Endicott Peabody
Painting: by William Franklin Draper, 1965

Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: 1963-1965

Endicott Peabody was a hero in the rough-and-tumble worlds of football and war before beginning a four-decade career in politics. His ancestors include John Endecott, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the Reverend Endicott Peabody, the founder and headmaster of Groton Preparatory School.

Born in Lawrence, Peabody was known by sports writers as "The Baby Face Assassin" during his years playing point guard at Harvard. He was a unanimous "All American" selection and contemplated playing professional football, until the attack of Pearl Harbor changed his and his entire generation's plans. He enlisted in the Navy (1942-1946) serving on the submarine Tirante, earning a Silver Star for gallantry in action off the coast of Japan. He returned to Harvard Law School, graduating in 1948 and holding several federal agency jobs in the early fifties.

A resident of Cambridge, Peabody was elected to the Governor's Council in 1954. He launched several unsuccessful campaigns for Attorney General and coordinated John Kennedy's Presidential campaigns in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. In 1963, he defeated incumbent Governor John Volpe by a narrow margin, winning the governorship as a Democrat.

Governor Peabody approved a set of initiatives providing localities with increased "home rule" options. 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. He went on to run for his party's Vice Presidential nomination and made Senatorial bids in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.