Like the intricate designs of mid-nineteenth-century cross-stiched embroidery samplers, Weaver’s photograms—unique images made in the darkroom without a camera by arranging objects directly on photographic paper—incorporated phrases from hymns or Scripture. From her small Quaker town of Salem, Ohio, Weaver appropriately chose the title of a book by William Penn. As the Quaker founder of the proprietary colony of Pennsylvania, Penn sympathized with persecuted members of this religious group living in New Jersey and promised them religious freedom in his colony. No Cross, No Crown [SAAM, 1994.91.284], an intricate arrangement of fern and plant leaves, suggests that the burdens one encounters in an earthly life will serve to deepen spiritual peace. Copied from the original photogram, a print of this image, like others made by Weaver in the 1870s, was sent to the Library of Congress in order to register copyright, suggesting that she hoped to make the image available for publication.
Merry A. Foresta American Photographs: The First Century (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996)