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Unidentified Photographer

[River baptism, Citronelle, Alabama]

Date 1907
Location Citronelle Alabama United States
Dimensions Image: 4 3/8 x 3 3/8 in. (11.1 x 8.6 cm)
Paper: 5 3/8 x 3 3/8 in. (13.7 x 8.6 cm)
Print medium Photo-Gelatin silver

In many Southern communities, both Baptist and Methodist congregations practiced immersion baptisms such as this one in Citronelle, Alabama. The initiates, who were old enough to choose to join the church, were often dressed in white robes and baptized in rivers or lakes, surrounded by parishioners. Each church typically used the same spot for generations. A ritual cleansing of sin, baptisms often followed church revivals in the spring. Images of these "exotic" Southern river baptisms were circulated as postcards in the North; this one was sent to Katherine Wolgan in Peoria, Illinois.

Credit line

Museum Purchase, 2005
Daniel Cowin Collection

Feedback Accession No. 465.2005