John Hafen (1856-1910), Was I Nurtured Near Thy Side, 1909, gouache, 18 ¼ x 10 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of German E. Ellsworth, 1940.
Happy Father’s Day from the BYU Museum of Art! Officially established as a national holiday in 1972, on this day we celebrate fatherhood and the positive influence of good fathers and paternal figures in our nation.
In Nauvoo, Illinois in 1845, Eliza R. Snow penned the now well-known poem “O My Father,” which later became the text for the beloved Latter-day Saint hymn of the same title. In 1909, Utah artist John Hafen illustrated the poem in a small booklet for teaching gospel principles. The portion of the hymn represented here is: “In thy holy habitation did my spirit once reside; in my first primeval childhood was I nurtured near thy side.” Hafen’s illustration depicts a beautiful outdoor scene with a young girl walking a path alongside her father.