John Langeloth Loeb, Jr. Ambassador to Denmark

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John Langeloth Loeb, Jr.

Birthdate: (86)
Birthplace: New York, NY, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of John L. Loeb Sr. and Frances Lehman Loeb
Husband of <private> Loeb (Handler)
Ex-husband of <private> Loeb (Sunby) and Meta Martindell Loeb
Father of <private> Driscoll (Loeb) and Nicholas Mears Loeb
Brother of Judith Chiaro; <private> Loeb; Ann Margaret Loeb; <private> Brice (Loeb) and brice Loeb

Managed by: Kevin Lawrence Hanit
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About John Langeloth Loeb, Jr. Ambassador to Denmark

John Langeloth Loeb, Jr. (born May 2, 1930) is a businessman, philanthropist, art collector, and former United States Ambassador to Denmark (1981–1983) and Delegate to the United Nations (1984).

Since 1979, Loeb has been chairman of Loeb, Rhoades Trust Company, successor to John L. Loeb Jr. Associates, Inc., Investment Counselors. Loeb is the founder of and owner of the Russian Riverbend Vineyards Ltd., which produces Sonoma-Loeb wines.

He has sponsored publications and exhibitions on early American genealogy and family histories, and on Danish art. In 2009, he founded the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom, and serves as the chairman of the organization.


Loeb joined Loeb, Rhoades & Co. of New York City in 1956. He was a general partner from 1959–1973 and was then a limited partner until the firm’s 1979 acquisition by Shearson Hayden Stone.

Through the years, Loeb has served as director and/or chairman on the boards of:

  • Holly Sugar Corp – see Imperial Sugar and Great Western Sugar Company
  • Atlantico del Golfo (Cuban Atlantic Sugar) – see Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company and Loeb, Rhoades & Co. (On
  • John Morrell and Co.
  • Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad and Rio Grande Industries
  • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer


He was a trustee of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) from 1986–1993 and a trustee of American University from 1985-1994. He served for almost 40 years as a trustee and ultimately chairman of the Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation and for almost 30 years was on the board of the Museum of the City of New York. Loeb also served on the board of the International Rescue Committee. He is a trustee of the American-Scandinavian Foundation and chairman of the Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States (see Churchill Scholarship). He served for several years on the board of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy. Loeb served on the visiting committee of the Harvard Board of Overseers to the John F. Kennedy School of Government (1980–1986) and to the Harvard Business School (1968–1979). He is currently vice-chairman of the Council of American Ambassadors. He is most active as founder and chairman of the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom (GWIRF), a not-for-profit organization promoting understanding of freedom of religion and separation of church and state in America.

Government service

On 30 July 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed Loeb to the post of United States Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Denmark. He served in this post until Sept 1983. Upon his return to the United States, he was appointed a Delegate to the 38th session of United Nations. He also served as special adviser to Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller on environmental matters (1967–1973); chairman of New York State Council on Environmental Advisors (1970–1975).


George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom

The Institute, founded by Ambassador Loeb in 2009, promotes greater awareness of the historic roots of religious freedom, and the importance of separation of church and state in the U. S. Its efforts are targeted at introducing teachers and students to the principles expressed in George Washington's "Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, RI" of 1790. The institute’s first project was to design, build, and operate the Loeb Visitors Center on the campus of Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island. For several years, there has been support for high school level essay writing contests on the George Washington letter, including programs at the Harrison Central School District, Westchester, NY; the Rogers High School, Newport, RI; the Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT. In 2008/2009 a national essay contest was sponsored with the First Freedom Center, Richmond, VA. In 2010, the institute formed partnerships with the Bill of Rights Institute, Inc. and with Facing History and Ourselves, Inc. to provide civic education enrichment programs and awareness of the Washington letter to classrooms throughout the United States.

Early American Jewish History

Loeb’s philanthropic activities have also focused on the history and contributions of American Jews to the early history of the United States and the cause of religious liberty. Publications and museum exhibitions on these topics have been sponsored through the John L. Loeb Jr. Foundation, the George Washington Institute for Religious Freedom, and by Loeb personally. Projects include:

  • Loeb Visitors Center at Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island;
  • financing the creation of the Adeline Moses Loeb Gallery at Fraunces Tavern Museum in New York City;
  • The Jewish Community in Early New York, 1654-1800, an exhibit featured at the Fraunces Tavern Museum in New York City, (1979);
  • The Jewish Community in Early America, 1654-1830, opened by President Gerald Ford, an exhibit featured at the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum Gallery in Washington, D.C. (1980);
  • Tolerance and Identity: Jews in Early New York, 1654-1825. Museum of the City of New York, (2005).

Book Publishing

John L. Loeb Jr. traces one branch of his American ancestry to the colonial period. He has supported genealogical studies and sponsored the following books:


  • An American Experience, Adeline Moses Loeb and Her Early American Jewish Ancestors. Contributors John L. Loeb Jr., Kathy L. Plotkin, Margaret Loeb Kempner, Judith E. Endelman, and David M. Kleiman with an introduction by Eli N. Evans. (New York: Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York; Syracuse University Press, 2009);
  • The Lehmans: From Rimpar to the New World, a Family History. By Roland Flade. (Wurzburg Germany: Königshausen & Neumann, 1996).
  • Lots of Lehmans, The Family of Mayer Lehman of Lehman Brothers, Remembered by His Descendants. Edited by Kenneth Libo; foreword by John L. Loeb Jr. and William Lehman Bernhard. (New York, Syracuse University Press, 2007).


  • The Levy Family and Monticello, 1834-1923: Saving Thomas Jefferson’s House. Dr. Melvin I. Urofsky (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2002);
  • Louis D. Brandeis: A Life. By Melvin I. Urofsky. (New York: Pantheon, 2010);
  • A Holocaust Portfolio. By Jeanie E. Neyer, introduction by Frederick S. Plotkin. (New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 1999).

Danish Art

Loeb began collecting Danish art when he was appointed Ambassador to Denmark. The assembled collection consists primarily of 18th, 19th and early 20th-century paintings, containing representative art from the “Danish Golden Age” (1820–1850), and including paintings by Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg, Martinus Rørbye, Constantin Hansen, Christen Købke and Wilhelm Marstrand. Of primary importance in the collection are works from The Modern Breakthrough period (1870–1890) in Danish art, with works by the Skagen Painters including Anna Ancher, Vilhelm Hammershøi, and Peder Severin Krøyer.

The Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr. Danish Art Catalog

In 2005, Loeb commissioned the publication of a catalog of his collection. Full-color images of 128 paintings are accompanied by critical commentary and research on Loeb’s collection by Danish art historians Elisabeth Fabritius, Suzanne Ludvigsen and Mette Thelle, and American art historian Benedicte Hallowell. The catalog also contains detailed biographies of the 63 artists represented. It is available in its entirety online at the "Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr. Danish Art Collection" website. Loeb also supported the publication of In Another Light: Danish Painting in the Nineteenth Century, by Patricia G. Berman New York: Vendome Press, 2007.


The following exhibits were about or included works from the Loeb Danish art collection:

Full Exhibitions

  • Bruce Museum of Arts and Science, Greenwich, CT, “Danish Paintings of the Nineteenth Century from the collection of Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr.” March 19-June 19, 2005.
  • Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY, “Danish Paintings of the Nineteenth Century from the collection of Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr.” March 19-June 19, 2005.
  • Busch-Reisinger Museum, “Danish Paintings of the Nineteenth Century from the Collection of Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr.” (Harvard University Art Museum Gallery Series No. 8) Jan. 22-April 24, 1994.

Loans of Individual Paintings

  • American-Scandinavian Foundation, New York, New York – “Luminous Modernism: Scandinavian Art Comes to America 1912 - October 25, 2011—February 11, 2012.
  • Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah – “Out of Obscurity: Carl Bloch.” – October 21, 2010–May 28, 2011.
  • Royal Academy of Arts, London, England, “Vilhelm Hammershøi Retrospective (1864-1916).” – June 24–September 7, 2008.
  • National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan “Vilhelm Hammershøi Retrospective (1864-1916).” – September 30, 2008–December 7, 2008.
  • The Hirschsprung Collection, Copenhagen, Denmark, “Frederik Sodring Exhibition.” August 25, 2000 – January 2001.
  • Kvindemuseet i Danmark (The Women’s Museum in Denmark), Aarhus, Denmark – 1999.
  • Gammel Holtegård, Copenhagen “Portraits from a Marriage – Marie and P.S. Krøyer.” – 1999.
  • Skagen’s Museum, Skagen, Denmark – 1999.
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York City, “Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916) Danish Painter of Solitude and Light.” – June 19-September 7, 1998.

Early American Jewish Portraiture

In cooperation with the American Jewish Historical Society, Loeb funded the development of The Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr. Database of Early American Jewish Portraits, containing images of all known painted portraits of American Jews before 1865. The database includes a short biography of each subject along with artist and repository attributions. The database can be accessed through the American Jewish Historical Society.


Loeb was born in New York City on May 2, 1930, to businessman John Langeloth Loeb Sr. (1902–1996) and Frances Lehman (1906–1996). His mother was a direct descendant of Meyer Lehman (1830–1897), one of the three original founders of the Lehman Brothers banking family. He is a great-grandson of Adolph Lewisohn and grand-nephew of former New York Governor and U. S. Senator Herbert H. Lehman. Ambassador Loeb's father and paternal-grandfather, Carl M. Loeb (1875–1955), were founders of Loeb, Rhoades & Co. Ambassador Loeb and his father share the middle name Langeloth. This comes in honor of family friend and businessman John Jacob Langeloth (1852–1914).


He is a 1952 B.A. cum laude graduate of Harvard College, and received his M.B.A. in 1954 from Harvard Business School. He served as First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force from 1954 to 1956. Loeb holds an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Georgetown University Law School.

Awards and Honors

Upon leaving his ambassadorial post in 1983, Her Royal Highness Queen Margrethe II of Denmark gave Ambassador Loeb the equivalent of a Danish knighthood through the awarding of the Grand Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog. She also bestowed a Danish crest and coat-of-arms. The Danish crest and arms were used as the basis for the British crest and coat-of-arms given to the Ambassador by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II and registered with the College of Heralds.

Loeb speaks frequently on religious freedom in America. In 2010, he was invited to deliver the Herbert H. Lehman Memorial Lecture at Lehman College CUNY. He was the first direct relative of Herbert H. Lehman to receive the honor. His lecture, Beyond Tolerance, was an exploration of the history and contemporary relevance of George Washington’s 1790 “Letter to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island”.

In addition to the above mentioned and other awards, he has been honored by:

  • The John Clarke Society, Laureate of the Year (2009)
  • The Danish American Society, Person of the Year (2005)
  • The Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, Connecticut, Hotchkiss Holiday in Honor of John L. Loeb Jr. (1998);
  • The Harvey School, Katonah, New York, Distinguished Alumnai Award (1994);
  • The Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York, the Distinguished Patriots Award (1993);
  • The Zionist Organization of America, the Justice Louis D. Brandeis Award (1986);
  • The American Jewish Historical Society, the Lee Max Freidman Award (1981);
  • The Hebrew Benevolent Society in Charleston, South Carolina;
  • In 1994, he was decorated by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II as Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (C.B.E) in honor of his contributions to the Winston Churchill Foundation.
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John Langeloth Loeb, Jr. Ambassador to Denmark's Timeline

May 2, 1930
New York, NY, USA
August 2, 1975
Age 45
New York City, New York County, NY, USA