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Peabody Institute Board of Trustees records

 Record Group
Identifier: PIRG-02

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Board of Trustees records, bulk 1857-1989, provide a comprehensive view of the decision-making process at the Peabody Institute. The trustees communicated with scholars and artists here and abroad seeking their advice on the formation of the institute. Their replies, many of them minutely detailed, can be found in the correspondence files of the trustee committees. Also included are letters from George Peabody to the trustees.

The collection is arranged in six series. Series A contains minutes of board meetings and committee meetings, as well as reports by officers and committees to the full board. Series B contains general records of the board. Series C contains files of officers, most notably the president and treasurer. Series D contains the records of 16 standing or ad hoc committees established by the board. Series E contains legal documents, including deeds and building records. Series F contains documents related to the Peabody Institute's decision to affiliate with the Johns Hopkins University in 1977, and subsequent legal and operational concerns in the 1980s.


  • Creation: Inclusive: 1832-1989
  • Creation: Majority of material found within Bulk: 1857-1985


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for use at the Arthur Friedheim Library Archives of the Peabody Institute. Contact for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright. All requests for permission to publish or perform materials in this collection must be submitted in writing to the archivist of the Arthur Friedheim Library.

Biographical / Historical

George Peabody founded the Peabody Institute on February 12, 1857, in a letter to 25 trusted associates, many of whom would become the original Board of Trustees tasked with executing his intentions for a library, lecture series, gallery of art, and academy of music. The Board of Trustees was the primary governing body charged with establishing major policies and overseeing all aspects of the institute's activities. The president of the board appointed the trustee committees, which in turn administered various aspects of the institute.

The Peabody Institute's affiliation with the Johns Hopkins University began in 1977. After the Institute officially became a school within Johns Hopkins University in a 1985 agreement, the Peabody Institute Board of Trustees was dissolved and a Peabody Advisory Council was established.


30 Cubic Feet (75 containers and 19 bound volumes)

Language of Materials



Records documenting activities of the Board of Trustees of the Peabody Institute. Includes: 12 volumes and several additional folders of recorded minutes of board meetings (1857-1985); Treasurer's reports (1867-1969); Provost's reports (1869-1912); Executive Secretary's reports (1912-45); miscellaneous general records and correspondence; records of the Offices of the President (1859-1970), Vice-President (1876-1905), Secretary (1860-1922), and Treasurer (1857-1941), the bulk of the latter consisting of detailed financial records from Enoch Pratt's tenure as treasurer; and records documenting the activities of 16 trustee committees. Also included is documentation related to the institute's agreements of affiliation with the Johns Hopkins University (1977-1985).


Arranged in six series: Series A, Minutes, 1857-1987; Series B, General records, 1857-1984; Series C, Officers, 1840-1941; Series D, Committees, 1857-1985; Series E, Legal documents, 1832-1906; and Series F, Affiliation with the Johns Hopkins University, 1970-1989.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

There is no known acquisition information for this record group.

Processing Information

Processed by Elizabeth Schaaf and archives staff, 1983-1987. During reprocessing by Matt Testa and Kate Mankowski in 2018, the order established in the original processing was largely undisturbed except for the incision of a few boxes of material created after 1977 and the removal of out-of-scope materials such as auction catalogs. The boxes were renumbered during reprocessing.

Guide to the Peabody Institute Board of Trustees records
Matt Testa
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Archives Repository

Peabody Institute
1 E. Mount Vernon Place
Baltimore MD 21202 USA