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Last updated: 11/09/06

What’s New:
Library Gallery Exhibit: November 6 – December 21, 2006
Picturing Faith: Religious America in Government Photography, 1935 – 1943

The latest exhibit in the University of Rhode Island Library Gallery is Picturing Faith: Religious America in Government Photography, 1935 – 1943.

The curator of this traveling exhibit, which is part of the Material History of American Religion Project, is Professor Colleen McDannell.

There will be an opening slide presentation on Thursday, November 9, at 4:00 p.m. in Galanti Lounge, with a reception to follow.

Table Blessing, by Jack Delano. Carroll County, Georgia, 1941.

This exhibit is sponsored by URI’s Center for the Humanities, with support from the Rhode Island Labor History Society.

It runs from November 6 to December 21, 2006.

Anointing, by Gordon Parks. Washington, D.C., 1942.

About the Material History of American Religion Project

More than just ideas and institutions, religion in America is a rich mixture of objects, behaviors and people. Working from 1995 through 2001, the Material History of American Religion Project studied the history of American religion in all its complexity by focusing on material objects and economic themes. Working with religious leaders, it helped contemporary religious communities with their economic concerns by placing those concerns within an historical context. Finally, the Project encouraged further investigations into the religious lives of Americans by paying attention to material and economic questions.

The Project is now sponsoring a photography exhibition, featuring representations of religion in Depression-era government photographs. The curator is project scholar Colleen McDannell, who has been studying pictures taken by photographers who worked for the Farm Security Administration. The forty-five photograph exhibition shows religious life in the thirties and forties and examines how the photographers presented religion to meet their own goals.

Rabbi, by John Collier, Jr. Windsor Locks, Connecticut, 1942.

About the Curator

Colleen McDannell is the Sterling McMurrin Professor of Religious Studies and [Professor of History at the University of Utah. In 1984 she received her doctorate in Religious Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia. Her publications include three books: Material Christianity: Popular Culture and Religion in America (Yale University Press, 1995) that contains chapters on popular art, cemeteries, Lourdes water, Mormon garments, and Christian retailing; Heaven: A History with Bernhard Lang, (Yale University Press, 1988); and The Christian Home in Victorian America: 1840-1900 (Indiana University Press, 1986). Her articles range from examinations of nineteenth-century Irish-American masculinity to interpretations of evangelical home schooling.

More information about Professor McDannell can be found at

Baptism, by Marion Post Wolcott. Morehead, Kentucky, 1940.

The Library Gallery is located on the main floor of the University Library, 15 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 02881. October Library hours are:

Monday-Thursday 8:00 am - midnight
Friday  8:00 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sunday 1:00 pm - midnight

For more information, please contact Karen Ramsay at 401-874-4625 or

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