James Bishop Peabody was born in New York City on 13 September 1922, the son of John Damon and Mary Bishop Peabody. He was the third son in what soon was to become a five-child family, with two older brothers, Charles (now deceased) and John, and two younger sisters, Teresa and Muriel. His father was a lawyer in New York, and the family alternated between a house in the city and a place on Long Island. Jimmy’s first introduction to New England came when the family purchased a summer house in Princeton, Massachusetts, which he visited regularly while he was at Groton and Harvard.
Jimmy received his elementary school education at the Allen-Stevenson School in New York City and then spent two years at Fessenden, eagerly awaiting a chance to enter Groton. And it is easy to understand his early enthusiasm for Groton. Endicott Peabody, the founder of the school, was a family connection, his father had graduated from Groton in 1902, and his two older brothers were students there when he enrolled in 1935. He spent the next six years at Groton and during that period developed a deep affection for and loyalty to the school. Though he was happy at Groton and well liked by his classmates, his career there was not an outstanding one. He played in the band, sang in the choir, and was active on the gym team—in short, his record was that of an average adolescent schoolboy.
Again it was no surprise that he should go from Groton to Harvard, where members of his family had gone for generations. He entered in the fall of 1941, stayed until 1943, then left to enlist in the Army as a private, returned in 1945, and completed his college education in 1947, graduating with a degree in History and Literature cum laude. Again Jimmy was a popular undergraduate, though he did not particularly distinguish himself in student activities. He gave the Latin Oration at Commencement and played tennis and squash, but his main interest was in his studies. Perhaps his greatest satisfaction in college was the friendships he made with members of the Classics Department; writing in the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Report of his class, he speaks of “the lasting impression made on me at college by men like Kenneth Rand, Arthur Stanley Pease, John Finley, Mason Hammond, Sterling Dow and Peter Elder.”
After graduation from Harvard College, Jimmy entered the Harvard Law School, where he received his degree in 1950. But he had reservations about joining a big-city law firm and instead decided to try his hand at government service. From 1951 through 1953 he was first Resident Officer and then Vice-Consul in Hamburg, Germany, where he speaks of becoming a “speed motorcyclist” in his spare time. But routine foreign service work, especially in a period of relative calm in international affairs, proved uncongenial, and he determined to try practicing law after all. In 1954 he became associated with the New York City firm of Carter, Ledyard and Milborn, where he was to remain for three years. Apparently his original reservations about a career as a lawyer in this country proved well grounded, for after three years he had had enough. He then determined to return to Europe to get a doctor’s degree in International Law at the University of Paris, “with the thought,” as he wrote, “of combining legal with diplomatic training and experience in an international organization.”
Jimmy Peabody accomplished a great deal during his four-year sojourn in Paris, from 1957 to 1961. He won his doctorate in International Law at the University of Paris with distinction, his thesis subject being “Rôle du Régime de la Tutalle en Droit International Publique”; he also won a diploma at the Hague Academy of International Law, again with distinction; and finally, when it seemed likely that he would be appointed to a position working for the United Nations in the Near East, he earned a degree in Classical Arabic from L’École des Langues Orientales Vivantes in Paris. With all these degrees under his belt, he went to Lebanon in 1961 to prepare himself for his prospective United Nations position. Much to his disgust, he discovered that the classical Arabic that he had learned in France was incomprehensible to the local Arabs. As a result he spent the winter of 1961–1962 with some Jesuits in the mountains north of Beirut learning the local dialect. It might be added parenthetically that Jimmy was an accomplished linguist; in a Curriculum Vitae that he prepared about this time he reported that he was fluent in French and German and that he had an elementary knowledge of Spanish, Italian, and Arabic. An enthusiastic ornithologist, Jimmy was looking forward to studying the birds of the Near East. Much to his dismay he soon discovered that the Arabs’ only interest in birds was in shooting them for sport. As a result he transferred his interest to astronomy and studied that subject with a group of British scientists in the area.
For the next four years Jimmy worked for the United Nations Relief and Works Administration as legal counsel in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. He was alarmed at the conditions he found in the region, particularly the position of the Palestinian refugees. He had applauded the American intervention in Lebanon under President Eisenhower, mainly because the United States withdrew immediately, but he was fearful that American policy under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson might lead to disastrous commitments in the Near East. Had this country not been so heavily involved in Vietnam, he concluded, the United States might well have blundered in the Near East as well.
Jimmy’s tour of duty with the United Nations ended in 1966. That same year he returned to Paris and married Ann Chadwick Reinicke, daughter of Commodore and Mrs. Frederick G. Reinicke. The bride and groom had known each other since they were young people together in New York; over the years they had continued to be attracted to each other; and finally they both decided that marriage was the relationship that they both desired. There followed eleven years of happiness for them both. Perhaps it was because of his marriage; perhaps it was because he had become jaundiced about his usefulness in his United Nations position; in any event Jimmy and Ann decided to return to the United States. And it was natural that he should turn to his old school, Groton, to apply for a teaching position there. The Reverend Bert Honea, Jr., then Headmaster of the school, offered him a place, and in the fall of 1966 he and his new wife moved to Groton. Jimmy’s career as a teacher at Groton will be treated in more detail below; suffice it to say here that he remained at Groton for four years and then moved with his wife and mother-in-law to Boston.
Paul Wright, Headmaster Emeritus of Groton, has spoken of Jimmy Peabody as a “Renaissance man.” And there is a great deal of truth in this characterization. In addition to being a trained lawyer and a student of international law, he was an accomplished linguist, a painter and musician, an enthusiastic ornithologist, a scholar in the fields of history and literature, and finally a man who lent himself to innumerable good causes. The catholicity of his interests probably explains why he was never really happy focusing on one speciality. In any event the last seven years of his life, spent in Boston, gave him the opportunity to contribute importantly to a variety of activities. He was devoted to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, where he served as Secretary until his death; he was Recording Secretary of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts and, as will be noted later, made important contributions to its publications; he was a Trustee of the Merrimack Valley Textile Museum in North Andover and of the Charity of Edward Hopkins; and he was a member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, of the Somerset Club, and of the Club of Odd Volumes. It was during this period in his life that he made his most important contributions in the writing of history. And finally he helped his brother and sisters in dealing with their financial affairs. Jimmy seemed to thrive when he had a number of different activities all going on at the same time, and had it not been for his illness, this would undoubtedly have been the happiest period of his life.
About 1970 he had a routine physical examination which, as an officer in the United States Army Reserve, he was required to undergo annually. The doctor called him back because, he said, there was something in the blood tests that bothered him. After a second series of tests, the doctor reported that Jimmy had leukemia. He never flinched when he got this news, and over the next five years displayed extraordinary courage in the face of adversity. He fought the disease itself right up to the end, and, more remarkable, he fought to finish several historical projects that he had undertaken. During his last months, when he was a patient at the Massachusetts General Hospital, his room was filled with books on Benjamin Franklin, taken out from the Boston Athenæum, with the aid of which he hoped to finish the study of Franklin that he was working on. As the end approached, Jimmy began to write poetry, both to amuse himself and to enable him to make some statements about what he was going through. Here is one, in sonnet form, with an extra sestet:
The Bone Marrow Test
The doctor comes with all his crew
Equipment, gloves and needles too.
The patient quakes with fear and dread
And even wishes he were dead.
The doctor’s face is wreathed in smiles
As he prepares his usual guiles.
It’s nothing, my son, nothing at all;
You won’t even feel it or hardly at all.
The nurses approach like fiendish ghouls
Or deadly vampires, armed with tools.
The doctor makes his initial jabs
As if to remove the outer scabs
And clear the way with novacaine
To kill, he says, all of the pain.
The patient lies there full of hope
That he will kill the pain with dope.
Now is the moment when all hopes fail,
For the doctor has grasped the wicked nail
And made it ready for the kill
By putting it in a pneumatic drill.
Great poetry this is not; striking testimony of the courage of a dying man it is. Jimmy died on 22 March 1977.
Such, then, is a brief outline of James Bishop Peabody’s life. Yet his story would not be complete without further discussion of four areas that meant a great deal to him: his devotion to his church; his affection for and loyalty to Groton School; his scholarly productions; and finally, his distinguished career in the Army, first during the war and then as an officer in the Army Reserve.
Throughout his life Jimmy Peabody was a devout High Church Episcopalian. When he was an undergraduate at Groton, the school’s religious program meant a great deal to him—indeed he was just the type of adolescent for whom church schools were founded—and throughout his life he was quick to challenge any moves on the part of the school that he thought were diluting that program. After he came to live in Boston, he was a parishioner at Trinity Church, but he also frequently attended services at St. Paul’s, where his friend, the Very Reverend Charles H. Buck, Jr., was Dean. Jimmy was violently opposed to various attempts, made particularly in the 1960’s, to “modernize” Episcopal church services, and when aroused on this subject, his language could be sulphuric. Writing his friend Walter Whitehill about some “modern” clergymen for whom he had no respect, he said, “We hear that in some of their houses the words ‘Jesus Christ’ are never mentioned except when the janitor falls down the back stairs.” He was disgusted with religious trends at Harvard and wondered “what can be done to save Memorial Church from becoming a temple to Shiva or a Buddhist shrine in the interests of ‘religious pluralism’” at the university. A friend sent him a newspaper account of the consecration of an Episcopal bishop in Utah. According to the account the ceremonies included “firecrackers, noisemakers, balloons, cowbells, confetti, cheers, shouts, kisses, guitars, psychedelic vestments, flutes, whirrers, blue-jeaned trumpeters, tipsy teen-agers (who guzzled and emptied the Holy Communion chalices as if it were a beer bust) and a choir that was forbidden to vest and told instead to wear ‘fun clothes.’” Jimmy was truly horrified at this and wrote letters of protest to everyone he could think of. How strongly he felt about changing the original Episcopal service can be seen in his statement, “If the Book of Common Prayer goes down the drain, so does our church.” As in so many other aspects of his life, Jimmy was a conservative and a traditionalist in church matters, and when he saw what he believed to be the true church threatened by “modern” reformers, he fought hard to prevent the proposed changes. And yet Jimmy was no bigot. His wife, Ann, was a Roman Catholic; throughout their marriage he respected her religious convictions as much as he did his own.
When the newly married Peabodys decided to return to the United States in the summer of 1966, it was to establish themselves in Groton in time for the opening of school that fall. There followed four years of service as a teacher. It must be stated frankly that as a secondary-school teacher, Jimmy’s career was less than successful. In the course of his stay at Groton, he was passed from one department to another, teaching Latin, French, history, and sacred studies. More important in explaining his relative lack of success was the fact that he was given the youngest boys to teach—eighth, ninth, and tenth graders. It soon became apparent that Jimmy lacked an essential quality for dealing with this age group—a combination of ham actor and vaudevillian, coupled with a willingness to make a damn fool of himself, that has endeared many a teacher to younger boys. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that Jimmy was not gifted in dealing with young adolescents in classroom situations, though he had many friends among them on the outside. The chances are that he would have done much better had he been given mature Sixth-Formers to work with. Yet there was no question about his basic competence. He knew his material and could present it with unusual lucidity. The success that he had teaching adult officers in various Army schools, where he was acclaimed as one of the finest instructors in the service, demonstrates that when given a mature audience he could accomplish wonders pedagogically. This same point is borne out by the respect and affection that Jimmy won from his faculty colleagues at Groton, especially Henry Howe Richards, who had spent his entire life teaching English at the school.
Jimmy probably could not have come to Groton at a worse time, given his basic convictions about the school. He arrived just as student rebellion was being mounted, and before he left, he saw one cherished principle after another toppled. Jimmy subscribed wholeheartedly to what at Groton was called the Old Formula, stated by the founder, Endicott Peabody, in the early years of the school:
Groton School has been a Church School for boys, brought together under a headmaster and faculty in a family relationship through boarding, subject to an exacting curriculum, the discipline of which is based on the study of languages, and subject to Spartan conditions by today’s standards.
Jimmy believed that the Old Formula was being systematically dismantled, and he found the new programs almost intolerable. The dilution of the school’s religious program—especially the abandonment of compulsory chapel—dismayed him. The proposal to increase the size of the school from 180 to 300 would, he was sure, destroy the familial relationship that had been a hallmark of Groton since its founding. The introduction of new “relevant,” “non-cognitive” courses struck at the very foundations of the original Groton curriculum. And the construction of new effete living quarters was a far cry from Endicott Peabody’s “Spartan” cubicles. Though he never came right out and said so, it was clear that Jimmy thought that Groton should be a school designed to serve the elite, Episcopalian WASPs of the country. Thus he was particularly concerned about the school’s attempt to introduce disadvantaged Negroes into the student body. Here again he was not bigoted; he simply feared that the introduction of elements completely foreign to the traditions of the school would fatally compromise its earlier standards. He was appalled at attempts to introduce “patterns of ghetto thought into the curriculum in the form of soul courses,” and he quoted Bayard Rustin to support his position: “What in hell are soul courses worth in the real world? No one gives a damn if you’ve taken soul courses. They want to know if you can do mathematics and write a correct sentence.” As Jimmy wrote his friend Walter Whitehall, his main aim was “to keep up the academic standards in the place in the face of a new anti-intellectual onslaught which is threatening to turn us all into keepers in a non-cognitive zoo.”
A final blow to his reservations about recent trends at Groton came when the Trustees voted, in 1971, to make the school coeducational in 1974. Coupled with this basic vote were proposals to increase both the size of the school and the number of day students. This time Jimmy determined to do battle with the Trustees directly, to engage in what he called “a campaign against the Trustees of Groton School resisting their plans to turn the place into a coeducational flop house.” To be sure, Jimmy had now left the Groton faculty, and this may have made it easier for him to oppose the Trustees and Headmaster, but the chances are that he would have protested just as vigorously had he still been on the staff. It is easy to see why coeducation would be anathema to Jimmy. Girls, he was sure, would mean the end of the old Groton that he held so dear. And Groton was “the most unsuitable of all schools” for coeducation, both because of the physical plant and of the ethos of the school community. In an effort to put pressure on the Trustees to change their decision—or at least to postpone it—Jimmy became a prime mover in what came to be known as the Ad Hoc Committee, a group of Groton alumni strongly opposed to coeducation. In the spring of 1972 this committee sent out an appeal to all Groton alumni, stating the case against coeducation and urging each alumnus to fill out an enclosed postcard recording his views on the issue of coeducation. The appeal quoted Professor James Coleman, of Coleman report fame, to the effect that, contrary to conventional wisdom, coeducation did not result in happier, better adjusted adolescents. They also quoted the Harvard sociologist David Riesman as saying that “it would be a real loss if the non-coed type of school with high standards of excellence should disappear entirely.” The Ad Hoc Committee met with the Trustees in June 1972 but got nowhere. In September they sent out a second letter pointing out that they had received responses to their first letter from over 50 percent of the living Groton alumni—over 1,000 in all. Of these 482 opposed coeducation at Groton, 72 were undecided, and 455 favored coeducation. Despite these figures, that was the end of the formal protest, and, of course, today Groton is, like most schools of its type, coeducational. As with other schools, however, the dispute left wounds some of which may never heal. Without in any way attempting to pass judgment on the merits of the issue, the fact remains that James Bishop Peabody insisted on standing up and being counted for what he believed was right for his school. Some of the Groton Trustees never forgave him for that opposition as long as he lived.
Yet it was not merely what was going on at Groton that alarmed Jimmy. He was disgusted with the whole generation of young people in the 1960’s. Consider the following blast:
I have been influenced by the ecological point of view to the extent that I believe Nature will take care of a lot of the unnatural behaviour (and its consequences) of this crazy mixed-up generation. They are like the lemmings who will destroy themselves through drugs, VD, or what not if we refuse to get too socialistic and concerned about them and try to mother them all in hospitals, psychiatric wards and prisons. If one believes in personal responsibility, there does come a point where the bubble-heads must be left to their own devices, as long as they do not become public nuisances, when society can rightfully step in and administer some healthy punishment. If this does not work, I think an export policy should be adopted to some of the garden of Eden countries that the bubbleheads like so well, and we should ship them out there at the taxpayers’ expense provided they can not get back to this country. I gather Castro and Mao could be persuaded to accept some of their fans if we gave them some economic concessions. . . .
The third area that meant a great deal to Jimmy Peabody was historical scholarship. Though he was unable to complete two important projects that he was working on at the time of his death, he was nonetheless able to make some significant contributions to the field during his lifetime. His first book came about by chance rather than by any design on his part. Lewis Einstein, the distinguished American diplomat and scholar, had married a cousin of Jimmy’s when they were both relatively advanced in years. Einstein was looking for someone who would edit his correspondence with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., covering the period from 1903 to 1935. Jimmy was obviously qualified for the job; he undertook it eagerly, and in due course The Holmes-Einstein Letters were published by Macmillan in London, with an American edition following. Through no fault of Jimmy’s the collection lacked balance, since there were 207 letters from Holmes and only 56 from Einstein. This resulted from the fact that Einstein kept every letter from Holmes, while the latter had a habit of destroying personal letters that he did not wish posterity to see. Still, the volume gave the reader new insights into Holmes’s personality. Since Einstein had no interest in legal matters as such, the correspondence focused on other areas—literature, art, current personalities, and the like. While Jimmy’s editorial work may not have equaled that of Professor Mark DeWolfe Howe of the Harvard Law School in his editions of the Holmes-Pollock letters and the Holmes-Laski letters, the Holmes-Einstein volume stood as a fascinating supplement to those two works.
Shortly after he left Groton in 1970, Jimmy was commissioned by Newsweek-Harper & Row to prepare a “biography in his own words” of John Adams as part of a series on the Founding Fathers that the publishers were planning for the bicentennial. Although Adams had written autobiographical fragments and an extensive diary, no relatively short account in his own words of his role in the American Revolution and of his presidency existed. Drawing almost exclusively from the Adams Papers, which were currently being published by the Harvard University Press under the editorship of Lyman H. Butterfield, who wrote an introduction to the volume, Jimmy pieced together selections from Adams’s writings so as to make a continuous story of his life. While some reviewers questioned the basic concept of rearranging material written at different times so as to produce a chronologically organized narrative, their criticism was voiced against the publishers rather than against Jimmy. Certainly he executed his mission in a highly competent way, and the resulting volume, profusely illustrated, was a handsome job of bookmaking.
The success of the Adams volume led to a contract with the Yale University Press to do a study of Benjamin Franklin’s career before the outbreak of the American Revolution. And he almost made it before he died. All but the last chapter had been written in draft, and there were notes for the final one. Writing to the Yale University Press after Jimmy’s death, his friend Walter Whitehill said, “I find this manuscript extremely interesting. . . . That it is so nearly complete is evidence of an indomitable spirit.” Unfortunately, the Press was unable to find anyone to complete the manuscript, and thus, at this time of writing, it remains unpublished. Jimmy’s friends still hope that some way may be found to get it into print.
Finally, in his last years, Jimmy had been working hard on an edition of the records of Trinity Church, Boston, for the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. He had already contributed an interesting piece to the Society’s conference on colonial architecture entitled “The Building of Trinity Church, Boston” (see Architecture in Colonial Massachusetts, Volume 51 in the Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts [Boston, 1979], 75–86). At the time of his death the records were in galley proof. Fortunately, as explained in the Foreword preceding this Memoir, Andrew Oliver has been willing to finish the job that Jimmy started.
The fourth area that meant a great deal to Jimmy was his work with the Army, both during World War II and as a reservist after the war. It is likely that his achievements in this area were the most satisfying of his life. And the reason is not hard to find. Patriotism, discipline, precision—these were all qualities that Jimmy admired and that the Army stood for. To recount Jimmy’s career in the Army, one cannot do better than quote directly from a piece written by his friend, Brig. Gen. James J. Collins, Jr., Chief of Military History in the Department of the Army—a piece written expressly for this Memoir:
The Army and James Bishop Peabody met officially on the first of September 1942 when he was sworn into the enlisted reserve at Cambridge, Massachusetts. As a student in his second year at Harvard he was not called to active duty until six months later, in March of 1943. After the usual basic training at Fort Eustis, Virginia, he was sent to Cornell University to study German in preparation for an assignment with military government in Germany. In March of 1944 he sailed for England and on arrival discovered there was a greater need for infantrymen than for military governors. Joining the 314th Infantry of the 79th Division, he fought up the Cotentin Peninsula and helped capture Cherbourg, crossed France, went into Belgium and Holland, and finally reached Germany, the subject of his studies at Cornell. Awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, and the Bronze Star, he continued with his regiment until, as the war was beginning to wind down in the spring of 1945, he went to help organize and run the rest area for the Ninth U. S. Army. Following this duty he enrolled in an Army education program in Paris, this time to study French language and literature. He graduated early enough to spend a little leave in Paris before catching a slow boat to the United States, where he was honorably discharged at the end of January 1946. His Army schooling in German and French helped to launch him in his later studies in international law.
Jimmy kept up his association with the Army by remaining in the enlisted reserve until he accepted a commission as a second lieutenant in the Military Intelligence Reserve in September 1948. In 1950 he returned to Europe—courtesy of the State Department and not the Army this time—but from his base of operations in the Consulate at Hamburg he continued his Army activities with annual active duty assignments with the 4th U. S. Infantry Division legal staff and the Public Information Office of the Army headquarters in Germany.
It was during this period that I first met and came to admire Jimmy, but not through his Army connections. At the time I was serving at SHAPE—The Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe—just outside Paris. Jimmy appeared at my office one day and introduced himself as my wife’s second cousin. Delighted to meet him at long last, I entreated him to stay a bit at our house and become better acquainted. He accepted, and thus began a quarter century of friendship terminated only by Jimmy’s untimely death.
During the time he spent in Europe and the Middle East Jimmy conscientiously pursued his career as a reserve officer. He took Army correspondence courses, and he attended a two-week active duty course annually for three years, learning the skills of adjutants general. This latter course, sponsored by the U. S. Army in Paris, gave him an opportunity to see many of his friends in the area even though he happened at the moment to be residing in Lebanon. He progressed through the officer grades and in September 1961 was promoted to major. By 1964 he had completed the arduous correspondence and active duty course for graduation from the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, and by 1965 had progressed from student at the U. S. Army Reserve School in Paris to instructor. He taught in the Command and General Staff Department of that school on his annual two weeks of active duty, thus preserving and deepening his long and close association with the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.
Returning to the Boston area, he continued his Army career of instructor, this time with the Army Reserve School at the Boston Army Base. As one of his efficiency reports in 1968 states, “This officer is an outstanding instructor. He prepares his material well and his presentation is noteworthy. Well versed in the techniques of instruction, he does a remarkable job in obtaining student participation and total class involvement. He is a gentleman and possesses a pleasing disposition. . . . This officer is a credit to the service. As well as being a superior instructor, he is outstanding as an officer, cooperative, with initiative, quiet confidence and dependability.”
In 1970 and by then a lieutenant colonel, Jimmy became a consulting faculty member of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. That year his lectures on the area and its problems contributed greatly to a course dealing with a strategic appraisal of the Middle East. As an officer reported, “His professionalism, academic excellence and Middle East expertise have been directly responsible for the success of the program. . . .”
His many facets became known in Army circles, and in 1972 he was invited to Fort Bragg to teach German and German culture to intelligence service personnel. As the chief instructor stated, he “has performed his duties . . . in an outstanding manner. He has a fabulous civilian and military background . . . an officer with a vast potential to the military.” This year he also found time to write “Escalation or Detente in the Middle East,” a most perceptive article which appeared in the April 1972 Military Review; his “Nationalism, Curse or Cure for the Middle East?” appeared in the November issue.
He kept up his teaching duties both in the Army school in Boston and on the consulting faculty at Fort Leavenworth. Then in 1973 the Army started tapping his expertise in another area. He reported to the U. S. Army Center of Military History for a two-week research project on the Army’s contribution to American art. This research report was incorporated as an important segment of an Army bicentennial publication. Late in 1973 he was promoted to full colonel.
Another project Jimmy worked on for the Center of Military History was examining efforts of the U. S. military to preserve cultural sites, monuments, and archives during the Vietnam War. This study led to the formulation of Army policies for instilling greater awareness during combat, particularly at the lower levels, of the existence, the recognition, and the preservation of cultural treasures.
In 1975 Jimmy worked on two studies for the Center of Military History. One was a comprehensive summation of the operations of the Civil Affairs Division of the Department of the Army Staff since 1943. This summary has been used in evaluating the activities of the Civil Affairs Division. The other project was to recommend subjects for a new set of the Army Historical Print series, The American Soldier. This set was a departure from previous ones in that it was devoted to noncombat activities of the Army. The officer in charge of the project stated, “Colonel Peabody’s work on the print series demonstrated his broad knowledge of American military history as well as a sound judgment and historical perspective.”
In January of 1976 Jimmy again reported for two weeks of active duty with the consulting faculty at Fort Leavenworth. As the Chief of the Strategic Studies Committee said, “His contributions to the teaching of this year’s curriculum and assistance in the preparation of the next year’s curriculum have exceeded those of any consulting faculty member I have observed.”
Jimmy was scheduled to return again to the Center of Military History in October 1976 for further work on The American Soldier print series. Unhappily, this visit had to be cancelled because of his increasing ill health. The latest set of the print series finally appeared in 1979 and stands as a concrete example of Jimmy’s great contribution to the Army’s historical art program.
Colonel James Bishop Peabody is sorely missed not only by his friends and admirers such as I, but by the Army as an institution. Scholar and teacher, he gave much to the young professionals in the Army’s many schools. Historian and, yes, artist, he contributed substantially to the knowledge and enjoyment of future generations of the Army. As officer and gentleman he inspired all whose lives he touched.
A friend of Jimmy’s has spoken of him as a man who was uncomfortable with most of the developments of the twentieth century, especially those occurring after World War II. While this may be an exaggeration, there is still a kernel of truth in it. Jimmy was certainly a conservative in the best sense of the word. He wanted to preserve the values and virtues of a past that he considered infinitely superior to more “modern” trends. He had many of the qualities of an English gentleman of the Edwardian era, a time when good manners, honesty, individual responsibility, and courage were stressed. Patriotism, army, church, and political conservatism were the hallmarks of that class in that era. But however one tries to describe him, the fact remains that he was his own man, with a mind of his own and the courage to stand for, and fight for, the things he believed in.
Frederick S. Allis, Jr.
87 Mount Vernon Street