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Allan Rohan Crite papers


Held at: African American Museum in Philadelphia [Contact Us]701 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA, 19106

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the African American Museum in Philadelphia. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Allan Rohan Crite (1910-2007), a renowned African American artist, was born in North Plainfield, NJ, but moved when he was an infant to Boston, MA with his parents. He started drawing when he was a child, having been encouraged by his mother, Annamae Palmer Crite (1891-1977). In 1936, Crite graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Crite was one of the only African American artists to be employed by the Federal Arts Project, part of the Works Progress Administration program (WPA). He worked for the WPA for one year in the late 1930s before taking a job as a draftsman at the Boston Naval Shipyard in 1940.

Crite was primarily a painter, but also worked in printmaking and wrote and illustrated books. Most of Crite's early artwork in the 1920s and 1930s depicted everyday street scenes of African Americans in Boston. Crite was also a devout Episcopalian. From the 1930s onward much of his work was religious in nature, depicting African Americans in religious scenes, something which went against the stereotype of African Americans in art at the time. Crite gave many lectures on religious art during the 1950s and 1960s, and also created the Artists' Collective, a group for up and coming African American artists in Boston.


The Archives of the Episcopal Church. "Leadership Gallery: Allan Crite." The Church Awakens: African Americans and the Struggle for Justice. Online exhibition. 2014. Accessed January 7, 2014.

"Art makers: Allan Crite." The History Makers. 2014. Accessed on January 7, 2014.

This collection focuses on Crite's artwork and career, with little about his private life and few personal papers. Crite's artworks are well represented in the form of dozens of linoleum block prints on paper and two paper sculptures, as well as photocopies of Crite's sketch book, a few photographs of artworks, and a book of photocopies of artworks with descriptions and prices. The collection also includes newspaper clippings, correspondence, printed matter such as exhibition catalogs, and books both written by Crite ( All Glory) and those featuring his illustrations. Of special interest are several lectures given by Crite delivered at church and school groups between 1940 and 1960 on his artwork, African American art, religion, and other topics. There are 13 audiocassette recordings of the speeches (recorded later, from Crite's original lecture scripts) and transcriptions of the tapes with (photocopy) illustrations, 1978.

Annamae Palmer Crite Collection

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2012-2014 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact African American Museum in Philadelphia directly for more information.

African American Museum in Philadelphia
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen and Sarah Leu through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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