John Mercer Langston
Oberlin College Archives
Our photographic portrait of John Mercer Langston (1829-1897), taken around 1880, returned home after its inclusion in a major exhibition organized by the National Gallery of Art. Tell It with Pride: The 54th Massachusetts Regiment and Augustus Saint-Gaudens' Shaw Memorial showcased Oberlin College's photograph of Langston from September 15, 2013 to January 20, 2014. After that the show traveled to the Massachusetts Historical Society where it was on exhibit from February 23 to May 26, 2014.
John Mercer Langston was a graduate of the Oberlin Collegiate Institute in 1849, and of Oberlin's Graduate School of Theology in 1853. He practiced law in Oberlin beginning shortly after his seminary graduation. He was the recruiting officer in the West for the famous 54th Massachusetts regiment of black troops, and also for the 55th Massachusetts, hence the portrait's inclusion in the National Gallery of Art's exhibition.
To learn more about Langston's illustrious career and to see a photograph taken during his student years at Oberlin, see Oberlin and the Civil War.