Peabody was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, served in the United States Navy during World War II where he was decorated with the Silver Star for gallantry, and received a BA and a law degree from Harvard University. He was admitted to the Massachusetts bar on October 14 1948.
An All-American star defensive lineman for the Harvard football team, he was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. He was a grandson of the founder of the Groton School and Brooks School, also named Endicott Peabody. He ran for political office unsuccessfully in Massachusetts several times. In 1962 he was elected Governor and served until 1965. In 1966 he ran for a seat in the United States Senate and was defeated by Edward Brooke. Also during the United States presidential election, 1960 he coordinated John F. Kennedy's Presidential campaigns in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire
Peabody is remembered for recommending the commutation of every death sentence he reviewed while serving as governor between 1963 and 1965. Massachusetts performed the last execution in state history in 1947.
During his administration as Governor the state's constitutional offices were standardized to four-year terms. Peabody advocated laws to prevent discrimination in housing and the establishment of drug addiction treatment programs. Governor Peabody was defeated in the Democratic Party primary and did not stand for popular reelection to a second term.
In 1983, he moved to Hollis, New Hampshire, where he ran, again unsuccessfully, for local and statewide political office several times. He also undertook an extremely quixotic campaign for Vice President of the United States on the Democratic Party (United States) ticket in 1972. He ran under the slogan "Endicott Peabody, the number one man for the number two job."
Nicknamed "Chub", Peabody, an engaging politician, struggled to transcend his preppy-sounding name and WASP ethnicity at a time when Irish American politicians like the Kennedy family and their Italian American counterparts such as John A. Volpe and Foster Furcolo were appealing to large Roman Catholic Church constituencies. His detractors made a joke of his name, saying, "He was the only governor to have four towns named after him: Endicott (actually a village in Dedham), Peabody, Marblehead and Athol."
Peabody was a descendant of the colonial Massachusetts governor John Endecott.
|Endicott Peabody electoral history|
1960 Democratic primary for Governor of Massachusetts
1972 Democratic National Convention (Vice Presidential tally)
Democratic primary for U.S. Senate from New Hampshire