Along with his business partner, Spencer Trask, and Mr. Trask’s wife, Katrina, Mr. Peabody helped found Yaddo, the famous artists’ retreat at Saratoga Springs, New York. A friend of Franklin D. Roosevelt, it was Mr. Peabody who suggested that the President establish a residence in Warm Springs, Georgia, as a palliative for his polio.
Mr. Peabody was granted honorary degrees by Harvard University, Washington and Lee University and the University of Georgia, of which he was made a life trustee by special legislative act. While he never saw television and only rarely listened to radio, the visage of George Foster Peabody has become synonymous with excellence in electronic media.