Material History of American Religion Project

Picturing Faith: Religious America in Government Photography, 1935 - 1943

Bedroom Walls
Marion Post Wolcott
June 1940
Melrose, Louisiana

The caption to this photograph tells us that “mulattoes” built and still occupy this old hut near the “John Henry plantation.” The mud walls contain almost every popular Catholic figure of the time: the Sacred Heart, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Joseph, and St. Anthony. Rosaries, crucifixes, statues, and votive candles crowd the table. Here we see a dense and eclectic visual environment used to contradict the constrained narrowness of the conditions of everyday life. Marion Post Wolcott exaggerates the difference by including the plain white sheets as contrast to the cluttered walls.

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