Sister Gertrude Morgan

An open sketchbook with a drawing of a man, woman, and child sitting on a green couch on the left and text that says Good's Greatest Hoys on the right.

In 1970, poet Rod McKuen published a diminutive book of Bible quotations accompanied by the drawings of Sister Gertrude Morgan. Morgan had established her Everlasting Gospel Mission in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans several years earlier and had since earned the admiration of figures like McKuen, who collected her work. Morgan adorned the frontispiece of this volume with a drawing of the prophesied New Jerusalem from the book of Revelation, which she depicted as a multistory structure surrounded by angels. In the foreground is the artist herself as the bride of Christ, together with Jesus and a third figure, perhaps the “John” to whom Revelation is attributed. In her lengthy inscription to the right, she borrows a line from a folk song, writing, “Seal up your book John . . .don’t you write no more.”

Sister Gertrude Morgan
American, 1900–1980
God’s Greatest Hits, ca. 1970–74
Tempera, ballpoint pen, and graphite
In God’s Greatest Hits (Los Angeles: Stanyan Books; New York: Random House, 1970)
American Folk Art Museum, New York, Blanchard-Hill Collection, gift of M. Anne Hill and Edward V. Blanchard, Jr., 1998.10.32
American Folk Art Museum / Art Resource, NY