The artist is Warner Sallman (1892-1968) of Chicago. The son of Finnish and Swedish immigrants, Sallman was a devout member of the Swedish Evangelical Covenant Church. So popular were his depictions of Christ that they appeared in Sunday School materials, gift items and even clocks and jigsaw puzzles.
During World War II, the Salvation Army and the YMCA handed out pocket size copies of “The Head of Christ” to soldiers being shipped off the Europe and Asia. Later, the illustration was circulated among churches of all denominations when a Lutheran organizer suggested that there should be “card-carrying Christians” to stand against the “card-carrying Communists.” It is estimated that more than 500 million copies of this picture have been circulated around the world.
Today, Sallman’s illustrations can still be found on display in Christian homes and businesses—even in faraway Africa and Asia. Do you have a copy of one of Sallman’s illustrations in your home—perhaps inside the front page of a Bible or hanging on a bedroom wall?
An award-winning writer and frequent conference speaker, Shirley Raye Redmond is the author of three inspirational novels, PRUDENCE PURSUED, VIPER’S NEST, and AMANDA’S BEAU, as well as two dozen children’s books, including LEWIS & CLARK: A PRAIRIE DOG FOR THE PRESIDENT (Random House), which was a Children’s Book of the Month Club selection. Shirley Raye holds an M.A. in literature and teaches through the Institute of Children’s Literature. She has been married to her husband Bill for over forty years. They live in New Mexico and are blessed with two grown children and three adorable grandchildren. Touch bases at shirleyrayeredmond.com or Facebook.