The Reverend Eleazar Wheelock (1711-1779), 1st President of Dartmouth College (1769-1779)

Joseph Steward, American, 1753 - 1822



Oil on canvas

Overall: 79 1/8 × 69 7/8 in. (201 × 177.5 cm)

Frame: 87 × 78 in. (221 × 198.1 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Commissioned by the Trustees of Dartmouth College



Place Made: United States, North America



Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Signed, lower left, on baseboard: J. Steward Pinxt.


For this posthumous portrait of Eleazar Wheelock (1711–1779), founder and first president of Dartmouth College, the College’s trustees turned to alumnus Joseph Steward, Class of 1780. Steward had little, if any, formal instruction in portraiture, and may have painted his former instructor from memory or from a now-lost earlier miniature. Here he depicts Wheelock in clerical garb, holding the Dartmouth College charter granted him in 1769 by the royal governor of New Hampshire, John Wentworth (see Copley’s portrait of Wentworth nearby). The artist likely based the colorful interior on the artist’s own home in Hampton, Connecticut, while the landscape outside the window appears to be imaginary. The view may represent, however, Wheelock’s aspirations for bringing civilization and enlightenment to the Hanover Plain.

Wheelock began his pastoral career in Lebanon, Connecticut, where in 1735 he founded his "Lattin School"—later "Moor’s Charity School"—with the purpose of educating and converting young Native Americans. Wheelock later shifted his primary focus to training young "English" men to serve as missionaries to Indian communities and, with funds raised in large measure by his former student Samson Occom, he established what would become Dartmouth College, serving as its president until his death. It wasn’t until two hundred years later that Dartmouth rededicated its purpose to educating Native Americans.

From the 2019 exhibition American Art, Colonial to Modern, curated by Barbara J. MacAdam, Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art

Course History

WRIT 5, Expository Writing, Carl Thum, Winter 2013

WRIT 8, Writing with Media, Karen Gocsik, Spring 2012

Exhibition History

A Photo reproduction exhibited at the: A Free and Independent State exhibition at the Old Constitution House, Windsor, Vermont, June 1990.

American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, Churchill P. Lathrop Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 9-December 9, 2007.

American Art, Colonial to Modern, Israel Sack Gallery and Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 31, 2019-November 18, 2019.

Black and white 8 x 10" photographs of P.793.2 exhibited in: Community Transformed: Social Change in Broome County, a history exhibition organized by the Roberson Center for the Arts and Sciences, 30 front Street, Binghamton, New York 13905, August 31, 1990-March 12, 1999.

Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, August 1, 1997-May 8, 2007.

Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 1, 1993-March 10, 1996.

Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, November 13, 2012-February 2, 2014.

Joseph Seward, Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, Connecticut, November 1, 1981-January 30, 1982.

Paintings by New England Provincial Artists 1775-1800, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, July 20-October 17, 1976.

Portraits at Dartmouth, Jaffe-Friede Gallery, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, March 10-April 16, 1978.

Publication History

Peter Haring Judd, The Hatch and Brood of Time: Five Phelps Families in the Atlantic World, 1720-1880, Boston: Newbury Street Press, October, 1999, 464 pp., ill. p. 33, fig. 8.

Lois Huey and Bonnie Pulis, Molly Brant: A Legacy of Her Own, Youngstown, NY: Old Fort Niagara Association, Inc., July 1, 1997.

Virginia Reed Colby and James B. Atkinson, Footprints of the Past: Images of Cornish, New Hampshire and The Cornish Colony, Concord: New Hampshire Historical Society, 1996, pp. 49-51, ill. p. 50

College Party, Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Special Issue, Dartmouth's Gifts to the World, April 1994, Hanover, N.H.: Dartmouth College, 1994, ill. p. 48

Jonathan Bolton and Claire Wilson, Joseph Brant: Mohawk Chief, New York: Chelsea House Publishers 1992, ill. p. 30.

Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser, Ralph Earl: The Face of the young Republic, New Haven and London: Yale University Press; Hartford: Wadsworth Atheneum, 1991, pp.237-239, ill. p. 238. Image also used in press kits for exhibition. Image also used for slide kits distributed to educational institutions only.

Pictures of Dartmouth. Editors Bradley and Grantham. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1989

Freedman, James O. Dartmouth Alumni Magazine. Hanover, NH: Dartmouth College (Modified for cover illustration).

Catalogue of Portraits, and other works of Art at Dartmouth College, Hanover: Dartmouth College, 1932, p. 44, no. 195; illus. opp. title page.

George Hill Evans, Catalogue of Portraits and other works of art in the gallery of Dartmouth College, Hanover: Dartmouth College, 1901, p. 10, no. 2.

David K. Nartonis, Historical New Hampshire; article: The "New Divinity" Movement and Its Impact on New Hampshire's Town Churches, Vol. 55, Nos. 1&2, Concord, New Hampshire: New Hampshire Historical Society, Spring/Summer 2000, pp. 25-40, ill. p. 28.

Charter Day Dinner (brochure) given by the Trustees of Dartmouth College, December 13, 1969 to honor John Sloan Dickey, ill. p. 2

Jeff Binder, New Hampshire, Compass American Guides, 1st edition, New York, NY: Fodor's Travel Publications / Random House, Inc., 2002, 300 pp., ill. p. 202.

Seymour E. Wheelock, M.D., "President Wheelock and the Smallpox Caper", Dartmouth Medicine, Volume 27, No. 1, South Burlington, Vermont: Lane Press, Fall 2002, 64 pp., 6 pp. article, ill. p. 46, thumbnail p. 1.

J. David Hoeveler, Creating the American Mind: Intellect and Politics in the Colonial Colleges, Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2002, 381 pp., ill. p. 202.

Laurie Lawlor, Magnificent Voyage: An Amerian Adventurer on Captain James Cook's Final Expedition, 1st edition, New York, New York: Holiday House, 2002, 236 pp., ill. p. 20.

Dick Hoefnagel with the collaboration of Virginia L. Close, Eleazar Wheelock and the Adventurous Founding of Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hanover Historical Society, The Durand Press, 2002, 143 pp., ill.cover and intro. p.

Jonathan Prown, "John Singleton Copley's Furniture and the Art of Invention", in Luke Beckerdite, editor, American Furniture, Milwaukee, WI: Chipstone Foundation (distributed by University Press of New England), 2004, p. 196, ill. p.198, Figure 59.

Barbara J. MacAdam, Marks of Distinction, Two Hundred Years of American Drawings and Watercolors from the Hood Museum of Art, Manchester, Vermont: Hudson Hills Press, 2005, pp. 13, ill. p. 2, fig. 2.

Alan Taylor, The Divided Ground: Indians, Settles, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution, New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006, ill p. 46.

Arthur R. Blumenthal, Portraits at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire: Trustees of Dartmouth Collection, 1978, p.45, no. 35.

Barbara J. MacAdam, American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Muesum of Art, Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2007, p. 25, no. 5.

Neil Goodwin, We Go As Captives: The Royalton Raid and the Shadow War on the Revolutionary Frontier, Barre, Vermont: Vermont Historical Society, 2010, ill. p. 47.

Michelle Arnosky Sherburne, Slavery and the Underground Railroad in New Hampshire, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: History Press, 2016, 192 pp., B&W ill. p. 39.


Commissioned by the Trustees of Dartmouth College, 1793.

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