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Henry W. Peabody and Company Collection
Catalog Record
Mss 766 1867-1957
Volumes HD-1 and HE-9

The personal correspondence of Boston, Massachusetts, businessman Henry W. Peabody (1823-1908) contains more than a dozen letters from 1903 to 1906 concerning Peabody's renunciation of his one-third interest in the estate of his late wife, Nannie Brayton Borden Peabody (1852-1903). The correspondence also includes an account of stocks held by Nannie Brayton Borden Peabody's estate.

Peabody seems to have always been uncomfortable with inheriting any of his wife's assets. He wrote to his stepson, Norman Borden, "I told your mother that when I signed the codicil to her will that I should never touch a dollar unless I was in need, to which she made no reply. I am now only carrying out that declaration, to incur to the advantage of Nannie and yourself."

Peabody first renounced his interest in her estate in 1903, "in justification of the fact that I married Nannie Brayton Borden for her love and companionship, and not for money." At the advice of her executor, he withdrew his renunciation in 1905, but then changed his mind again in 1906. After an aggrieved letter to his wife's executor concerning his stepdaughter's assertion "that all wedding presents were to the lady--were her mother's and now her children's," Peabody finally legally relinquished all claims to his wife's estate rather than engage in controversy over household linens and silver-plated, pearl-handled fruit knives.

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