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Parkhurst, Lt. Charles P., USNR | Peebles, S/Sgt. Bernard M. | Pennoyer, Capt. Albert Sheldon

Peebles, S/Sgt. Bernard M.  

Staff Sergeant, Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA)

A professor emeritus at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., Peebles served with the U.S. Army from 1942 to 1945. The majority of this time was spent as a chief clerk with the MFAA in the European and Mediterranean Theaters of Operations. He was one of the earliest members of the section, joining their services in Sicily before the Allied invasion of the Italian mainland. While working in Palermo, where MFAA headquarters for Sicily was located, he discovered historic archives of Philip V dating to 1713 which were inadvertently being used as wrapping paper in a local shop.

Peebles was graduated from the University of Virginia in 1926 where he received his M.A. in 1928 and his Ph.D. in 1940, both from Harvard University. From 1932 to 1934, he studied at the American Academy in Rome as a Fellow in the School of Classical Studies. He taught briefly at several universities, including the University of Virginia, Fordham University, Harvard University, and St. John’s College of Annapolis.

In 1948 he began teaching at Catholic University as an associate professor of Greek and Latin. He was named full professor in 1954, and served as chairman of the department from 1962 to 1970. Peebles became professor emeritus in 1971. A classics scholar, he was a specialist in Patristics (the study of the Church Fathers) and Roman and Medieval literature. Peebles worked as editor of The Fathers of the Church series from 1946 to 1968, and was editorial director of the publication until 1975. He was also editor of Traditio, a journal of ancient and medieval history and thought, from 1952 until 1973, when he was named editor emeritus. Following his retirement from the university in 1970, Peebles continued to lecture and write on classical studies.

Bernard Peebles was tragically shot and killed in a robbery attempt outside his home in Washington, D.C. on November 22, 1976. Following is one of the numerous tributes written in Dr. Peebles’ honor following his death.

Dr. Bernard Peebles was a familiar and delightful part of the Brookland neighborhood. A common sight on Twelfth Street, clad in a sports jacket and work pants, pushing his shopping cart or carrying his “save the tree” bag to and from nearby store-fronts, he recognized and talked to just about everybody. It was difficult to find anyone who did not know him by name - “Peebles,” as his friends referred to him.

Peebles was a man of Peace and Joy with a sense of Justice and a commitment to the parish and the neighborhood; he died an irrational death, a victim of the city’s violence. He lived life to its fullest, and therefore was forever fascinated by all it encompassed: people, books, ideas, spirituality, humor, music, etc. He thoroughly enjoyed researching nearly any question, and was an internationally noted scholar.

As head of the Department of Greek & Latin at Catholic University, he earned the absolute respect of his students and peers alike, constantly putting them into thought-provoking situations in order that they too might share his fascination for the world around them.

Bernard Peebles was a perfectionist in all his endeavors – a real stickler for the correct thing. He felt that if one was to take time doing something, he/she should take the time and make the effort to do it as well as is possible.

In spite of all this, he was a simple person. He rarely carried more than $2.00 in his work pants. One of the most fun loving of “real characters,” he was always up for some bizarre experience. It was because he loved life and the people in it that Peebles was a person of Peace.

For his Love, his Serenity, his Spirituality, his Humor, the twinkle in his eyes as he told one of his many anecdotes – for his Friendship with the Emmaus Community, Doctor Bernard Mann Peebles still lives right on Twelfth Street.

Excerpt from The Bernard M. Peebles Speaker Series Bulletin



Copyrighted by Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art