Were You There When They Crucified My Lord, A Negro Spiritual in Illustrations by Allan Rohan Crite. [signed and initialed by Crite]
Signed by Allan Rohan Crite (1910–2007) on the title page, below which the illustrator has added his cyphered initials.
An inscription on the front free endpaper, not in Crite’s hand, suggests this copy was presented on behalf of Crite, possibly by a family member: “For Mabel from G.J.C. [or G.&C.] and A.R.C. Christmas 1944.”
Illustrated devotional book by African American artist, Allan Crite (1910–2007) of Boston, visually depicting the verses of the African American spiritual, “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord.” Thirty-nine full-page illustrations show Biblical scenes of Christ’s passion, death, resurrection, and ascension including several scenes from the Christian Liturgy of the Eucharist paralleling those events.
A devout Episcopalian, Crite’s pen and ink technique of black and white illustration in Were You There When They Crucified My Lord allows for each figure—Christ, the priest, and accompanying disciples and angels—to appear to have Black features. Crite, who studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts near Boston and was one of a few African American WPA artists, is noted for his depictions of African Americans in Boston. His work was exhibited in the 1930s at the Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.
Description: Were You There When They Crucified My Lord, A Negro Spiritual in Illustrations by Allan Rohan Crite. [signed and initialed by Crite]
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1944. First Edition. ff. Sm. Folio. Publisher’s cloth; without dust jacket. 39 full-page illustrations and numerous decorations. Bookseller’s ticket on the free, front endpaper for the “Boston Book and Art Shop.” Some surface rubbing to boards; spine sunned; Very Good.