- William McClellan
- , revised by Blake Howe
(b South Danvers [now in Peabody], MA, Feb 18, 1795; d London, UK, Nov 4, 1869). American philanthropist, active in England. From 1807 he worked in retail stores and dry-goods businesses in New England, Baltimore (with branches in New York and Philadelphia), and Great Britain. After living in Baltimore for twenty-two years (1815–37), he settled in London, establishing the firm of George Peabody & Co. (1843–64), which specialized in foreign exchange and American securities. His business prospered, and he spent most of his fortune in philanthropy; his gifts enabled several institutes, libraries, lyceums, and museums to be established in the United States during the 1850s and 1860s, and he was also a major benefactor of the poor by financing housing in London. On visits to the USA he promoted public education in the southern states, made substantial gifts to museums at Harvard and Yale universities, and founded the Peabody Institute (Peabody, Massachussetts) and the Peabody Academy of Science (Salem, Massachussetts). In Baltimore, he gave $1,400,000 to establish the Peabody Institute in ...