Peek, George Nelson
(1873-1943)
   George N. Peek was born in Polo, Illinois, and studied briefly at Northwestern University in 1891. He worked first as an office assistant and subsequently found employment with Deere and Webber, a branch of the John Deere Plow Company. In 1901, Peek became general manager of the Deere Company in Omaha, Nebraska, and in 1914 vice president in charge of sales in Deere’s main office in Moline, Illinois. During World War I, he was an industrial representative on the War Industries Board and in 1918 became commissioner of finished products. In 1919, Secretary of Commerce William C. Redfield appointed Peek to chair the Industrial Board of the Department of Commerce, but Peek resigned after only a few months due to conflict over price issues with the railroad director, Walker D. Hines.
   From 1919 to 1923 Peek was president and general manager of the Moline Plow Company. He resigned over differences with the company’s vice president, Hugh S. Johnson. As president of the American Council of Agriculture, Peek supported the government farm support initiatives proposed in the McNary-Haugen bills between 1924 and 1928. He was an active supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 and was appointed to head the Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA) in 1933. However, Peek did not accept that there was a farm surplus and opposed the AAA program to reduce production, and Roosevelt was forced to ask for his resignation after only a few months. He was appointed instead as adviser on foreign trade and president of the Export-Import Bank, but again differences over policy led to his resignation in 1935. Peek became a critic of New Deal farm policies and Roosevelt’s interventionist policies. In 1936, he supported Republican Alf Landon, and he was also a member of the National Committee of the America First Committee established in 1940 to keep the United States out of the European wars.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

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