Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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PECK, Ferdinand Wythe, philanthropist, born in Chicago, Illinois, 15 July, 1848. His father was one of the early settlers of Chicago, and died there in 1871, leaving a valuable estate. The son was educated in Chicago, studied law, and admitted to the bar in 1869. On coming into possession of his estate, he devoted himself largely to the improvement of the condition of the poor of his native city. In 1870 he was one of the founders of the Illinois humane society, having for its special purpose the prevention of cruelty to children and animals. Since that time he has been an active member of the board of government of the Chicago athemeum, of which he is now (1888) president. It was organized immediately after the great fire of 1871, and is similar to the Cooper Union of New York. Mr. Peek is also vice-president of the city board of education. He has contributed liberally to the cultivation of musical taste, and in 1886 organized and became president of a joint-stock company for the erection of the "Chicago auditorium" and hotel, the largest building of its kind in the United States, which was begun in 1887. It will cost, with the ground, $3,000,000, and will have sittings for 5,000 people.
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