Double Vision: Stereoviews of Peabody and George Peabody


To people of the Victorian Era seeing something in 3D was as exciting to them as it is us. The stereoview was popular during the second half of the 18th century. Special cameras had two lenses that were spaced about two-and-a-half inches apart. Looking through a special viewfinder two images would appear as one with the perception of depth. Instead of sending a postcard people would bring home stereoviews, which allowed people to think they were there. Peabody was no exception to this trend.  Stereoviews were made up of important people and local landmarks, including the library. The images here demonstrate the wonder and thrill of early 3D technology.


All images are clickable

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Erik R. Bauer, archivist


* Historical Peabody

Each stereoview in this section represents a piece of Peabody’s past that no longer exists. Whether it be a house, a church, or a school, these buildings played an important part in the history of Peabody.

* Peabody Institute Library

With George Peabody’s generous gift of $20,000 to establish a “Lyceum for the delivery of lectures, and a Library, both of which should be free to the inhabitants of the town” the Peabody Institute Library has played an important role in the history of Peabody. Most notable have been the lectures and public programs that have taken place at the library from Josiah Quincy and Cyrus M. Tracy to more recently Professor Theoharis C. Theoharis.

* Death of George Peabody

George Peabody died on November 4, 1869 in London. Some British leaders wanted to bury Peabody at Westminster Abbey, but his will stated that he was to be buried in the City of Peabody. George Peabody’s death was not only felt in Peabody, but around much of the country and in England. In the United States, Congress voted to “pass resolutions of sorrow” while many churches gave sermons on his life.

George Peabody’s remains were transported on the M.S. Monarch and arrived in Portland Maine.  His coffin was then transported by train car and in each town the train went through, flags flew at half staff. Peabody’s body arrived in Peabody on February 1, 1870 and was transported to the Library where he lay in state for a week. Thousands passed by to pay their respects and on February 8, 1807 he was buried at Harmon Grove Cemetery.

The two stereographs in this section showcase the hidden side of George Peabody’s funeral. The first is of the inside of his funeral car; while the second is of George Peabody lying in state at the Library with two soldiers standing guard.