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Father Divine photographs

 Collection — Box: BW-2, Folder: 16
Identifier: MS-1004

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of 21 press photographs of Black spiritual leader Father Divine and his wife Edna Rose Ritchings (also known as Mother Divine), as well as several of the properties Father Divine possessed and operated as "heavens" for International Peace Mission followers.


  • Creation: 1932 - 1966


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical / Historical

Father Divine, also known as Reverend Major Jealous Divine, was a Black religious leader who was worshipped by his followers as God and who founded the International Peace Mission movement.

Father Divine's given name is unknown, although his name at birth may have been George Baker. He was married twice, in what he claimed were chaste marriages, first to a Black woman named Peninnah, and second to a white woman, Edna Rose Ritchings. Both women had various names over time within their movement, but were known primarily as Mother Divine. Father Divine claimed that Ritchings was the reincarnation of Peninnah.

The Peace Mission movement supported racial equality with its “Righteous Government Platform" that called for an end to segregation, lynching, and capital punishment. Members lived communally as brothers and sisters in residential hotels called "Heavens," which provided food, shelter, job opportunities (via related businesses operated by the Peace Mission), and religious teaching, and members were to practice celibacy and refrain from using tobacco, alcohol, narcotics, and vulgar language. Its membership reached its height during the Great Depression.

Mother Divine succeeded Father Divine as the leader of the Peace Mission after Father Divine's death in 1965.


Melton, J. Gordon. "Father Divine." Encyclopedia Britannica, February 27, 2024.


0.167 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from McBlain in September 2020 and Royal Books in November 2023.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in February 2024 by Jenelle Clark.

Guide to the Father Divine photographs
Jenelle Clark
February 2024
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA