Envelope Addressed to Cyrus W. Field and Signed by George Peabody - AutographsInv# AU1657 Autograph
Envelope Addressed to Cyrus W. Field and Signed by George Peabody.
Cyrus W. Field (1819-1892) An American businessman and financier who led the Atlantic Telegraph Company, the company that successfully laid the first telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean in 1858. The cable broke three weeks afterward. In 1866, Field laid a new, more durable cable which provided almost instant communication across the Atlantic. On his return to Newfoundland, he grappled the previously snapped cable, reattached it to new wire, thus allowing for a second, backup wire for communication. Profits from his business ventures permitted him to retire at the age 33 with a fortune of $250,000. In December 1884, the Canadian Pacific Railway named the community of Field, British Columbia, Canada in his honor. Bad investments left Field bankrupt at the end of his life.
Cyrus West Field was born in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in 1819, the son of Rev. D. D. Field. Early in his life he went to work in New York as a clerk for Mr. A. T. Stewart. He later returned to Massachusetts and was employed in the paper manufactory of his brother Matthew in the town of Lee. Later he entered into the same business, on his own, in Westfield, Massachusetts. Still later he returned to New York and established a large paper commission warehouse, where he made a large fortune. In 1854 he became directly involved with the Atlantic Cable. He was commissioned to Newfoundland to obtain from the Government of the Province an act of incorporation.
After success there, he also aided in getting co-operation from the Governments of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, State of Maine, and afterwards from the Governments of Great Britain and the United States. He became a director of the New York, Newfoundland & London Telegraph Company. (In March 1857 the above mentioned company became The Atlantic Telegraph Company.) Field later traveled a great deal, including to England to seek funds for the projects, and was the real driving force behind it. When others gave up, he continued on, and if not for his determination, decades would have passed before a successful cable would have been laid.
George Peabody (1795-1869) He was born in what was then South Danvers, Massachusetts (now Peabody, Massachusetts), to a family with Puritan antecedents in the state. His birthplace at 205 Washington Street in Peabody is now the George Peabody House Museum, a museum dedicated to preserving his life and legacy. One of George Peabody's longtime business associates and friends was renowned banker and art patron William Wilson Corcoran.
In 1816, Peabody moved to Baltimore, where he would live for the next 20 years.
Peabody originally visited the UK in 1827 on what would become known today as a "buying trip", and also to find markets in Lancashire for the purchase of cotton to purchase wares and to negotiate the sale of American cotton in Lancashire. He subsequently opened a branch of his business in Liverpool. British business began to play more of an important role in Peabody's affairs, and in 1835, the banking firm of George Peabody and Company was established in London.
Peabody had been invited to meet Nathan Mayer Rothschild, who put a most unusual proposition to him. Rothschild is said[by whom?] to have told Peabody that despite his wealth, he had not been able to penetrate London society. He suggested that Peabody should entertain London society on Rothschild's behalf, and of course at Rothschild's expense. In 1837 Peabody took up residence in London where he remained the rest of his life.
George Peabody never married. He died in London on November 4, 1869, aged 74. At the request of the Dean of Westminster and with the approval of the Queen, Peabody was given a temporary burial in Westminster Abbey.
His will provided that he be buried in the town of his birth, Danvers, Massachusetts, and Prime Minister Gladstone arranged for Peabody's remains to be returned to America on HMS Monarch, the newest and largest ship in Her Majesty's Navy. He is buried in Salem, Massachusetts, at Harmony Grove Cemetery. Peabody's death and the pair of funerals were international news, with hundreds of people participating in the ceremonies and thousands attending.
The town of South Danvers, Massachusetts, changed its name to The City of Peabody, Massachusetts in honor of its favorite son. Peabody is a member of the Hall of Fame for Great Americans located at the Bronx Community College, at the former site of New York University. On March 16, 1867, he was awarded the United States Congressional Gold Medal.
A statue of him stands next to the Royal Exchange in the City of London, unveiled in 1869 shortly before his death. There is a similar statue of him next to the Peabody Institute, in Mount Vernon Park, part of the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland.