Documentary about Peabody College airs on NPT Nov. 3

A Peabody College dance troupe from the early 20th century. (Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development celebrated its 225th anniversary last year. A new documentary on Nashville Public Television will celebrate that milestone.

Paying the Debt: A History of Vanderbilt Peabody College airs at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, on NPT. Narrated by Tony Award-winning actor Brian Dennehy (Broadway’s Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey Into Night), the half–hour documentary traces the history of the school from a one-room schoolhouse in East Nashville in 1785 to its post-Civil War resurgence courtesy of philanthropist George Peabody to its rise in national prominence in the fields of education and human development after a merger with Vanderbilt University in 1979.

Sidebars such as Jethro Peyton Gatlin’s pre-Civil War diary and Minnie Elvie Sutcliff’s turn-of-the-century photograph album provide an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at student life at a school that despite generations of change has maintained its status as both a student-friendly and academically challenging institution.

Lyle Jackson, media content producer in the Peabody Research Office, produced the film.


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