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Endicott Peabody
Endicott Peabody (1971) (1).png
62nd Governor of Massachusetts
In office
January 3, 1963 – January 7, 1965
Lieutenant Francis Bellotti
Preceded by John A. Volpe
Succeeded by John A. Volpe
Member of the
Massachusetts Governor's Council
from the 3rd district
In office
Preceded by David B. Williams
Succeeded by Christian A. Herter, Jr.
Personal details
Born ( 1920 -02-15)February 15, 1920
Lawrence, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died December 2, 1997(1997-12-02) (aged 77)
Hollis, New Hampshire, U.S
Political party Democratic
Barbara Welch Gibbons
(m. 1944)
Children 3
Education Harvard University (AB, JD)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Battles/wars World War II
  • Pacific War
Awards Silver Star

Endicott Howard Peabody (February 15, 1920 – December 2, 1997) was an American politician from Massachusetts. A Democrat, he served a single two-year term as the 62nd Governor of Massachusetts, from 1963 to 1965. His tenure is probably best known for his categorical opposition to the death penalty and for signing into law the bill establishing the University of Massachusetts Boston. After losing the 1964 Democratic gubernatorial primary, Peabody made several more failed bids for office in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, including failed campaigns for the U.S. Senate in 1966 and 1986.

Born in Lawrence, Massachusetts to a family with deep colonial roots, Peabody played college football at Harvard University, where he earned honors as an All-American lineman. He served in the United States Navy in World War II before embarking on a political career noted more for its failures than its successes. He made multiple unsuccessful attempts to win the position of Massachusetts Attorney General, and for the United States Senate representing both Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and ran for United States Vice President in 1972.

Early life

Endicott Peabody, nicknamed "Chub", was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the son of Mary Elizabeth (née Parkman) and the Reverend Malcolm E. Peabody, a former Episcopal Bishop of Central New York. He was a grandson of the founder of Groton School and Brooks School, also named Endicott Peabody, and was a descendant of colonial governor John Endecott. He first attended the William Penn Charter School, and graduated in 1938 from the Groton School. He earned his A.B. from Harvard College in 1942, majoring in history. Peabody played on the Harvard Crimson football team and also played ice hockey and tennis. He stood out in football, where he was known as the "baby-faced assassin", playing three seasons on the varsity squad, and was the only unanimous choice for the 1941 College Football All-America Team. He was awarded the Knute Rockne Memorial Trophy for best collegiate lineman in 1941, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1973.

Peabody served in the United States Navy during World War II, primarily as a Lieutenant aboard the USS Tirante in the Pacific Ocean theater. He led several boarding parties involving hand-to-hand combat, for which he was awarded several commendations including the Silver Star.

Early forays into politics

While serving in the war, Peabody decided to embark on a career in politics. After the war ended, he attended Harvard Law School, receiving his J.D. degree and attaining admission to the Massachusetts bar in 1948. His first political work was on the 1948 presidential campaign of Harry S. Truman. Truman appointed him an Assistant Regional Counsel for the Office of Price Stabilization in 1950 and Regional Counsel for the Small Defense Plants Administration in 1952. In 1954 he won election to the Massachusetts Governor's Council, serving one two-year term. In 1958, Peabody ran for Attorney General of Massachusetts, but lost in the Democratic primary to Edward McCormack, Jr. by nine percentage points. In 1960, he ran for Governor of Massachusetts, but came in second (out of seven candidates) in the Democratic primary with 25.5% of the vote. In that year's presidential election, he coordinated John F. Kennedy's campaigns in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.


Endicott Peabody (MA)
Peabody as governor.
Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, Governor Endicott Peabody, unidentified man, and Mayor John F. Collins (10290505454)
Peabody with Massachusetts U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and Boston Mayor John F. Collins in January 1964.
Massachusetts Governor Endicott Peabody, Mayor John F. Collins, and President Lyndon B. Johnson (10290820743)
Peabody (left) with Boston Mayor John F. Collins and President Lyndon B. Johnson

In the 1962 gubernatorial election, Peabody was victorious in the race for governor, upsetting the Republican incumbent John A. Volpe by only 4,431 votes out of over two million cast. Peabody's campaign manager was his law partner Joseph M. Koufman. Peabody was aided in the victory by endorsements from President Kennedy, and the landslide victory of Kennedy's brother Edward in the coinciding race for the president's former United States Senate seat.

During his administration, voters approved a state constitutional amendment extending the terms of office of all state constitutional officers from two years to four years, starting from the next election. Peabody advocated laws to prevent discrimination in housing. He also strongly opposed capital punishment. This position was controversial, especially because several police officers were killed in the line of duty in the state during his tenure. Peabody recommended the commutation of every death sentence that he reviewed while governor. Massachusetts' last executions took place in 1947, though the penalty itself remained in force. On June 18, 1964, Peabody signed into law the bill establishing the University of Massachusetts Boston.

On April 1, 1964, the governor's 72-year-old mother, Mary Parkman Peabody, made headlines when she was arrested at the Ponce de Leon Motor Lodge in St. Augustine, Florida, for attempting to be served in an integrated group at a racially segregated restaurant. The action made her a hero to the civil rights movement and brought civil rights efforts in St. Augustine, the nation's oldest city, to national and international attention.

In 1964, Lt. Gov. Francis X. Bellotti mounted a primary campaign against Peabody for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Although Peabody was supported by Senator Kennedy and the party convention, Bellotti was victorious in the primary. Peabody's loss was variously attributed to his controversial opposition to the death penalty, his stiff demeanor in television appearances, and a bruising defeat he suffered early in his term in opposing the winning candidate for Speaker of the Massachusetts General Court. Bellotti subsequently lost the general election to John Volpe.


Senate campaign

In 1966, Peabody ran for the U.S. Senate, for which there was an open seat that year as a result of the retirement of Leverett Saltonstall; he won the Democratic nomination but was defeated by a landslide in the general election by the Republican nominee, the liberal state Attorney General Edward Brooke.

1972 vice presidential election

Peabody undertook a quixotic campaign for Vice President of the United States on the Democratic ticket in 1972; he came in fourth in the balloting at the 1972 Democratic National Convention. He ran under the slogan "Endicott Peabody, the number one man for the number two job."

New Hampshire

In 1983, he moved to Hollis, New Hampshire, where he ran unsuccessfully for local and statewide political office several times, including for the U.S. Senate in 1986 against the Republican incumbent, Warren Rudman.

In 1992, Peabody ran again for vice president by competing in the New Hampshire vice-presidential primary, where he won with 59.7% of the vote. However, the primary is non-binding, and, at the prerogative of the presidential nominee, Bill Clinton of Arkansas, the vice-presidential nomination eventually went to Al Gore of Tennessee. Clinton and Gore subsequently won the general election.

Also in 1992, Peabody ran for a seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, but he came in third place with 20.7% of the vote.

Peabody died from leukemia in Hollis in 1997, aged 77. His remains were interred in Groton, Massachusetts.


On June 24, 1944, Peabody married Barbara Welch "Toni" Gibbons (1922–2012), a native of Bermuda, the elder daughter of Morris Gibbons, a member of the Parliament of Bermuda, and his wife, the former Maude Madge Welch. Peabody and his wife had a daughter, Barbara, and two sons, Robert and Endicott Jr.

Peabody's sister, Marietta Peabody Tree, represented the United States on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

Navy awards

Electoral history

Endicott Peabody electoral history

1958 Democratic primary for Massachusetts Attorney General

  • Edward J. McCormack, Jr. – 238,477 (54.63%)
  • Endicott Peabody – 198,016 (45.36%)

1960 Democratic primary for Governor of Massachusetts

  • Joseph D. Ward – 180,848 (30.23%)
  • Endicott Peabody – 152,762 (25.53%)
  • Francis E. Kelly – 98,107 (16.40%)
  • Robert F. Murphy – 76,577 (12.80%)
  • John F. Kennedy – 52,972 (8.85%)
  • Gabriel Piemonte – 28,199 (4.71%)
  • Alfred Magaletta – 8,826 (1.48%)

1962 Democratic primary for Governor of Massachusetts

  • Endicott Peabody – 596,533 (79.96%)
  • Clement A. Riley – 149,499 (20.04%)

Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 1962

  • Endicott Peabody (D) – 1,052,322 (49.92%)
  • John A. Volpe (R) (inc.) – 1,047,891 (49.71%)
  • Henning A. Bolmen (Socialist Labor) – 5,477 (0.26%)
  • Guy S. Williams (Prohibition) – 2,394 (0.11%)

1964 Democratic primary for Governor of Massachusetts

  • Francis X. Bellotti – 363,675 (49.61%)
  • Endicott Peabody – 336,780 (45.94%)
  • John J. Droney – 27,357 (3.73%)
  • Pasquale Caggiano – 5,250 (0.72%)

Democratic primary for Massachusetts United States Senate election, 1966

  • Endicott Peabody – 320,967 (50.35%)
  • John F. Collins – 265,016 (41.58%)
  • Thomas Boylston Adams – 51,435 (8.07%)

Massachusetts United States Senate election, 1966

  • Edward Brooke (R) – 1,213,473 (60.68%)
  • Endicott Peabody (D) – 774,761 (38.74%)

1972 Democratic National Convention (Vice Presidential tally)

Democratic primary for U.S. Senate from New Hampshire, 1986

  • Endicott Peabody – 20,568 (61.18%)
  • Robert L. Dupay – 6,108 (18.17%)
  • Robert A. Patton – 3,721 (11.07%)
  • Andrew D. Tempelman – 2,601 (7.74%)
  • Others (write-in candidates) – 619 (1.84%)

New Hampshire United States Senate election, 1986

  • Warren Rudman (R) (inc.) – 154,090 (62.96%)
  • Endicott Peabody (D) – 79,222 (32.37%)
  • Bruce Valley – 11,423 (4.67%)

1992 New Hampshire Democratic vice presidential primary:

New Hampshire House of Representatives Hillsborough District #22 election, 1992

  • Susan B. Durham (R) – 2,089 (31.32%)
  • George W. Wright (R) – 1,925 (28.86%)
  • Endicott Peabody (D) – 1,378 (20.66%)
  • Barbara Peabody (D) – 1,279 (19.17%)

(* – write-in candidate)


  • Baltzell, Edward (1987). The Protestant Establishment: Aristocracy & Caste in America. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300038187. OCLC 1013182915.
  • Herman, Jennifer (2008). Massachusetts Encyclopedia. Hamburg, MI: State History Publications. ISBN 9781878592651. OCLC 198759722.
  • Molotsky, Irvin (December 4, 1997). "Obituary — Endicott Peabody, 77, Dies; Governor of Massachusetts in 60's". The New York Times.
  • Porter, David L, ed. (1995). Biographical Dictionary of American Sports. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313284311. OCLC 30812419.
Political offices
Preceded by
John A. Volpe
Governor of Massachusetts
January 3, 1963 – January 7, 1965
Succeeded by
John A. Volpe
Party political offices

Preceded by
Joseph D. Ward
Democratic nominee for Governor of Massachusetts
Succeeded by
Francis Bellotti
Preceded by
Thomas J. O'Connor
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Massachusetts (Class 2)
Succeeded by
John Droney
Preceded by
John A. Durkin
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from New Hampshire (Class 3)
Succeeded by
John Rauh
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