Dean Peabody, Jr., 1888-1951

Publication Year: 1952.



The sudden passing of Dean Peabody at the premature age of 63 leaves a very real void in the lives of all who were in any way associated with him. Although he had been a member of this club since 1929, and had served in the Thirties as Councillor and Vice-President, it was principally in connection with his probable first love, the Appalachian Mountain Club, that one always thought of him. He was unquestionably one of the stalwarts of the A.M.C. for the last 25 years of his life. He did, however, value his membership in our club, which he well earned and maintained by a record of some eight or ten seasons of good and varied climbing in the Alps, in the Canadian Rockies and in the United States. He was a steady, determined, safe climber and a good leader, on the mountain and of his party. His leadership of people had a solid, enduring quality. People trusted him and knew that his judgment would be sound whenever his council was sought. He served the Appalachian Club first and last on almost every committee and for three years, 1928-29 and 1934, was President. He was kindly, conciliatory and wise; he could be forceful if occasion demanded but preferred the quieter approach. He liked to cause others to do what he hoped they would do, but of their own volition. One found his requests to serve with him hard to refuse, and meetings which he conducted were harmonious and worthwhile whether or not the group was always entirely in agreement.

Professionally, he had spent most of his career, since graduation there in 1910, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since 1947 he had been Professor of Architecture at Harvard. He was an authority on concrete and the author of a standard textbook, Design of Reinforced Concrete Structures. He had prepared a short paper, “Prestressed Concrete Design Concepts,” for the first United States Conference on Prestressed Concrete, held at M.I.T. the week after his death. Under his memorial portrait in the proceedings of the conference, it is stated: “Foreseeing the growing importance of prestressed concrete, he was one of the first in the United States to teach its principles.”

Dean Peabody will be missed by his many friends in the Appalachian and American Alpine Clubs. Our sympathy goes out to his widow, our member, and to his family. To have known him was a happy and valuable experience. His place will be hard to fill. His personality and his example will long remain fresh in the minds of all who knew him. He was the kind of man of whom it can well be said that the world would be a better place if there were more like him.

Henry S. Hall, Jr.