Baptism in Chautauqua Lake by George H. Monroe

George H. Monroe, Baptism in Chautauqua Lake, Bible Student’s Convention (recto and verso), 1910

Text: Rockland, Pa, 1910. Dear Cousin:—I intended sending this from Celeron but it seemed I could not take time to send it. Wish you could have been there, to receive the spiritual blessing which we cannot express. I met Sr. Belle Imikoff of Waterloo, Iowa, she said she had met you & I almost felt I had met you when she told me. Hope to meet you some time. It behooves me to watch & pray in this evil day that we may be able to stand it at least. “A little while! Tis ever drawing nearer—The brighter dawning of that glorious day. Praise God, the light is hourly growing clearer, Shining more & more unto the perfect day.” With love, Annie

George H. Monroe lived in Rochester, New York, where he ran a photography studio and taught Kodak founder George Eastman how to make pictures. Both men sold wet plates in Rochester until Monroe moved in 1888, becoming a major photographer and publisher in Jamestown. There he published a series of postcards highlighting Chautauqua Lake as well as attractions in Jamestown and the surrounding area.

A lifelong student of the Bible, Charles Taze Russell (1852–1916) began publishing Zion’s Watch Tower in 1879. He co-founded Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society in 1881 in Pittsburgh and moved the organization to Brooklyn in 1909, establishing his pastoral headquarters in abolitionist preacher Henry Ward Beecher’s old church. Russell promoted extensive and intensive study of the Bible; his early followers called themselves Bible Students. Jehovah’s Witnesses emerged from this group after his death.

Pastor Russell was the featured speaker at the 1910 annual Bible Students’ Convention. Held at Celeron Park, an amusement park on Chautauqua Lake outside Jamestown, New York, the convention drew more than 4,500 attendees from across the U.S. According to the official account, there were two baptisms at the lake during the week and 354 adults were immersed.

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About erinbarnett

Assistant Curator, Collections at the International Center of Photography, New York
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One Response to Baptism in Chautauqua Lake by George H. Monroe

  1. Carrie says:

    I’m really looking forward to checking out the ‘Take Me to the Water’ show at ICP. Thanks for the interesting insight and reminder!

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