BLEZER, Joseph-Charles de

Ghent, Belgium ? - Gentilly, Val-de-Marne 1884

John Brown (1800-1859), abolitionniste

John Brown (1800-1859), abolitionist




Dimensions (HxWxD): 16 18 x 11 14 x 7 516 in.

signed left side of base: J C De Blezer 1870
front of base: J Brown

Acc. No.: OH010075

Credit Line: Gift of Geoffrey Blodgett

Photo credit: The Oberlin College Archives

© Artist : public domain


  • 1976, College Trustee John Stern '39 purchased the bust in Paris and loaned it to the College
  • 1976-1979?, it remained in storage
  • 1979-1999?, historian Geoffrey Blodgett '53 received it as a gift from Mr. Stern and displayed it in his Rice Hall office for 20 years
  • 1999, College Archivist Roland Baumann accepted the bust (for the Archives) for public viewing to celebrate Oberlin's strong anti-slavery holdings and heritage
  • (Geoffrey Blodgett to Roland Baumann, December 23, 1999)


  • Oberlin College Archives website, accessed October 13, 2011 and October 30, 2013
  •, accessed September 28, 2021


  • 2016-2017 Oberlin

    Wildfire Test Pit and Fred Wilson: Black to the Powers of Ten, Oberlin, OH, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, August 30, 2016-June 12, 2017, p. 18, 35 (ill.), 37 (ill.), 84, 87

Related works

  • National Portrait Gallery file, Summer 2013:
    Bronze undoubtedly taken from a print of Brown by Nathum B. Onthank (Boston Athenaeum) which was in turn based on a photograph from life by J. W. Black of Boston taken in May 1859.
    A copy of the bust (in bronze? tinted plaster?) at the Musée Victor Schoelcher, in Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe.


  • Oberlin College Archives' website, John Brown Virtual Exhibits, accessed October 30, 2013:
    This bronze bust of the abolitionist John Brown was created by the French sculptor Joseph-Charles de Blézer in 1870. Oberlin College trustee John Stern (class of 1939) purchased the bust in Paris in 1976 and loaned it to the College. It remained in storage until the late historian Professor Geoffrey Blodgett (class of 1953) received it as a gift from Mr. Stern and displayed it in his office for 20 years. In 1999 the College Archivist accepted the bust for public viewing to celebrate Oberlin's strong anti-slavery holdings and heritage. John Brown was born in Torrington, Connecticut on May 9, 1800, the son of Owen and Ruth Brown. The Brown family moved to Hudson, Ohio when John was five years old. Owen Brown served as a member of the Oberlin Collegiate Institute's Board of Trustees from 1835 to 1844. During 1840 and 1841 John Brown failed in an attempt to negotiate with the Oberlin Collegiate Institute to settle his family on land known as the Gerrit Smith-Oberlin Virginia lands. In 1856, Oberlin College students Samuel S. Burdette and Henry P. Kinney joined abolitionist Brown in the conflict over slavery in Kansas. The specter of the sectionalism loomed large at the time. On October 16, 1859, Oberlinians John A. Copeland, Lewis Sheridan Leary, and Shields Green (a runaway slave) participated in Brown's raid on the Harpers Ferry arsenal. Leary died of a wound received in the raid, and Copeland and Green were hanged on December 16, 1859. A monument erected in 1860 to honor the three Oberlin men who lost their lives at Harpers Ferry can be found in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Park on Vine Street in Oberlin.