George Peabody was a financier and a philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to charity. He was known throughout the world for his generosity and modesty. He was born in Peabody, Massachusetts, and even after he moved away from there, he continued to give money so freely to his hometown that a group of Peabody citizens held a banquet on the eve of his birthday each year. He lived for many years in England, where his philanthropy continued. He was the American darling of the British. Queen Victoria was fond of him and gave him a portrait of herself.
He died in England and, though he had made it clear he wanted to be buried in Peabody, he was still given a funeral service in England at Westminster Abbey. His body was then sailed home where it was met with great reverence. Throngs of people came to see the casket, numbering in the tens of thousands. He was buried at a plot he had picked out, in a tomb where he had already laid his mother to rest.