Stuyvesant “Jack” Peabody served as an executive in the Peabody Coal Company of Illinois, begun by his father, Francis Stuyvesant Peabody, in 1883 and the source of his family's fortune. He owned his own horse stable and was active in many riding clubs and associations in the Chicago area. In addition to being an athlete himself, Stuyvesant Peabody collected materials from the 19th century on a range of sports. His extensive assembly included periodicals, novels, and books on the history of a variety of sports and competitive leisure activities such as foxhunting, horseracing, and gambling.
After his death in 1946, Mr. Peabody's widow, Anita, donated his collection of more than 900 items to DePaul.