One hallmark of the American experience captured in the Museum's collections is the nation's broad diversity of religious faiths. Artifacts range from Thomas Jefferson's Bible to a huge "Sunstone" sculpture carved for a Mormon temple in Illinois in 1844 to a household shrine from the home of a Pueblo Indian in the 1990s. Furniture, musical instruments, clothing, cooking ware, and thousands of prints and figures in the collections have all played roles in the religious lives of Americans. The most comprehensive collections include artifacts from Jewish and Christian European Americans, Catholic Latinos, Protestant Arab Americans, Buddhist and Christian Asian Pacific Americans, and Protestant African Americans. One notable group is the Vidal Collection of carved figures known as santos and other folk religious material from the practice of Santeria in Puerto Rico.
"Religion - Overview" showing 1169 items.
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- Born Sevastopol, Crimea, Russia, Aug. 6, 1902; last name originally Landschaft. At 12 built own camera and assisted a professional photographer. Relocated in Constantinople (Istanbul), Turkey, apprenticed to a photographer (1920), then opened own portrait studio. Emigrated to U.S. 1923, working in photo-finishing businesses and home portraiture. Became well-known as photographer of New York ethnic groups, 1930s; published books on subject. Amateur photographic historian; located the Jacob Riis negative collection and made it available, and published monographs on Riis, Jessie Tarbox Beals, and Heinrich Tonnies.
- Series 1: 273 photoprints, most ca. 1932-1943, taken primarily in the Virgin Islands and New York City. The Virgin Islands series was made on a special documentary project in 1939; the New York photographs relate to Alland's largely self-assigned documentation of ethnic and religious groups, including the "Red Bandanna" Romany Gypsy group in the Bowery, a black Jewish congregation (the Commandment Keepers, whose synagogue was located above a drugstore at 128th Street and Lenox Avenue), Mohawk Indians in Brooklyn, and many other groups, listed below. The "Judaism" folder contains New York scenes plus views of a Virgin Islands synagogue, with related images in the Virgin Islands folder.
- Series 2: Four audiotape cassettes, interviews with Alland, 1985 (by Richard Ahlborn, Eugene Ostroff, and Matt Salo), and 1986 (by Richard Ahlborn and David Haberstich).
- Cite as
- Alexander Alland, Sr., Photoprints, 1932-1943, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Gift of the artist
- Alland, Alexander Sr (Alexander Landschaft) 1902-1989
- Salo, Matt Dr.
- Haberstich, David E 1941-
- Ostroff, Eugene (NMAH Curator) d. 1999
- Ahlborn, Richard E
- Kaslov, Steve King of the Red Bandanna Romany Gypsies ca. 1888-1949
- Davis, Earl
- Commandment Keepers
- China Daily News
- United States Works Progress Administration
- Local number
- 1986.3102 (NMAH Acc.)
- Data Source
- Archives Center - NMAH