Peabody, Irene

Year Inducted: 
Irene Peabody
  • Voice professor at the University of Kansas for 44 years
  • Celebrated mezzo-soprano
  • President of Mortar Board, Mu Phi Epsilon, and KU Women’s Club
  • Featured in the 1923 Jayhawker Yearbook as one of the most well known KU students for her work furthering the KU Music program
  • Voice scholarship in her honor at the University of Kansas

Irene Peabody was born on November 10, 1900 in Springfield, Missouri to Horace and Elizabeth Peabody. She had one brother, Basil G. Peabody, and attended Kansas City area public schools. In 1917 she graduated from Manual Training High School then went on to the University of Kansas where she graduated with a bachelor’s in voice in 1923. While at KU Ms. Peabody was a member of several music honoraries such as Mu Phi Epsilon and Pi Kappa Lambda as well as being the secretary and president of Mortar Board. She was a member of the social music sorority Alpha Xi Delta and a long-time member of the KU Women’s Club.

          After graduation Ms. Peabody studied under Charles W. Clark and was a studio accompanist at the Bush Conservatory in Chicago. She then went on to teach at the Conservatory in Jackson, Mississippi until returning to teach voice at KU in 1924. She taught for 44 years at the University before retiring. During her time as a faculty member at KU she took short breaks to study under Kurt Schindler of New York, Isaac Van Grove of Chicago, and Hermann Devries of Chicago. She often serenaded the faculty of KU in Fraser Hall and was always a great hit.

          In 1987, Ms. Peabody passed away. Today the University of Kansas awards a scholarship in her name for voice students. Her collection of clippings and music programs is housed in the Special Collections at the Kenneth R. Spencer Research Library on the KU Lawrence campus.

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