The Warner Sallman Collection

Personal Stories

Where do you remember seeing an image created by Warner Sallman? Do you or another family member have diaries or letters that mention the images? Do you have a tale of your own interactions with these images at some point in the past?

If you have any type of information you would like us to know, please pass it along. Any story you share will become a part of the Warner Sallman archive at Anderson University. Occasionally we will even post your stories (with your permission) on our Web site for visitors to see.

The Master Healer

by Joyce Day, Sept. 2, 2013

Growing up in Clarksburg, W.Va., I remember visiting family members in the local hospital. I was always fascinated by this huge painting of Jesus healing a man lying by a pool. Now, 40+ years later, I just saw that same painting in the new Clarksburg hospital. Reading the plaque, I discovered that it was one of two paintings done by Warner Sallman for hospitals. This one is The Master Healer. Who knows, maybe the powerful image of that painting contributed to my call to ordained ministry years after the fact.

A friend in Jesus

by Liz Graham, April 10, 2013

I had a beautiful picture over my bed as a little girl. It was a child, Jesus, sitting on his mother’s lap looking out over the distance. It was so peaceful, and it made me feel Jesus was my friend. This was in the early 1960s. this week, as I emptied my parents’ home as my dad is about to die, I found the picture stored in the attic. It is not in great shape but reminds me of being a trusting child. My mom has been gone for almost 20 years and my dad will join her soon.

He is still in my heart

by Nadene Cheney, Dec. 21, 2012

Neighboors took me to Sunday School when I was a child. It was a small church, and there was a large portrait of Christ at the Door. In my teens I wandered away from God. One night in my early twenties I lay in bed sorrowing over the path I had taken and wondering how to get right. Then I remembered that painting and that verse from Revelation. I asked Christ to come into my heart and forgive my many sins. He did. That was over 50 years ago. He is still here in my heart. I thank God for that painting.

A lasting impression

by Lorna Nau, Nov. 16, 2012

My grandmother had a huge painting of “Jesus at the door” hung in her bedroom where as a child I would take a nap. It drew me to Christ. Today, at the age of 67, I found a copy by Kriebel & Bates circa 1942 at a thrift store. Not as big as Nana’s, but at a young age who could tell how big it really was! However it certainly made a lasting impression on me. I had never seen the heart until you mentioned it!

First day of school

by Julie Gilleand, Oct. 6, 2012

I was 4 years old when I first remember seeing Sallman’s Head of Christ painting. Of course I didn’t know that was the name of it. I only knew it was a picture of Jesus and probably thought it was an actual picture of him! It was at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church a few blocks from my house. My mother had enrolled me in nursery school there and it was my first day. Naturally I was scared. Strange people and surroundings in a place I’d never been. My parents had never yet left me anywhere other than my grandparents’ houses. Oh, how I cried and wailed as my mother walked away and tried to run after her, but was held back. I seem to recall being told to sit on the bench in the foyer beneath that painting until I settled down. It’s all a very faded memory now after nearly 50 years, but what I do remember well is that this painting of Jesus, with the warm glow on his face and the gentle, kind eyes comforted me and made me feel safe, as if everything would be okay. And of course it was. But I have held that particular depiction of Jesus with all its kindness and warmth in my heart all these years. None other has affected me so wonderfully and powerfully as this one.