George Peed was not well known by name, not like Dr. Seuss or Maurice Sendak, but if you were a child in America in the 1970s, you were probably familiar with his art, for Peed created countless covers for Peter Pan Records of Newark, New Jersey, a place not far from his adopted home. Make no mistake though--George Peed was a Hoosier through and through.
George C. Peed was born on September 27, 1913, in Grandview, Indiana, down on the Ohio River. A younger brother, William Bartlett Peed, came into the world sixteen months later, on January 29, 1915. When the two boys and their brother were still quite young, they moved with their mother to Indianapolis. Their father had been drafted into the army during World War I, and though he didn't go overseas, he also didn't go back to his family. To those who asked, Mrs. Peed, a teacher, simply said that her husband was a traveling salesman and away on a trip.
The Peed boys grew up on the east side of Indianapolis and attended Arsenal Technical High School. George and Bill, both artists, also attended the Herron School of Art, and both signed on with Walt Disney studios in the 1930s. Bill Peed later changed his name to Bill Peet and went on to a long career with Walt Disney. In the early 1960s, he left Disney and began writing and illustrating children's books. There were three dozen in all, including Bill Peet: An Autobiography (1989), a Caldecott Honor Book and ALA Honor Book. Bill Peet died on May 11, 2002.
Older brother George enlisted in the U.S. Army in April 1941 and served with a special unit of artists and writers, the Signal Corps Photographic Center, based in Astoria, in Long Island City, New York, and at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Among the others in the unit were Frank Capra, William Saroyan, Charles Addams, Sam Cobean, Stan Lee, and the writers Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts, and Gerry Davis. After the war, George Peed worked as a commercial artist, apparently in the area of New York and New Jersey. He did the character designs for the animated television series The Mighty Hercules (1963-1964), but it is for his album cover designs for Peter Pan Records that George Peed is known today. It's Christmastime, and so I would like to show some of them. I will close by noting that George Peed's last place of residence was Park Ridge in Bergen County, New Jersey, and that he died on April 18, 2002, less than a month before his brother Bill.
Merry Christmas To All!
Text copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley