Exhibitions


  • Unidentified Photographer
    [Rev. M. Shrugler baptizing Mr. Rideout, North River at foot of Sunset Hill, Norwell, Massachusetts], ca. 1889
    International Center of Photography, Gift of Janna Rosenkranz and Jim Linderman, 2007

  • Unidentified Photographer
    [River baptism, Tallulah, Louisiana], ca. 1930
    International Center of Photography, Gift of Janna Rosenkranz and Jim Linderman, 2007

  • C. E. Peterson
    [River baptism, Carson City, Nevada], 1880–86
    International Center of Photography, Gift of Janna Rosenkranz and Jim Linderman, 2007

  • Unidentified Photographer
    [River baptism, Shreveport, Louisiana], ca. 1950
    International Center of Photography, Gift of Janna Rosenkranz and Jim Linderman, 2007

  • Unidentified Photographer
    [Congregation watching river baptism], ca. 1930
    International Center of Photography, Gift of Janna Rosenkranz and Jim Linderman, 2007

  • Installation Photo by Gina Fuentes Walker, courtesy the Museum of Biblical Art, New York.

  • Installation Photo by Gina Fuentes Walker, courtesy the Museum of Biblical Art, New York.

  • Installation Photo by Gina Fuentes Walker, courtesy the Museum of Biblical Art, New York.


Take Me To The Water

Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography 1890-1950

November 03, 2013–February 16, 2014

John answered, saying unto them all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:” Luke 3:16 King James Version

Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and Photography is a video and audio installation which will transport the viewer and listener into America’s early twentieth-century, to the banks of rivers, lakes, and ponds where congregations gathered and sang as candidates holding hands in waist-deep water were submerged by a minister for baptism.  

The excitement and serenity of immersion baptism is seen in the projected images that date from 1890-1950. Recordings of artists like Washington Phillips, Carter Family, Tennessee Mountaineers, and lesser-known groups like the Belmont Silvertone Jubilee Singers, a vocal quartet in 1939, are featured. Rare vocal recordings of sermons and preaching, which highlight the fervor leading up to the moment of baptism, are also included. 

A companion book and CD will be available in the MOBIA Store.

The original photographs are in the collection of the International Center of Photography, Gift of Janna Rosenkranz and Jim Linderman, 2007.

The songs and sermons were collected and archived by Lance Ledbetter, from rare gospel and folk recordings on original 78-RPM records that date from 1924-1940. The audio recordings are on loan from Dust-to-Digital, Atlanta, Georgia.

Major support for MOBIA’s exhibitions and programs is provided by American Bible Society and by Howard and Roberta Ahmanson.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Audio Samples:

 

Washington Phillips
Denomination Blues, Part 1
Vocal with novelty instrument
Dec. 5, 1927; Dallas, Texas

 

 

Rev. J.M. Gates
Baptize Me
Sermon with signing;

with his congregation
ca. Sept. 1926; New York City

Visit MOBIA Museum of Biblical Art
1865 Broadway at 61st Street
New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 408-1500
Hours & Admission