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First Holy Communion, St. Mark's Church

Date ca. 1920
Dimensions Image: 6 7/8 x 9 1/8 in. (17.5 x 23.2 cm)
Paper: 8 1/16 x 9 15/16 in. (20.4 x 25.3 cm)
Print medium Photo-Gelatin silver

Though best known for his portraits of individuals, James VanDerZee also documented community groups. This is a communion portrait of children from St. Mark the Evangelist church on West 138th Street in Harlem. The church also ran New York's first primary school exclusively for African Americans. Founded in 1912 by Katharine Drexel, one of two Catholic saints born in the United States, the school continues to be run by her order, Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.

Credit line

Gift of Daniel Cowin, 1990

Feedback Accession No. 1366.1990