Who was `Abdu'l-Bahá, and why did He come to the West?

Monday, April 30, 2012

April 30, 1912 Soaring high

[Chicago: personal meetings; newspaper reporters; Hull House; NAACP; Convention]
An exciting day--and the day before the Temple ground is dedicated!

Mahmud notes: "Several friends and inquirers gathered in one of the rooms of `Abdu'l-Bahá's suite and went in two or three at a time to speak with Him through an interpreter. Each returned transformed, soaring high in the atmosphere of happiness and joy. A few newspaper reporters were announced and He addressed them [on the subject of Bahá'u'lláh as the supreme educator, the unity of humankind, and some of the Baha'i principles. AP]

Jane Addams
Hull House
"In addition to the visits of large numbers of people at the hotel both day and night, three large meetings were held, attended by almost three thousand people, all of whom were honored to see `Abdu'l-Bahá. The first meeting was held at Hull House and was attended by both blacks and whites. [Jane Addams, a sociologist and vice president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, founded Hull House in 1889.  She also knew Sarah Farmer, who probably visited her in Chicago in 1893.  Does anyone know anything else about Addams' connection with the Faith? AP] The Master spoke on the subject of the unity and oneness of humanity; that God has given faculties and powers equally to all and that the different colors of humankind are like the various colors of the flowers of a garden, which increases the beauty and charm of the garden. His eloquent and impressive talk thrilled His listeners." [See PUP 67–69.] 

Mahmud continues, first with a sad commentary about racism in America but then with the evidence of race "mingling"because of the Faith: 
"There exists among the whites in America a marked animosity for the blacks, who are held in such low esteem that the whites do not allow them to attend their public functions and think it beneath their dignity to mix with them in some of the public buildings and hotels. One day, Dr Zia Bagdadi invited Mr [Louis] Gregory, a black Bahá'í, to his home. When his landlord heard about this, he gave notice to Dr Bagdadi to vacate his residence because he had had a black man in his home. Although such prejudice was intense, the influence of the Cause of God and the power of God's Covenant is so great that in many cities in America hundreds of black and white Bahá'ís mingle together and associate with each other as brothers and sisters.

"Another meeting was held at Handel Hall especially to bring together the blacks and the whites. [`Abdu'l-Bahá spoke at the Fourth Annual Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.  See PUP 69–70.] 

The Master offered a commentary on a verse from the Old Testament, `Let us make man in our image, after our likeness': `By "image and likeness"', He said, `is meant human virtues and perfections and not the black or white color of the skin.' The Master's impressive talk transformed and deeply affected the gathering.
W.E.B. DuBois
"The Master then went to a third meeting, addressing some two thousand people at the Convention of the Bahá'í Temple Unity held at the spacious Drill Hall. [The final session.  See PUP 65–67.] The entire audience stood when the Master entered, even though not all were Bahá'ís. The friends were full of excitement and cried `Alláh-u-Abhá' so loudly that the hall resounded with their voices.

"After a song of praise and glorification, the Master gave a detailed and eloquent talk on the purpose of the Temple and the unification of all under one standard. He concluded His talk by chanting a prayer in Persian in a most melodious voice. Some of those attending the convention met Him outside and asked whether they could visit Him at His residence. The crowd gathered around Him until He got into His carriage."

Can you imagine the thrill of so many people calling out the Greatest Name in that gathering?  I can picture the exciting reverberations--so different than the tenor of most of our meetings and conventions now.  How can we bring Him back?  "My invitation will be the unity of the friends. . . ." Hm.

Must find out more about all of these connections.  Oh--here's something Gayle Morrison points out, re. the NAACP:  "In its journal, The Crisis, W.E.B. DuBois, who was serving as editor, printed both her version of the text of the Master's talk, which appears also to include passages from the Hull House talk, and a general account of the convention.  DuBois mentioned 'the calm sweet universalism of `Abdu'l-Bahá' and the large audience at that session, when 'a thousand disappointed people were unable to get even standing room in the hall.'" (TMTW 55)

I can picture Louis Gregory (and other Baha'is) going to Chicago and following the Master to all of the meetings of this day, but DeBois? Amazing!  DuBois had previously spent time at Green Acre. I wish we had more information about his time there. Does anyone know more about his connections with the Faith? 

 When we went to Hull House to film, it was quite meaningful. Here is the group of actors we had; some were playing immigrants. The story is that when 'Abdu'l-Baha came out of Hull House, He greeted various immigrants and gave them silver coins.
To the right is the scene in which a child is holding out her hand to receive coins.

_______  Notes and resources:

Jane Addams became the first woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize (1931).  She was also a charter member of the NAACP. She is most known for her progressive work to improve the lot of women and children and to foster the cause of peace.  Seeing her with a "peace" banner makes me wonder if she had been to Green Acre and had seen Sarah Farmer's peace flag.  

Here's  a book that might be worth pursuing: 

1912 Election & 20 Years at Hull House & Black Protest & Scopes Trial [Paperback] 

Brett Flehinger (Author), Jane Addams (Author), Eric Arnesen (Author), Jeffrey P. Moran (Author), Victoria Bissell Brown (Editor)

And this is available online:  Twenty Years at Hull-House with Autobiographical Notes. by Jane Addams (1860-1935). New York: The MacMillan Company, 1912 (c.1910)  see: http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/addams/hullhouse/hullhouse.html

Also, a youtube video on Jane Addams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5R6GajHiJyk&feature=related

Papers of NAACP:  http://academic.lexisnexis.com/documents/upa_cis/1420_PapersNAACPPart11SerA-2.pdf

Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 29, 1912 Feast of Lights

Tonight (er, last night) I attended and helped with the Chicago Commemoration of 'Abdu'l-Baha's visit. It was amazing!  But I need to prepare for tomorrow (er, later today), so I won't be able to describe it now.  Suffice it to say the excitement and sublimity were palpable.
[En route to and arrival in Chicago]

Can you imagine taking a train trip with `Abdu'l-Bahá from Washington D.C. to Chicago? Today (in 1912) the train was still en route; it will arrive in the evening, as described below. It's interesting to think about Chicago being the site where the first mention of the Faith was uttered in 1892--and the first community was developed. Also it is interesting how `Abdu'l-Bahá summarizes the time spent in Washington D.C.  He will visit both cities three different times on this journey. 

Mahmud notes, on April 29: 

"In the morning the Master again praised the beauty and fertility of the countryside; a more fertile land had never before been seen. He had breakfast in the dining car. Today He spoke mostly about the days of the Blessed Beauty and had Him constantly in mind.
"The train reached Chicago at night. The city was so bright with lights it was as if it were the Feast of Lights. When the friends saw the Master at the train station, they were filled with excitement, crying out `Alláh-u-Abhá' and `Yá `Abdu'l-Bahá', their voices resounding throughout the station.
"The Master went to the Plaza Hotel. After a brief rest, He was visited by some of the Bahá'ís, to whom He said: 'You have a good city. The call of God was first raised in this city. I hope that in Chicago the Cause of God will progress greatly and that it may be illumined by the light of the Kingdom just as it is brightened by electricity.
'In Washington we always had audiences of one to two thousand in large meetings. Day and night I had no rest. A close friendship was created between the black and white people. Many came to the Faith. Even those who are not believers drew much closer. Notwithstanding all this, I like Chicago more because the call of Bahá'u'lláh was first raised in this city. I hope you will be assisted to do great service and to live together in the utmost love and harmony.'
"When the believers begged for protection from tests and trials, `Abdu'l-Bahá said to them:
'The severest tests were in Persia where properties were pillaged and the friends were martyred. They had not a moment's security. In short, I had a great desire to see you. If I hadn't this desire, the assistance of Bahá'u'lláh would not have encompassed me. It is His assistance that has brought me here, for, at the time of leaving Alexandria, when I boarded the ship, I was not well at all.'
"Some newspaper reporters telephoned, asking permission to interview the Master. He agreed that they could interview Him the following morning. After dinner, He looked out at the park and, gazing at the scenery before Him, said, `This building commands a good view; most of the parks, streets and the city's lights can be seen.'"
Allan Ward reports a headline from the April 29 Chicago Daily News: "BAHAIST CHIEF MISSING." Apparently around 170 Baha'is were gathered at the Baha'i convention, expecting to see Him on the 29th, but He went from the train to the hotel and would meet them the following day. One senses the great drama around His presence. . . .
There is little mention of the Ridvan period, and of course, the Guardian had not yet come into his own, and the holy day observances were not systematized.  Without cell phones or email, how did the friends let each other know what was happening? Hard to imagine all the details of the network of communication.  But we do know that He was excited to be in Chicago.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

April 28, 1912 Beyond the world of words

Departure for Chicago; Assurance of a condition beyond "the world of words"

`Abdu'l-Bahá left for Chicago (and then would travel to Cleveland and Pittsburg before returning to Washington D.C. on May 8).  I have the feeling that not only was it special to have the Parsons' home a kind of "home base," but that He had made so many connections in Washington that He looked forward to coming back. His conversations, as noted below by Mahmud, assured some of the friends that "all created things are interlinked" and that when hearts are connected, "bodily separation is not important; this condition is beyond the world of words and above all description."

Ah, for a dose of that at the current time! In this world where things are moving so quickly, it seems that we rarely have time for losing ourselves in the sea of oneness.  Yet it is fully possible, in any moment!  I must pray for that. 

For now, I'm going to include Mahmud's diary entry. I hope that tomorrow I can pick up the thread of Louis Gregory in D.C.--as I am guilty of not yet tackling that essential subject. 

Sunday, April 28, 1912
[Washington DC, en route to Chicago]
The Master prepared to leave for Chicago. Among those who came to see Him was the ambassador of Great Britain [a note clarifies that it was Edward Alfred Mitchell, not the ambassador but an employee of the British Embassy in Washington--AP], who was very humble and reverent while in His presence. Many friends, believers and seekers were with `Abdu'l-Bahá until His departure at 5:30 p.m. As He was leaving He said to Mrs Parsons:
This was the springtime; we had good meetings at your home; I shall never forget them. I shall pray for divine confirmation for you that you may be assisted both materially and spiritually. This material world has an outward appearance, as it has also an inner reality. All created things are interlinked in a chain leading to spirituality and ultimately ending in abstract realities. I hope that these spiritual links will become stronger day by day and that this communication of hearts, which is termed inspiration, will continue. When this connection exists, bodily separation is not important; this condition is beyond the world of words and above all description.
To others He said, `I hope these meetings of ours will bring forth everlasting results. The greatest of all benefits is the oneness of humanity and universal peace.'
Some friends came to the railway station to see `Abdu'l-Bahá off and to gaze once more at the Master's beautiful countenance [Agnes Parsons, Dr. Farid, Turkish ambassador and his son, Ali Kuli Khan and Florence Breed Khan, Mirza Sohrab, Charles Mason Remey, Mrs. Belmont, and Leona Barnitz--AP]. Some were to accompany Him to Chicago. Among them was Mrs Moss, a stenographer, who had requested a Persian name and was given the name Marzieh Khánum.
After crossing the Potomac River, the train entered the state of Virginia, which is exceedingly fertile and green. The scenery on both sides was charming, with a verdant expanse of land as far as the eye could see. `Abdu'l-Bahá praised the scenery and said it was most beautiful but His face showed signs of an inner sorrow. After a few minutes He said, `Whenever I see such scenes, I feel great sorrow, for the Blessed Beauty liked verdure and greenery very much. God shall never pardon those who imprisoned Him in that place.' 
The conversation then turned to the train. The Master praised the sleeping car room, the cleanliness of the compartments and the electric lights in them; however, owing to the speed of the train, the Master was not able to sleep.
 ah! These journeys.  Later He will have some altitude sickness, on the train from Denver to Glenwood Springs.  I don't think we can appreciate how hard some of the travels were.

Often, when 'Abdu'l-Baha sees the countryside, He thinks of Baha'u'llah's deprivation. . . .

Becky Hillman (right)
Quite amazingly, I am in Chicago/Wilmette during this time of His travel.  The Temple will be the focus of the large commemorative event tonight!  I have costumed 35 members of the choir--that is my role here.  It was such fun to see some of the delegates and other friends!  But I am exhausted, having stayed up late last night and taken an early flight. . . . Better to empathize with the Master!

Some shots from Van Gilmer's basement, where I spent the evening costuming 35 choir members,  one at a time, with the help of Becky Hillman.  Everyone will look great at the commemorative event!

Friday, April 27, 2012

April 27, 1912 Smiles and tears of lovers

Today, in 1912, was the last day `Abdu'l-Bahá was in Washington D.C. (for now). Mahmud's diary entry is distinctive in at least two ways: One, he speaks of himself in the "I" voice, which seems rare, and mentions that he recites a poem. This helps us to realize his role as a traveling companion to `Abdu'l-Bahá, not just as a chronicler. Two, he uses effusive adjectives (magnificent, most blessed, most great) at the end, so we know that the last night in D.C. was quite spectacular. The East-West connection is again emphasized, the fact that `Abdu'l-Bahá offered distinctive messages to various people (a judge, Admiral Peary, a bishop, relatives of President Taft . . . ] is noted. We can imagine the excitement but also the dismay of those who didn't want to see Him leave their midst.

Here's Mahmud's entry:  Saturday, April 27, 1912  [Washington DC]
Mrs Parsons offered the Master a sum of money but He said that she should distribute it among the poor. No matter how much she supplicated, He would not accept it, saying, `If we had not had the money necessary for the expenses of the voyage, we would have accepted your offer.'
The Treasurer of the United States had lunch with the Master. This gentleman was very happy and smiling as he bade farewell to the Master. Later, the Master went to the home of an official to say goodbye. The man embraced Him, weeping with joy. When I saw the smile of the Treasurer and the tears of the official, I recited this poem: `The smiles and tears of the lovers are from another world.'
The Bahá'í meetings and the outstanding qualities of the Master have received such acclaim that today, out of jealousy, some narrow-minded Christian clergymen spoke out against the Cause.
Since this was the last night of the Master's stay in the this city, Mrs Parsons held an elegant reception for dignitaries and city officials in honor of `Abdu'l-Bahá and on behalf of the Orient-Occident Unity Society. Three hundred people in formal attire assembled in the spacious rooms, which were beautifully decorated with flowers and ornaments. When the Master came downstairs, each guest, man and woman alike, approached Him with the utmost reverence to shake His hand. They introduced one another and paid Him their respects. The guests then went into the dining room to partake of the repast prepared for them, including beverages, cakes, ice cream and coffee.
     After they had eaten the guests were ushered into the music hall while the Master sat in another room to receive those who wished to see Him. He answered all their questions. To a Washington judge He said: `It is possible to establish among the powers of the whole world the unity which is found among the states of the United States of America.' To some doctors He stated, `I hope that you will raise the standard of universal peace.' To a mathematician He said, `I hope that you will try to teach the truth and principles of divine religions to different nations just as you are teaching mathematics to different persons in your school.' To Admiral Peary, the explorer of the North Pole, He said, `I hope you will discover the mysteries of the Kingdom of God.' The Master spoke to a bishop, saying, `My hope is that you will abandon harmful imitations, spread the truth of the teachings of Christ and remove all those dogmas that are against science and reality.' To the chargé d'affaires of Switzerland, the Master described His sojourn in that country. To some relatives of the President of the United States [William Howard Taft] He spoke about divine civilization. To a member of Congress, He said, `Just as you are exerting yourself for the good of America, so must you expend your energy for the benefit of all the nations of the world.' He also spoke to the head of the United States Patent Office and the General Consul, the President of the Peace Congress and other well-known personages.
When this magnificent meeting ended, the guests came to `Abdu'l-Bahá one by one to shake His hand and to say goodbye. The night was one of the most blessed nights and that meeting one of the most great and important meetings.


Juliet has her own version of that day.  She specifies the Treasurer's name (Lee McClung), and says that he had been one of the "idols" of her early adolescence. The year before she had seen him and he had made fun of her conversion, but there he was in the audience at a meeting with `Abdu'l-Bahá! 

Several other dramatic things occurred for Juliet in Washington.  One was that the Master asked if she wanted to paint Him there, and she agreed to it. (She had learned that just before He arrived in NY, Mrs. Gibbons had received a tablet in which He said, "On my arrival in America Miss Thompson shall paint a wonderful portrait of Me.") She tried to paint Him at Agnes' house, but the light was "weak" and she despaired at the thought of using the wallpaper (with tiny bunches of flowers on it) as a background for His head, so she asked if He would pose in NY instead.  He consented "freely and sweetly." 

Juliet also had a potent talk with the Master, in which He told her, through and interpreter, that He had met many people who had been affected by her. "You are not eloquent, you are not fluent, but your heart teaches. . . . You will be confirmed. A great bounty will descend upon you. You will become eloquent. Your tongue will be loosed. Teach, always teach. The confirmations of the Holy Spirit descend upon those who teach constantly.  Never feel fear. The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say. . . ." Surely this was an astonishing interchange--one we might all envy.  Juliet comments, "How can I ever feel fear again when I have to mount the dreaded platform?"

So--what fears do we have that we can shed because of the promise of divine assistance?  How can we ever realize that `Abdu'l-Bahá can be as intimate with us now as He was with those early believers so privileged to be beside Him? 

(I am off to Chicago early this morning!)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 26, 1912 Claps that echo . . . "The Light of the World"

Mahmúd writes:  [Washington DC]
In addition to the usual receptions at the home of Mrs Parsons, there were three public meetings: one in the morning, another in the afternoon and one in the evening. At the first gathering, at the All Saints Unitarian Church, the Master spoke on the subject of the varieties of light, the effulgence of the Sun of Reality in its original essence, and of the waiting souls with pure hearts who are like unto clear spotless mirrors, whose eyes and ears become enlightened by the appearance of the Sun of Reality. So great was the respect and devotion of the audience that `Abdu'l-Bahá wrote in a cable He sent to the Orient: `Today three thousand persons visited with the utmost harmony.'
At every gathering, whether for Bahá'ís or non-Bahá'ís, several stenographers, as well as the Persian secretaries, were in attendance. The English translations were published soon after the address itself but the Persian originals taken down by us verbatim had to be submitted to `Abdu'l-Bahá for correction. Because of His heavy schedule, He had little time for this, so the originals were often delayed in their publication.
The afternoon meeting was held at the home of Mrs Parsons. The subject of the talk was the interpretation of the Old Testament statement concerning the creation of man in the image of God. At the conclusion `Abdu'l-Bahá took His leave of the friends, promising to return to Washington DC from Chicago. On hearing this, the friends hastened to shake hands with Him and showed great reverence and humility to Him, joyful that soon He would return to their midst. After the meeting, `Abdu'l-Bahá wentfor a stroll in a park to recuperate. 

DAR Building, DC
In the evening `Abdu'l-Bahá went to a third gathering, held in a very large building, [the DAR building AP] to speak to a group of young women of the suffrage movement. This was the largest meeting held thus far and the most spacious and majestic hall. `Abdu'l-Bahá delivered a most impressive address which He began by saying: 
One of the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh is equality of rights for men and women. When He promulgated this principle in the Orient, the people were astonished.
Three of us at DAR building (film shoot)
One of the proofs of the advancement of women is this magnificent and imposing building and this large gathering.
`Abdu'l-Bahá's talk centered on the subject of equality of men and women and the necessity of giving women the same training as men. Many praised Him, both before and after His talk. The meeting closed with a song of praise.
The chairman of the meeting, Mr Hoover from New York, introduced the Master most eloquently. When `Abdu'l-Bahá came to the pulpit, He was received with a standing ovation and a burst of enthusiasm. Then, with a motion of His hand, all seated themselves.
As the Master arose to give His talk, everyone began to clap so loudly that the sound echoed around the great hall. Everyone was thrilled as the beloved Master stood and the hearts of the believers were relieved of all grief and anxiety. Indeed, the appearance of the Center of God's Covenant in these meetings is worthy of the highest praise and will undoubtedly be of the greatest benefit to all. Instead of the harsh treatment meted out to the Manifestations of God, here was the advancement and elevation of the Cause of God. To listen to the melodious, resonant voice of the Center of the Covenant in such auditoriums fills one with excitement and raises the banner of everlasting honor. The presence of the Eastern friends was sorely missed.
  At the end of the meeting, people again filled the room to capacity so they could glimpse `Abdu'l-Bahá's beautiful face and shake His hand.

I received a book from Amazon: Alice Pike Barney Memorial Collection.  It's a beautiful book about her life and art, with a large number of prints of her paintings.  Lovely to see a portrait of Mirza Abul-Fadl there, and of course several of Laura. . . . Several mentions of the Faith. Certainly Alice's connections with the Smithsonian and with the theatre and art worlds she frequented form the focal point, with mention of Laura's travels and French husband.

Back to 1912:  Reading Juliet's diary entry for May 7, I see she has described so many things about the days in Washington D.C.  It is great to have her eye for detail and her passion balance the more factual accounts by Mahmud, who has the terrible task of being a sort of official scribe and historian. Juliet's accounts are more fluid and free.  And then, of course, there are the accounts by Agnes!  I feel as if I can't keep pace with the journey in all its aspects.  The believers in 1912 must have had a hard time, too!

But I will pick up Juliet's descriptions in this posting, going back to a few days earlier. . . .

The Diary of Juliet Thompson, May 7:  "Washington was beautiful, the banners of the spring floating out everywhere. Trees along the street in full leaf. Flowering bushes and tulip beds in the parks and in the grass plots in front of houses. The Japanese cherry trees behind the White House, a long row of coral-pink clouds.

"The day I arrived, 23 April, I met the Master at luncheon at the Persian Embassy, where Khán is now acting as minister.  The table was strewn with rose petals, as the Master's table always is in 'Akká, and Persian dishes were served. [I wonder what color the petals were? AP]

"A coloured man, Louis Gregory, was present and the Master gave a wonderful talk on race prejudice which, however, I will not quote here since it has been kept.  And besides, I am longing to catch up with these days, when I am feeling with all my capacity for feeling, when the gates of my heart are flung wide open and fire sweeping through, burning up my heart, when I am seeing through tears the Manifest Glory of the Beloved. I really don't want to write about Washington. This heart was not awakened then.

"But He said a lovely thing at Khán's table which I must keep. Mrs Parsons was at the luncheon. Before she became a Bahá'í she had been a Christian Scientist, and now she brought up the question of mental suggestion as a cure for physical disease. The Master replied that some illnesses, such as consumption and insanity, developed from spiritual causes--grief, for example--and that these could be healed by the spirit. But Mrs Parsons persisted. Could not extreme physical cases, like broken bones, also be healed by the spirit?

"A large bowl of salad had been placed before the Master, Who sat at the head of the table, Florence Khánum on His right. [Florence Breed Khan, Ali Kuli Khan's wife. AP]

"'If all the spirits in the air,' He laughed, 'were to congregate together, they could not create a salad! Nevertheless, the spirit of man is powerful. For the spirit of man can soar in the firmament of knowledge, can discover realities, can confer life, can receive the Divine Glad-Tidings. Is not this greater,' and He laughed again, 'than making a salad?'

'One more lovely thing. The servants were late bringing in the dessert and Florence apologized; whereupon little Rahím [her son], standing beside her, spoke up.

"'Even the King of Persia has to wait, doesn't He, mother?'

"'Rahím dear,' explained Florence, ''Abdu'l-Bahá is King of the whole world.'

"'Oh,' said Rahím, very much abashed, 'I forgot."

"After the luncheon, Florence and Khán held a large reception, to which a number of very distinguished people came, among them Díyá Páshá, the Turkish Minister, and his whole family, Duke Lita and his wife, Admiral Peary, and Alexander Graham Bell.

"Between the end of lunch and this reception the Master went upstairs to rest and to give a few private interviews. When He reappeared among us, the two living rooms were already crowded. He walked quickly to the open folding doors and standing there at the centre, with a strikingly free and simple bearing, immediately began to speak. His words too were simple and of a captivating sweetness, a startling clarity.

"Díyá Páshá stood next to me, his eyes riveted on the Master. When the Master had finished speaking, the old diplomat (who is a fierce Muslim) turned to me. "This is irrefutable. This is pure logic," he said.

"A few months before, at the request of his daughter-in-law, an American girl and a dear friend of mine, I had given Díyá Páshá the Message. I had had to give it in French, as he doesn't understand English, and, my French being rusty by now, I'm afraid I didn't do it very well: he looked so sceptical, almost contemptuous the whole time I was speaking. But when I said that through the Bahá'í Teaching I had become a Muslim, and convinced him of this by the reverent way I spoke of Muhammad, I really touched Díyá Páshá. He rose from the table, where we were at lunch, left the room, and returned with a precious and very old volume of the Qur'án on illuminated parchment and with a hand-tooled cover. 'No Christian eye but yours,' he said, 'has ever looked upon this."

"To return to the Persian Embassy. A delicious thing happened when the Master greeted Peary, who has just succeeded in publicly disgracing Captain Cook and proving himself, and not Captain Cook, the discoverer of the North Pole. At that moment, in the Embassy, he looked like a blown-up balloon.

"I was standing beside the Master when Khán brought the Admiral over and introduced him.

"The Master spoke charmingly to him and congratulated him on his discovery. Then, with the utmost sweetness, added these surprising words: For a very long time the world had been much concerned about the North Pole, where it was and what was to be found there. Now he, Admiral Peary, had discovered it and that nothing was to found there; and so, in forever relieving the public mind, he had rendered a great service.

"I shall never forget Peary's nonplussed face. The balloon collapsed!"

"Immediately after the Khán's reception, Mrs Parsons too had a large one for the Master, to which Díyá Páshá came with Him. I saw them, to my great delight, enter the hall together hand in hand.

Mrs Parsons house has real distinction. It is Georgian in style and in it has a very long white ballroom with, at one end, an unusually high mantel--the mantel, as well as the ceiling and panelled walls, delicately carved with garlands. At the windows hang thin silk curtains the colour of jonquil leaves.

Here, after this first reception, the Master spoke daily in the afternoon and the whole fashionable world flocked to hear Him. Scientists too, and even politicians came!

In front of the mantel, a platform had been placed for the Master and every day it was banked with fresh roses, American Beauties. [But what color? AP]

"Into this room of conventional elegance, packed with conventional people, imagine the Master striding with His free step: walking first to one of the many windows and, while He looked out into the light, talking with His matchless ease to the people. Turning from the window, striding back and forth with a step so vibrant it shook you. Piercing our souls with those strange eyes, uplifting them, glory streaming upon them. Talking, talking, moving to and fro incessantly. Pushing back His turban, revealing that Christ-like forehead; pushing it forward again almost down to His eyebrows, which gave Him a peculiar majesty. Charging, filling the room with magnetic currents, with a mysterious energy. Once He burst in, a child on His shoulder. For a moment He held her, caressing her. Then He sat her down among the roses."

"On Thursday, 25 April, the Master dined at the Turkish Embassy and I was privileged to be there.

"Never have I seen such a beautiful table. Hundreds of roses lay the whole length of it, piled, melting into each other, sweeping up from the head and the foot of the table to a great mound in the centre, where the Master sat, faced by Díyá Páshá. Florence Khánum and Carey, Madame Díyá Bey (Díyá Páshá's daughter-in-law), the American wives of Oriental diplomats, were placed on either side of the Master and I sat next to Carey.

"There are times when the Master looks colossal, when His Holiness shines like the sun. That night He wore the usual white, with a honey-coloured 'abá. Díyá Páshá, opposite Him, watched Him with eyes full of tears, his keen old hawk's face strangely softened.

"The Master gave a great address on the civilizations built on the basic Teachings of the Prophets; then He spoke of this dinner as "a wonderful occasion". "The East and the West," He said, "are met in perfect love tonight." There was something so poignant in His words, so flame-creating, that for a moment I was overcome.

"Later He spoke of the deep significance of the international marriages represented there: Díyá Bey's and Carey's, 'Alí-Qulí Khán's and Florence's. Carey made me very happy by saying: "Juliet told me long ago of Your Teachings, when I was only fifteen years old." What fruit that seed had borne, sown in a child!
Díyá Páshá made a thrilling speech. Rising and turning a lover's face to the Master, he called Him 'the Light of the world, the Unique One of the age, Who had come to spread His glory and perfection amongst us.'

"'I am not worthy of this,' said the Master, very simply. Always a great power is released from the Master's divine humility.

"As I bade Díyá Páshá goodnight, looking at me through a mist of tears, he said: 'Truly, He is a Saint.'"
As you can see, I could not bear to shorten these entries. And I have had to go back and embellish the events of the last few days, through Juliet's description. And there are other accounts and other details I am not including. . . .

And there is the whole matter of Louis Gregory to discuss. Am I equal to this task?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 25, 1912 East-West Unity; Eyes bulge . . .

Washington D.C.   Dignitaries . . .  Effusive remarks about the Master . . .  Unity of East and West

Today, in 1912, according to Mahmud, "There was a special meeting for the Theosophists in the morning. The Master spoke on the distinction and superiority of human beings to the rest of creation, the various faculties of the soul, the unity of God, the need for spiritual progress and divine civilization. There were many guests and after the Master's talk some went into a private room to ask Him personal questions. Another meeting was held in the afternoon at the Master's residence. As with the other meetings, it was attended by the public. The living room on the ground floor was filled to capacity. `Abdu'l-Bahá spoke on the importance and necessity of spiritual teachings and their renewal in every age. He also discussed the principles of this great Cause. After the talk, many received permission to ask Him questions in an adjoining room. Most of them first apologized, aware that He was extremely tired, but said that just being in His presence was for them their greatest joy and that to listen to Him was a source of happiness and honor.
"Today the Master said to Mrs Parsons: 'Such a traveler and guest is the cause of much bother. You need to leave the house and run away. The usual guest in a city meets certain people at specific times but you have had to host the public from morning until evening.' 

"In the evening the Turkish Ambassador, his honor Díyá Páshá, invited the Master to a royal feast. Most of us were also invited, as were many dignitaries, all of whom were dressed in formal attire. The Master gave a short talk at the table with the utmost majesty and beauty on the subject of the influence of the words of the Manifestations of God and their all-conquering power. The Ambassador then read from a prepared statement written in praise of the Master and presented it to Him:
'The light of His honor's quality and knowledge in this new land and new world is now shining upon all peoples, showering them with His encouragement and enlightenment. He has suffered and sacrificed everything for the purpose of disseminating good qualities for humanity. He has now honored us by His presence. His Honor, `Abdu'l-Bahá, is unique in our age and is highly esteemed and treasured by all of us. With prayer to the Lord of the worlds, I wish Him a long life and good health.  Díyá Páshá'
Turkish Ambassador

"When the Ambassador completed his statement, the Master spoke: 'This night is a very blessed night, worthy of the utmost praise and joy for many reasons. First, praise be to God, we are in a country which is famous for its prosperity and freedom. Second, we are in a house which is connected to the great Ottoman Power. Third, we are the guests of His Excellency the Ambassador who shines like the sun in the world of morality. Fourth, this meeting provides a tangible demonstration of the love and unity that is possible between the East and the West.
'His Excellency the Ambassador is from the East, while his wife is an American. Similarly, His Excellency the Ambassador of Persia is from the nobility of the Orient, while his wife is also an American. This is a proof that the Orient and Occident can meet, love and unite. The greatest wish of people of thought and broad vision and sound understanding is the oneness and unity of humanity. . . .  I thank His Excellency the Ambassador who brought about this meeting of people of different nationalities in his home. Such meetings, in truth, deserve much praise and commendation.'
"At the close of the meeting the Ambassador again arose to show his respect and appreciation. He accompanied the Master to His carriage with the utmost humility and esteem.
"During these days, many dignitaries and important people visited the Master. Even President [Theodore] Roosevelt came, with humility and respect, especially to see the Master."
Some scholars are dubious about this meeting--as only Mahmud mentions it. Yes, Zia Baghdadi wrote a report for Star of the West. Yes, Shoghi Effendi mentions "Roosevelt" (no first name) among the people who met the Master.  These are based on Mahmud's report.  But, Roosevelt's records indicate he wasn't in DC on that day. Maybe Mahmud's date is just off. If only Agnes had noted it!  But she was so used to being in the company of people such as Roosevelt.
Roosevelt!  He chose Portsmouth, NH, across the river from Green Acre, as the place where the 1905 peace treaty between Japan and Russia took place and later would receive a Nobel peace prize for his role in the treaty. To think of him coming to meet `Abdu'l-Bahá! I choose to believe they did meet. 
Duane Troxel sent me the book by Elbert Hubbard, "Hollyhocks and Golden Glow," which has a chapter on the Master. Published in 1912, it is effusive (and sometimes inaccurate).  I'll quote a bit from it: 
Elbert Hubbard
"This man is the modern Messiah. He comes to the Western world on a distinct mission, and no one who meets him can doubt his sincerity. The message he brings is the unification of the East and West in the bonds of brotherly love, mutual aid, reciprocity and an understanding which means peace on earth and good-will toward men. It presages a worldwide upspringing of vital religion. . . . 
"America has never produced a religious leader with the zeal and health and insight  and patience and intellectual reach of this man Abdul Baha-save with one exception, and that was a woman. [One wonders whom he refers to here.  Perhaps Mary Baker Eddy? AP]. . . . The man is regal in his way of living and in his mental attitude. He travels with a retinue of servants, secretaries and followers, all caftan-robed. Evidently, he is well supplied with money. He has everything he needs and wants. Wherever he goes he rides in automobiles and stops at the best hotels. He is in touch with big people, and meets all classes and kinds of people on an equality. Let him visit any bank, factory, office-building, church, and everything is laid aside and eyes bulge and ears listen until he takes his departure.  [Don't you love this reference to eyes bulging? AP] When he went to Washington and swept through the Capitol, even the Supreme Court of the United States saw fit to adjourn; the House the same; and the Senate--for a while, at least--forgot matters of investigation. [Fallacies: This is where Allan Ward got his information, which he then published erroneously in 239 Days—AP]

". . . He has the ambition, the faith, and the heart of youth. He looks at things with the innocence of a man who sees them absolutely for the first time. He is reverential, respectful, filled with a great and holy zeal. And this zeal takes the form of a message of unification to the world. There is no doubt, among thinking people, that this man represents, in great degree, the growing and evolving spirit of our times. Aside from his religious zeal, the fact still re-mains that the nations are getting together in a way that they never have before in history . . . The divine fire of this man's spirituality is bound to illuminate the dark corners of our imaginations and open up to us a spiritual realm which we would do well to go in and possess.
So here is health and happiness and long life to Abdul Baha, the servant of God ! We can not but echo back to him the love, the good-will and the high and holy faith which he brings to us."

I know I have other threads to pick up, but will have to save them for another day.  Louis Gregory is close upon the horizon. . . . And I can't bear to think that I'm ignoring possible accounts of or about Agnes, Juliet, Alice, Ali KK, and others. . . . This journey is immense and eye-opening [bulging?]. My eyes would be bulging more right now if I didn't need to sleep. . . .

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 24, 1912 A string of pearls and rubies

Still in Washington, D.C., Mahmud notes: "In the morning `Abdu'l-Bahá went to a Bahá'í children's conference. As He entered the hall, the children sang songs in praise of `Abdu'l-Bahá in unison, accompanied by the piano. When the Master saw the children, He said, `Praise be to God. These children, like flowers, are in a state of utmost purity, freshness and delicacy!' After He spoke and recited prayers for the children, the Master kissed and embraced each child and gave them some sweets. The immensity of His love and affection for the children was clearly obvious.

"A second meeting was held that evening at the home of Mr and Mrs Andrew J. Dyer, a mixed race couple. Those present were in such unity and love that the Master remarked:
'Before I arrived, I felt too tired to speak at this meeting but at the sight of such genuine love and attraction between the white and the black friends, I was so moved that I spoke with great love and likened this union of different colored races to a string of gleaming pearls and rubies.'
"After He spoke and showered His love on each one, He left in His carriage for a third meeting.`Abdu'l-Bahá was so filled with joy and happiness and His voice resonated so loudly that even the people walking along the street could hear Him:
'O Bahá'u'lláh! What hast Thou done? O Bahá'u'lláh! May my life be sacrificed for Thee! O Bahá'u'lláh! May my soul be offered up for Thy sake! How full were Thy days with trials and tribulations! How severe the ordeals Thou didst endure! How solid the foundation Thou hast finally laid, and how glorious the banner Thou didst hoist!'
Alexander Graham Bell
"`Abdu'l-Bahá continued in this manner until the carriage reached the home of Mr [Alexander Graham] Bell. This great individual is the inventor of the telephone and the head of a scientific society. The day before, this venerable and inventive old gentleman had visited the Master and invited Him to attend the meeting of the scientific society. When the Master entered, all rose and each in turn shook His hand. Those who had met the Master previously introduced Him to the others with the greatest respect and honor. After the Master was seated, discussion of scientific issues continued. Each spoke of his experiences and discussed his discoveries. After several people had spoken, Mr Bell asked Ali Kuli Khan, the Persian ambassador, to relate the history of the Faith. Then Mr Bell thanked the Master for coming to his home and asked Him to address the guests.
"The Master began His talk by praising their good manners and praiseworthy qualities. He then spoke of the importance and the results of science, the greatness of this age and the interdependence of society, and paid a glorious tribute to the new Dispensation. Mr Bell was extremely delighted and rose to thank the Master for His talk. The hearts of those present were so moved that when the next member arose to give his talk, he could only say, `The talk of the Master from the East was so wonderful that I find myself inadequate to say anything' and sat down. A few others spoke briefly and the meeting ended.
"Mr Bell invited the Master and his guests to go into the dining hall. It was midnight, and as it is customary for people in the West to eat late at night before going to bed, the table was spread with bread, meat, candies, cookies, fruit and beverages. Although the Master had not yet had dinner, He spoke through Mr Bell to his wife and daughter. Mrs Bell is deaf and mute and communicates through sign language. Sign language is similar to writing, with lines, points and stops, just as in telegraph technology, and is now so well developed that people can speak easily with the deaf.
"As is well known, Mr Bell's main purpose was to invent an instrument that would enable the deaf to communicate. Out of his deep love for his wife, he devoted himself to this day and night and in the end invented the telephone. But this did not fulfill his intended purpose. The Master said:
'Yes, most of the great inventions were made in a similar way. For instance, the search for alchemy has brought into being thousands of useful medicines and the desire of finding a direct route to India from Europe became the cause of the discovery of America.'" 

That is how Mahmud ends his diary for that day.  He must be tired. What a day!  It reminds me of the day coming up in Montreal, when the Master took the cable car up the mountain and uttered such joyful phrases about what Baha'u'llah had done!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Commemorative Medallions 1912

Metal Commemorative medallions

#1 (The Greatest Name and date 1912 flanking the Master's image)

I wonder how many of these medallions were made and how many people have them today? 

This medallion was created by Theodore Spicer-Simson, an English sculptor living in Washington, D.C. in 1912. He met Abdu'l-Baha at the home of Alexander Graham Bell and was commissioned by Agnes Parsons to made the medallion.  (sitting: May 24, 1912)
#2 Medallion made by Louis Potter 

Roger Dahl of the U.S. National Baha'i Archives writes: "It came in a nice little case. The Circle of the Friends of the Medallion was formed by Robert Hewitt Jr. and Charles deKay, with the plan to produce two medallions a year. It was fairly short lived, producing 12 medals between 1909 and 1915. The `Abdu’l-Bahá medallion was designed by sculptor Louis Potter so I have the medallion in our Works of Art Collection. Apparently the Circle was the model for the more successful Society of Medalists."
On the Medal Collectors of America website <http://www.medalcollectors.org/Guides/CoF/CoF.html> I found another image of the medallion!  I can't quite make out the words at the bottom under the word "Abdu'l-Baha." There is another image next to it, presumably the back side, with the words "Peace, Love, Unity." The only information is that it was number 7 of the 12, manufactured in November 1912 at Joseph K. Davison & Son, Philadelphia, subject: Abdu'l-Baha, Persian Reformer, size 76 x 51 mm.  Louis Potter was the designer, and he did not design any of the other medallions. 
The website also mentions: "The Medals were issued in diecut pages bound in tan cloth books making the set a bookshelf collection. From published membership lists it can be surmised that no more than 500 of any of medals were issued. Allan Newman’s number twelve is the scarcest. Victor Brenner’s number four, Motherhood, is the most popular. Paul Manship’s number eleven is the most expensive (sought after by art galleries). Members of the Bahai religion seek issue number seven, of Abdul Baha, since their religion did not sanction portraits."  [An interesting misconception re. the image of the Master.]

So, now a question: who commissioned this work? Surely someone knows something more about the history of the medallion!  Perhaps someone will be inspired to create one in 2012!  

When I was trying to figure out the origin of the medallions, Rob Stockman responded: "I am under the impression that Elbert Hubbard and the Roycrofters might be involved. He was a major figure in the arts and crafts movement and wrote an article about `Abdu'l-Bahá that was effusive of praise for Him, but also inaccurate. Hubbard, for example, says `Abdu'l-Bahá visited the White House and spoke before Congress. It turns out Ali Kuli Khan was working on both of those things, but they didn’t happen. You can google him and the Roycrofters to find out more about them, though I don’t think a Bahá'í connection will come out that way. The Roycrofters produced a beautiful book about `Abdu'l-Bahá."

 So--I am still on a quest to discover all that there is to know about the various medallions produced in or around 1912 of `Abdu'l-Bahá.  Lucky are the ones who own one of these treasures! 

April 23, 1912 Excitement and exuberance

Washington D.C.:  Unity of East and West / Race Unity/ Education of Women—important threads!

Film Shoot, Howard University

On April 23, Mahmud notes: Today the Master went to Howard University, an educational institution for blacks. The hosts (mostly black with a few whites) had made special arrangements so that when the Master arrived He was welcomed by music from a band while the audience applauded with excitement and exuberance. It is difficult to describe the scene adequately. The president of the university was very cordial and introduced `Abdu'l-Bahá as the Prophet of Peace and the harbinger of unity and salvation. Then the Master rose from His seat and spoke on the subject of the harmony between blacks and whites and the unity of humankind.  The audience repeatedly applauded Him during the talk, delighted at His words. At the conclusion, the president of the university thanked `Abdu'l-Bahá on behalf of all those gathered. As He left the auditorium, group after group formed two lines, one on each side, all showing their highest respect by bowing and waving their hats and handkerchiefs in farewell to the beloved Master.

“`Abdu'l-Bahá had lunch at the home of Ali Kuli Khan. Several believers were present, including ourselves. There was a public meeting in the afternoon at the same house. The majority attending the meeting were ladies from high society. At this meeting the Master spoke about the education and improvement of women and the promotion of unity and peace in the world of humanity. After the meeting several new people arrived and sat for a brief time in the Master's presence. They so enjoyed His company they did not want to leave.

In the evening, close to bedtime, when the Master was alone and extremely tired from the day's activities, He prayed, praising and thanking the Blessed Beauty. On one occasion He said: ‘We must offer thanks to the Blessed Beauty because it is His help that has stirred the people; it is His grace that has changed the hearts. The assistance of the Abhá Kingdom has transformed a drop into a mighty ocean. The aid of the Most High has turned a gnat into an eagle, has invested an ant with the power of a Solomon and has caused the debased one to become a source of eternal honor.'

"A third meeting was held this evening in a black church. All those present paid Him the highest respect and were delighted to hear about the new teachings. The Master's talk, they felt, gave them honor and would cause them to progress. As is customary at churches, there was a collection and the Master made a contribution."

Think of the "contributions" the Master made that day to the lives He touched. Oh—to be there!

Of course the events at Howard University and the black church are astonishing victories--arranged by Louis Gregory, no doubt. There will be much more to come about Louis Gregory. . . .
Ali Kuli Khan
The Master with Ali Kuli Khan  and Florence Breed Khan
I want to write today about Ali Kuli Khan. I confess I’ve had a crush on him for years and find the romance and marriage between him and Florence Breed of great interest (the first Persian-American marriage in the Bahá'í community).  I’ve always been spellbound by the writing and talks of Marzieh Gail (their daughter) and once introduced her at Green Acre.  Sally Eiler [now Cordova] helped me to craft the introduction, and Marzieh commented on its beauty. In 2005, when I was steeped in research about the Japanese-Russo War and the Peace Treaty of 1905, I was fascinated by the fact that Ali Kuli Khan was at Green Acre on the day the Japanese delegates visited, invited by Sarah Farmer, a known peace activist. Khan wrote to Florence that it was the most important day in Green Acre history—and there have been so many important days!  He was 26 in 1905 and so handsome!

What amazes me about him is a story from Amy Renshaw’s Voyage of Love: `Abdu'l-Bahá in North America.  Here’s a paraphrased and condensed version: Khan had grown up in Tehran; he was bright and studious and a talented poet. For a short time he found work as an interpreter, but when that job ended, he couldn’t find another. He became friends with one of Iran’s princes and would party—play music, dance, sing, recite poems, tell stories, drink alcohol and smoke hashish, even though they were Muslim.  His brother became a Bahá'í  and taught some of his friends, who stopped attending Khan’s parties. Khan decided to attend Bahá'í  meetings to find fault with them and persuade his friends to abandon it. He eventually began to change his mind and experienced a “resurrection from the dead.”  Immediately, he wanted to work for `Abdu'l-Bahá as a translator but didn’t have the money to make the journey to Akka. So, he dressed as a dervish, a poor wanderer who traveled on foot. He went with two friends; they walked through valleys and mountains, sleeping outside. They planned to go through India but found Persians were no longer allowed to enter India, so they headed back to Tehran. He attended many Bahá'í  meetings and told stories of his days as a dervish.  One night, during a blizzard, he impulsively convinced his friends to leave again for Akka. With ten men, he headed out without luggage or supplies.  They reached Rasht and asked for passports to Russia but were denied, as Khan’s relatives had sent a telegram saying the young men should be sent home.  But Khan convinced the Governor (who was secretly a Bahá'í ) that he would be useful to `Abdu'l-Bahá in Akka as a translator. The governor relented; Khan proceeded alone. 

He sailed across the Caspian Sea to Baku, with only about a dollar and the clothes he was wearing. There followed a few weeks of almost unbelievable hardship, but finally he arrived in Haifa, where he knelt and kissed the ground.  It was 1899, four years after he became a Bahá'í.  When he went to the house to meet `Abdu'l-Bahá, his heart “pumping wildly,” he fell to the floor upon entering.  A few minutes later `Abdu'l-Bahá  sent for him, welcomed him, and noted he had suffered much and that He needed him. “You with your knowledge of English, are one of those souls promised me by Baha’u’llah.” Then He handed Khan some letters; Khan saw they were in Arabic and panicked, as he had not studied Arabic.  `Abdu'l-Bahá  smiled and put some candy into his hand, saying, “Go, and eat this candy. Rest assured, the Blessed Perfection will enable you to translate the Arabic into English. Rest assured that as time goes on you will be assisted to translate from the Arabic much more easily than from the Persian.”

Khan was filled with an “indescribable new power.” For more than a year he was with `Abdu'l-Bahá  every day, translating letters using reed pens from Japan.  Then `Abdu'l-Bahá  asked him to go to the United States to translate for Mirza Abu’l-Fadl. Khan was so distressed at the thought of leaving `Abdu'l-Bahá that he wept and beat his head against the wall.  The Master said that he would be doing a great service in America, adding,  “I will be with you at all times. You must go forth now and give to others the bounties that have been given you here.”

He left in 1901, stopping in Paris and London before reaching the United States.  In Boston he visited the Breed family and taught the daughter, Florence, about the Faith. A year later they were married.  `Abdu'l-Bahá  was very pleased and said, “This is an evidence that the East and West can be united and harmonized.” (Story from Journey of Love 49–55) I imagine he spent much time at Green Acre when Mirza Abu’l-Fadl was there (1901–1904). 

This is the story of the eloquent, cultured Chargé d’Affaires of the Persian Legation serving in Washington D.C.  in 1912 when `Abdu'l-Bahá  came to visit. Can you imagine his profound excitement to help host the Master there?  Of course he was in NY when the ship arrived on April 11. What a different journey (from D.C. to NY) that must have been from the one he made from Teheran to Akka as a young, impoverished man!  And what a reunion he must have had with the Master! 

According to Robert Stockman, Khan was “able to host important receptions for `Abdu'l-Bahá in the Persian Legation (the equivalent of an embassy) and invite many prominent diplomats to meet Him. Khan was also able to obtain an invitation for `Abdu'l-Bahá to visit the White House, but President Taft’s plans changed and the visit never occurred. He also helped arrange for `Abdu'l-Bahá to be invited to speak to the United States Congress, but the invitation arrived too late to be carried out. (From the forthcoming book `Abdu'l-Bahá in America by Robert Stockman)

Along with the East-West connection, race unity was emphasized in Washington D.C. Stockman also notes that  “The talks were more varied in subject that those in New York, but race unity was an important theme because of the many talks to predominantly African-American audiences. Newspaper articles about His visit totaled at least twenty-one. Because local Bahá'ís had some excellent contacts with government officials and the socially prominent, `Abdu'l-Bahá met senators, Congressmen, a Supreme Court justice, an Italian duke, the Turkish ambassador, the Treasurer of the United States, the inventor Alexander Graham Bell, labor leader Samuel Gompers, and Admiral Robert Peary (who had led an expedition to reach the North Pole).[He also sat briefly for a portrait by the well known portrait artist, F. Carl Smith.” (From the forthcoming book `Abdu'l-Bahá in America by Robert Stockman)