78 South Professor, 1857
James Monroe, a Connecticut-born abolitionist who graduated from Oberlin in 1844, remained a leading citizen of the village for the next half-century. He built this house in 1857 and lived here in the busy pre-Civil War years while teaching rhetoric at the college, serving in the state legislature, helping to launch the Republican party, and sheltering fugitive slaves. He bought the land for his house from the college on the provision that he employ students in manual labor in ratio with the acreage of his property -- a common arrangement in the 1850s.
Monroe sold his home in 1862 when he left for Rio de Janeiro to serve as U.S. consul during the Civil War. (Upon his return to Oberlin after the war he purchased from Gen. Giles Shurtleff the brick house which has become known as "the Monroe House.") From the turn of the century until 1956 the old frame house on South Professor Street was owned by the Bosworths -- first Edward Increase Bosworth, Bible professor and dean of the theology school, then his son Edward Franklin Bosworth, dean of men at the college. More recently it has served as faculty rental housing. It is a good example of the vernacular "plain style" characteristic of mid-nineteenth-century Oberlin.