Objects of Desire: Hidden Gems from the Peabody Institute Library


Material culture, unlike written text or spoken word, is not based on what we write or say, but represents who we are as individuals and a community though the objects we own.

The Peabody Institute Library, like many archives, has a collection of objects that are rarely seen or explored. This exhibit puts those objects front and center.

Click and explore the various sections and images of this exhibit.


Erik R. Bauer, archivist & Hannah Render, intern


Celebrating George Peabody

In many ways George Peabody is a mythical figure. The fourth of ten children from a poor family, George Peabody did not complete school; however, he went on to become one of the wealthiest men of the 19th century. 

He traveled to London, the ecomonic capital of the world at the time, contiuned to invest wisely and then started to give his fortune away to the causes he believed in. Many of these causes revolved around improving the lives of the poor and the uneducated.

The objects in this section highlight various honors and aspects of George Peabody's life in London.

Around Town: Local Items of Peabody

Although many of the residents of Peabody were not able to tell their stories, some did leave behind objects and belongings that inform us about who they were. 

Although we may not know the details of who used these objects they showcase the diversity what is in the Library's collection and help to the residents of the past live on.


Included are the sources where various information was found for this exhibit.