After He gave a talk at a small New England Unitarian Church in Dublin, New Hampshire, toward the end of His visit there in August 1912, `Abdu'l-Bahá, the eldest Son and chosen successor of Bahá'u'lláh (prophet-founder of the Bahá'í Faith), styled the Master, and entitled the Center of the Covenant, said:
The call of God has been raised here, and the work is finished.1
The "work" to which `Abdu'l-Bahá referred took place over the course of twenty-three days, the duration of His stay in Dublin. It involved careful, detailed preparation by `Abdu'l-Bahá of the hearts and minds of a number of different groups staying there, all of whom were present in the church that day. Each group – prominent summer residents and their servants, local inhabitants, and the American and Persian Bahá'ís who came with `Abdu'l-Bahá, had its own perspective and needs. The Master communicated to each group the message, tailored to their needs and capacities, that would enable them to assist with His goals of establishing the Cause of the Bahá'í Faith in America. In miniature, it is a perfect example of the Master's methodology of promoting the Faith.
I. Dublin, NH, and `Abdu'l-Bahá
From 25 July to 16 August 1912, the rural New Hampshire town of Dublin was host to `Abdu'l-Bahá `Abbas. `Abdu'l-Bahá was in the United States and Canada from April to December 1912 to visit the Bahá'ís and spread the Bahá'í Teachings in North America. The twenty-three days He spent in Dublin was longer than He spent anywhere in America except New York City.
Dublin in 1912 was the site of many summer homes for wealthy and famous people, especially from New York and Washington, D.C. Mark Twain had summered there in 1906. Abbott Thayer and George DeForest Brush, important artists, had homes there. At the same time, there were a number of old established wealthy families living in Dublin – these included the McVeaghs, the family of the US Secretary of the Treasury, as well as of the later US ambassador to Japan; the Cabots, local branch of one of the oldest and most wealthy families in New England, among which was a Harvard University president and a number of US cabinet secretaries and ambassadors; and the Pumpellys, a well-traveled wealthy local family. Another group of people in Dublin was local shopkeepers and townspeople, those who served the needs of the community and the elite in various ways, but had their own very distinctive society – in many ways, typical New Hampshiremen. Finally, there were the servants of the wealthy – mostly black, who were completely separated socially from any of the other groups.
When Mrs. Agnes Parsons, a wealthy Washington socialite and early American Bahá'í, first invited `Abdu'l-Bahá to Dublin, she did so in order that He "could have a rest after all this work in America."2 The slower pace, invigorating air and rural beauty of Dublin, it was felt, would do Him good. Yet when George Latimer, a Portland, Oregon, Bahá'í who visited `Abdu'l-Bahá in Dublin, mentioned this, He said:
Our aim is not to rest, but to become assisted to serve the cause no matter where we are. Our purpose is to become enabled to render a service at the holy threshold. If this is realized, it will be very good. Otherwise, life itself is meaningless. We have not come here (in America) to rest or to inhale the pure air or to walk in the delightful country places; but We have come here to serve you.3
Certainly `Abdu'l-Bahá did not by any means stop His work during this time, but held many meetings at Mrs. Parsons' residence and elsewhere, visited groups and individuals, and continued His voluminous correspondence.
II. Public Meetings, Prominent Personalities
The most well-documented aspect of `Abdu'l-Bahá's visit is, unsurprisingly, public meetings and visits with the rich and famous. His talks, many published, dealt with the "economic question" of socio-economic organization, symbolism in Christianity and the Bible, divine and material education, the equality of men and women – many of the basic social teachings of the Bahá'í Faith.
Yet of course it is not through social teachings alone that a person is inspired to devote his life to the Bahá'í Cause – the heart must be touched. There are a number of instances at this time of how `Abdu'l-Bahá touched the hearts of the wealthy and famous during His visit to Dublin.
Howard Colby Ives, a Christian minister who later became a Bahá'í described a luncheon party with `Abdu'l-Bahá. Attending were "a famous scientist, two well-known artists, a physician of note, and all of the fifteen or twenty people present had a background of more than one generation of wealth or culture."4 This was not a religious group, but a gathering of thinkers and doers with inherited means.
Instead of speaking on religious topics, `Abdu'l-Bahá started by telling "Oriental tales", stories and fantasies, which left the group very much at ease, jovial and friendly. Mr. Ives points out that the only reference to religion or to the Bahá'í Faith that `Abdu'l-Bahá made was to recall that the Bahá'ís in prison in `Akka (in what was then Palestine) used to tell funny stories in the midst of their deprivation, saying "Happiness... is never dependent upon material surroundings, otherwise how sad those years would have been."5
Mr. Ives wonders how it was possible that `Abdu'l-Bahá, never formally educated in a school, and brought up mostly in prison, could have consorted so easily with these wealthy and prominent men. It seems that Mr. Ives confused `Abdu'l-Bahá's simplicity of style and life in exile with a background of unsophistication. `Abdu'l-Bahá, although His life was filled with prison and deprivation, grew up as the eldest son of a wealthy and powerful family in Persian government life. When the material trappings of this life were taken away, He was educated, even in prison, to be His Father's support and emissary to the outside world, including the rich and powerful of Ottoman Asia. By 1912, `Abdu'l-Bahá was established as a prominent "philosopher" and leader of the "Bahá'í Movement". What is remarkable, therefore, is not `Abdu'l-Bahá's ability to put men of culture at ease, but His ability to touch their hearts personally, each in a rather different way, as can be seen in the following examples.
Joseph Linden Smith, one of the Dublin luminaries, at that time had an informal theater, the Teatro Bambino, which performed at his Dublin Lake house at Loon Point. These plays were often boisterous and risque. Mrs. Parsons writes, "Joe's play was an extravaganza.... It was thought He did not like the play, but He was very courteous in all He said about it. He told Joe he was a genius."6
A small incident at that play played a significant part in the subsequent history of the Bahá'í Faith in the surrounding Monadnock region of New Hampshire. George DeForest Brush, the artist, and his daughters attended the play. As related by Nancy (Brush) Bowditch's daughter (George's granddaughter) Polly Marlowe, the story goes:
As part of the play, some Lords and Ladies (some, I believe, really held these titles!) sat at the tables in front of the house, having tea. My mother, acting as the maid, appeared in an upstairs window and proceeded to shake a dusty mop out of the window – also to throw some trash – all of which came down on the tea-drinkers below. While she was at the window, playing her part with gusto, she looked across the audience to the green lawn behind them. There she saw, coming across the lawn, a man robed in a long, light-colored coat, with white hair and beard, and a white turban. His feet were not visible because of the long coat, and He appeared to be floating across the lawn. She felt as if He had walked out of the pages of the Bible! As He neared the audience, He turned and sat down under a tree until the play was ended. After this, He walked to a place near the Smiths' home and people began to form a line to shake hands with Him. Mother got in line behind her sister Mary. When He shook Mary's hand, He noted that she was a fine horseback rider and said that He would give her a fine horse to ride if she would come to His country. When mother's turn came, he shook hands and said very little, but turned and spoke in Persian to a man behind Him. Shortly, another man, a tall American with reddish hair and mustache came forward and walked with mother into the garden. This man was Harlan Ober [a Boston Bahá'í]. He told mother something about the visitor, `Abdu'l-Bahá, and about His Father, Bahá'u'llah. He also spoke of some of the principles of the Faith. When mother heard these principles she said she believed in them. Then Harlan exclaimed, "Then you must be one of us!" This rather frightened mother and she did not ask any more, but she never forgot that afternoon.7
Nancy subsequently left Dublin and did not return to the area for many years. She later became a Bahá'í and returned to form the nucleus of the long-standing Bahá'í community of nearby Peterborough, N.H.
In her memoirs, Nancy Bowditch wrote that `Abdu'l-Bahá at this time asked Mrs. Parsons to give the Bahá'í message to George DeForest Brush – saying that he would laugh at her, delivering as she did this unfamiliar message in a formal tone, with a strong Southern accent. Yet Nancy Bowditch wrote: "Not long before he died my father expressed the desire to become a Bahá'í."8
Among those attracted to `Abdu'l-Bahá and the Bahá'í Faith were many interested in "Eastern Religions" generally and in Theosophy. A Mr. Harmon, an active Boston Theosophist, came up to visit `Abdu'l-Bahá in Dublin.9 Mr. Harmon had written a book about Theosophy and Buddhism, and spoke to `Abdu'l-Bahá about his theories. As Mahmud Zarqani, the Persian diarist of `Abdu'l-Bahá's travels in America, records:
The Master listened to him with love and patience while at the same time removing his superstitions with quotations from philosophers and sages in such a manner that Mr. Harmon was astonished. The Master explained the seven segments [of existence] so beautifully that he cried, `Oh! Your explanations have opened the doors of understanding before me!'10
A very different witness to these meetings was Alice Ives Breed, a Boston Bahá'í. From her pithy point of view:
We went to Mrs. Parsons', and of all the cold blooded, unresponsive unspiritual persons assembled! It was difficult for me to keep my growing irritation – such persons always irritate me – (excuse the expression), make me feel like kicking over the traces and doing something to shock them. Poor `Abdu'l-Bahá seemed so weary, and commenced in such a conventional, spiritless way, that I wanted to – do something. Finally, he told them to ask questions. Mr. Charles McVeagh, brother to Secy of Treasury asked a question which set the ball a rolling. My husband, who sat next him said his breath reeked with liquor. Whereupon `Abdu'l-Bahá sat forward on the edge of the sofa and sent thundering forth with this mighty Spirit which seems to come at His bidding, and told of how people throughout the ages have worshipped the Dawning Points instead of the Sun which rises in different places and which is the Reality. We spoke of Moses and Christ. Oh! It was perhaps the most intensely dramatic expression I have yet seen from Him. Such gradation of voice until He spoke of the Jews even crucifying Jesus, in a whispered awesome breath. He would laugh his little triumphant laugh when he made an indisputable point, and his eyebrows would suddenly project from his brow in the most astonishing and effective manner.
Then He spoke of Mahomet and the condition of the Arabs when He appeared.... Abdul-Bahá spoke of their polygamy, their cruelty, how they practiced unspeakable things, and in fact gave a very exhaustive talk on the subject, and seemed utterly spent when he finished trying to put something into those dull, unreceptive, conventional minds. To me it seemed like casting pearls before swine – pardon the expression.11 (inconsistency in capitalization of "he/him/his" and spelling in reference to `Abdu'l-Bahá, and underscoring, hers)
Regardless of Mrs. Breed's view of the spiritual attainments of Dublin luminaries, `Abdu'l-Bahá's meetings with them had far-reaching consequences. When Agnes Alexander, an American Bahá'í who traveled in Japan, later met this same Charles McVeagh, who had been appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Chrysanthemum Throne, the response was quite unexpected:
When I offered to present him with a Bahá'í booklet, to my surprise he said that he did not need it for he already knew about the Teachings and had entertained `Abdu'l-Bahá in his summer home in Dublin, New Hampshire.... He not only invited me to a tea party at his home to meet his wife, but offered to do anything he could to help me.12
In his memoirs, Raphael Pumpelly wrote of `Abdu'l-Bahá's visit:
Abdul Bahá was one of the distinguished visitors to Dublin. One day he gave a talk at our house and, after lunch, feeling tired, he was shown to my wife's room to rest.
Not long after this when on our way to Burlington we stopped at a summer resort for lunch. A lady, seeing our name on the register, introduced herself, saying, `Oh, you are from Dublin! Did you see Abdul Bahá?'
`Yes, he lunched with us the other day and he rested on my bed.'
'He lay on your bed. Oh, how wonderful!' and she came and she reverently kissed the skirt of my wife's dress.
The mantle of the martyred Bab fell on Abdul Bahá's father and descended to Abdul Bahá. The religion is very pure and seems to be spreading in Persia and Syria. It accepts as inspired all the great religions and prophets, and may be the leaven that is to modernize Islam.13
Howard Colby Ives records:
The husband of `Abdu'l-Bahá's hostess in Dublin [then the Librarian of Congress], who, while never becoming an avowed believer, had many opportunities of meeting and talking with the Master, when asked to sum up his impressions of Him, responded, after a little consideration: `I think He is the most perfect gentleman I have ever known.'
Consider. This was the verdict of a man of inherited wealth; of wide and profound culture; accustomed to judge men by delicate standards, and to whom the word `gentleman' connoted all which he held most admirable.14
These various accounts seen together record the extraordinary range of means by which `Abdu'l-Bahá was able to touch the souls of these varied personalities to the extent to which their spiritual openness made them susceptible to His influence. For the Theosophist, Mr. Harmon, `Abdu'l-Bahá elucidated abstruse mysteries. Mr. Pumpelly was most impressed by `Abdu'l-Bahá's effect on the Bahá'ís. For such men of affairs as Charles McVeagh, Joseph Lindon Smith, Raphael Pumpelly and Arthur Jeffrey Parsons, the Faith of `Abdu'l-Bahá did not inspire their allegiance, but it did gain their respect in such ways that they were able to open doors for Bahá'ís in other places, doors that would have remained closed but for their cooperation. On the other hand, a direct spiritual proclamation of the Bahá'í Faith was given by Mrs. Parsons to George DeForest Brush, on the Master's instructions. Finally, in the case of Nancy (Brush) Bowditch, Abdu'l-Bahá's teaching came in the form it did because of His perception that she needed to hear the message directly, in English, from an American believer. Apparently it worked – of them all, only she and Daisy Pumpelly Smythe later became declared Bahá'ís after hearing of the Faith in Dublin.
III. Local People, Local Scenes
The good people of the Monadnock region were a bit nonplused by the arrival of `Abdu'l-Bahá, His coterie of Persian followers and Bahá'ís from around the country. Nevertheless, as they were used to "goings-on" of various sorts, artistic, foreign and otherwise, in Dublin, people took the visit in their stride. After all, Swami Vivekananda had also visited Dublin on his American tour a few years previously. The Keene Sentinel
Dublin: Abdul Bahá, a Persian, who is the expounder of Bahá Philosophy first promulgated by his father, Bahá Ullah, is to speak at the Unitarian Church at Dublin Sunday. Abdul Bahá has been spending two or three weeks in Dublin with friends. He is an eminent philosopher and for forty years was held in prison by the Mohammedans, but was released when the Young Turks gained control of affairs.15
One amusing incident was recorded in the pages of the Peterborough Transcript
The venerable Persian, Abdul Bahá, bears so much resemblance to Santa Claus that two little tots begged to take out their go-cart and get it filled with presents from him. They had espied the supposed Santa Claus sitting on the piazza of the Wilcox [sic.] Inn and felt that the opportunity was too good not to be improved.16
Howard McNutt also tells a story about `Abdu'l-Bahá and boys at the train station in Harrisville, where He and a party were waiting for Joseph and Pauline Hannen (Bahá'í visitors from Washington, DC):
While they were waiting for the train to arrive, Abdul Bahá left the party and strode over near a ragged boy. Then suddenly He turned to the boy and with his musical voice said in English, `How are you?' The boy unabashed by the suddenness of the remark, quickly replied in a characteristic manner, `alright' at which the master laughed heartily and pulled some silver coins from his pocket and gave the boy a quarter. Immediately several boys appeared as if by magic and each was rewarded with a silver piece.17 (inconsistency of capitalization of "his/master" is McNutt's)
There are a number of stories of `Abdu'l-Bahá's stay in Dublin regarding His open spirit in money matters. While He was staying at Mrs. Parsons' house ("Dayspring"18
, the smaller of the two houses – the larger was called "Tynymaes"19
), she writes that He "insisted" that all bills relating to His stay be sent to Him.20
`Abdu'l-Bahá moved from Dayspring to the "lower Inn" soon after He came to Dublin, on August 2. According to Alice Ives Breed, "Every night up there [at Dayspring] he gets feverish. The altitude is too high and stimulating there and he cannot sleep."21 This Inn was certainly what was known at the time as the Dublin Inn, which for many years was known as "French's Tavern" in the "lower village" of Dublin.22 It was where He spent most of the rest of His stay. He also spent at least two nights at the Willcox Inn in the upper village.23
Nancy Bowditch used to tell a story of `Abdu'l-Bahá giving a $100 bill, a very large sum of cash at the time, to Hiram Carey, who ran the livery stable in Dublin.24 Mr. Carey had rented a number of horse-and-buggy teams to `Abdu'l-Bahá and His followers during their stay.
Howard Colby Ives tells a story related to him by one of the Bahá'ís staying with `Abdu'l-Bahá at the Dublin Inn. "An old man, wretchedly clothed, passed the Inn as she [the Bahá'í] watched. `Abdu'l-Bahá sent His secretary to call him back. `Abdu'l-Bahá beckoned to him, and reaching beneath His voluminous robe, actually gave His pants to the man!"25 Mr. Ives takes this story as a model of generosity to the destitute. However, a local citizen, Mr. Hildreth Allison, in an interview with the author, recognized the supposed itinerant as the local road agent, Mr. John A. Upton.26 It seems beggars did not exist in the Dublin of 1912 (nor today), but eccentrics did (and do). The lesson in this, then, might simply be to maintain some dignity in one's attire. I wonder what Mr. Upton thought upon being presented with clean pants by a turban-clad foreigner!
On the other hand, `Abdu'l-Bahá also showed a reluctance to waste. Mrs. Parsons relates that `Abdu'l-Bahá told her, on looking over her provision of food, that "that there was too much, that there would be waste as they could not eat it all."27
`Abdu'l-Bahá visited various houses and sites in Dublin and the surrounding towns. Polly Marlowe (Nancy Bowditch's daughter) tells a story of her Aunt Thea, then eight years old, meeting Him, a secretary and interpreter at the crossroads of East Harrisville Road and Cobb Meadow Road as they walked from the Inn, and escorting them to the Brush farm.28 Another Bahá'í from the area told a story of `Abdu'l-Bahá: "He went to the Dublin cemetery, walked through the gate, looked over Dublin Lake and `said something'"29 The places where He walked have acquired a patina of mythology, and pilgrims now visit them.
`Abdu'l-Bahá also visited the summer residence of Elsa Tudor Leland DePierrefeu on Willard Pond in Hancock.30 Madame De Pierrefeu was rather a free-thinker and Theosophist. In later years she told stories of that tea:
This area (and I think he meant the Monadnock region) was under a special protection... I think he said it was a `sacred region'.
Disasters are going to happen – had the impression of natural disasters – floods come to mind – a lot of different things were going to be happening, like wars and floods and famine and pestilence.
`Abdu'l-Bahá visited the nearby boys camp, Marienfeld, during this period.31
Established in Milford, Pennsylvania, in 1896, by Dr. Charles Hanford Henderson, director of the Pratt Institute High School in Brooklyn32
, and moved to Chesham, New Hampshire in 1899, this was one of the first boys summer schools in the United States.33
As Mrs. Parsons describes the visit:
Going there Abdul Bahá, Mirza [Ahmad] Sohrab and I were with Miss Lionberger and returning Abdul Bahá was with Mrs. [John] Gray, Mrs. [Bettina] Ford and Mirza Valle Ollah Khan. After greeting us with many of the boys, Dr. H[enderson] took us to a big fire, then to an upper room where Abdul Bahá made an address. Abdul Bahá was interested in everything, was shown the view from an observation platform, then the boys' sleeping places. Afterwards we had tea and just before leaving a drill was done by the boys. I forgot to say that a photograph was taken of Abdul Bahá with the boys and many snapshots by the boys.34
From these stories can be gathered a picture of how `Abdu'l-Bahá looked in the eyes of the New Hampshiremen and women. He was old but strong and spirited. He was generous, but not a spendthrift. He was an exotic foreigner, but a sympathetic one, not a threat to anyone. He liked His independence, and so took care of His own expenses, had His own place to stay, was in charge of His own movements.
In the accounts of `Abdu'l-Bahá's visits to homes, institutions and other sites in the region around Mount Monadnock, it is also possible to start to see the movement of His visit into the collective folk memory of people in the region. What power is in this region to protect it from disaster? The story of Madame DePierrefeu echoes a history of old Indian tales about the sacred mountain, and also feeds into modern astrologers' reinterpretations of those tales in terms of "lines of force", a transposition already being made in the mind of Madame DePierrefeu's granddaughter. There has been sufficient interest from Bahá'ís visiting the area to continually refresh the memories of the descendents of those who met `Abdu'l-Bahá. If this continues, and perhaps strengthens, the stories may with time take on the aura of folk tales of the visit of a sage.
The activities of Bahá'ís to commemorate `Abdu'l-Bahá's visit and this very paper itself are part of this process of mythologization. Although Dayspring and Tynymaes, Mrs. Parsons' houses, are gone, the lower Inn and the church, the cemetery (Agnes Parsons is buried there) and other sites are objects of pilgrimage by local and visiting Bahá'ís.
Part of the result of these activities might be to encourage a focus on the person, rather than the teachings of `Abdu'l-Bahá. `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself emphasized the importance of what He taught – the social and spiritual basis of the Bahá'í Faith – rather than His physical presence or stories about His visit. As He recorded in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, written to the American believers after this journey:
...In these nine blessed states [in the Northeast] `Abdu'l-Bahá journeyed and traveled from place to place, explained the wisdom of the heavenly books and diffused the fragrances. In most of these states he founded the Divine Edifice and opened the door of teaching. In those states he sowed pure seeds and planted blessed trees.
Now the believers of God and the maid-servants of the Merciful must irrigate these fields and with the utmost power engage in the cultivation of these heavenly plantations so that the seeds may grow and develop, prosperity and blessing be realized and many rich and great harvests be gathered in.35
If present and future Bahá'í visitors keep in mind `Abdu'l-Bahá's own concept of His place in the Faith, then the stories that arise from the popular re-telling of the events of His stay, instead of being means to reinforce previously-held prejudices or superstitions, will be embellishments on and examples of His teachings.
IV. Teaching and Comforting The American Believers
The American Bahá'ís, as strongly as they believed in their Faith, and particularly in the Center of the Covenant, `Abdu'l-Bahá, needed reassurance, encouragement and instruction, all of which the Master gave them.
After a luncheon with Dublin "luminaries", as `Abdu'l-Bahá was going back to the Dublin Inn, Mrs. Parsons notes, "He said with all the simplicity of a child, `Now are you all pleased with me?'"36 Here He was able to sum up and at the same time resolve Agnes Parsons' tension between being a Bahá'í and being a hostess, of being "on show" to her friends and peers as the follower of this exotic Eastern guru, as well as having her life be subject to the gaze of a Man who, she believed, was the highest living example and judge of human behavior. That He should ask her if His behavior was acceptable showed His acute awareness of her situation and His desire to be gentle with her.
Mrs. Parsons' life was filled with her friends and her family. If the foregoing showed `Abdu'l-Bahá's sensitivity to her relations with friends, her diary also records His sensitivity to family relationships. For example, Mrs. Parsons' son Royall was mentally handicapped, and so was often hard to manage. Yet in one instance she writes,
I asked how He could be pleased when R[oyall] had behaved so badly, and He answered that such people as R. are pure, clearsighted, inspirational, even prophetic. That I must not be troubled. All are in God's hands. That there is a wisdom in this experience.37
Mrs. Parsons relates:
...we [she, `Abdu'l-Bahá and Dr. Fareed, `Abdu'l-Bahá's translator] drove along the Jaffrey Road to the farthest entrance of Mr. McVeagh's up to the beautiful Learned [?] view. I said Mashruk il Askar [implying a Bahá'í House of Worship might be built there], and He replied, Ensh Allah! [`God willing', which in Arabic/Persian implies that something is desirable but unsure, but may also imply that as long as God will allow it, it will happen]38
...He said that people in the future will come from all parts of the world to see `Day Spring' where `the Master lived'. Also He said my family, He hoped, would own all the country about here.39
Howard Colby Ives, the Christian minister always seeking inspiration and epiphany, found both with `Abdu'l-Bahá. On a Sunday in Dublin, He told Mr. Ives, "We must always be happy, for it is impossible to live in the Spiritual World and be sad."40
In a telling interview, Ives asked `Abdu'l-Bahá why he should believe in Bahá'u'lláh as the latest Messenger of God:
He looked at me long and searchingly. His smile broadened. Again He seemed to be enjoying a heavenly situation which was not without its humorous side. Then He was lovingly grave again. After a somewhat lengthy silence He said that it was not given to everyone to speak of His Holiness Christ to men. He said that I must thank God daily for this great bounty, for men have entirely forgotten the pure teachings of this `Essence of Severance'. He remarked that His Holiness Bahá'u'llah speaks of this in the Book of Certitude and that I should study it carefully...
He smiled at me with such heavenly radiance that I sat enthralled and overcome with emotion indescribable. Then He fell silent and His eyes closed. I thought He was weary as doubtless He was for His constant activity gave Him little rest. But it was plain to me later that He must have been praying for me.41
Alice Ives Breed, with her need for a well-grounded, rational faith, wrote:
Monday morning Abdul-Bahá came home walking through the woods from the stable, and we all rushed to meet him and welcome him home. Mr. Breed and I had a long talk with him, and I cleared up many matters for myself and others. What particularly delights me is that I always find him so sane and normal, and his answers satisfy me.42
In the case of Mrs. Parsons, `Abdu'l-Bahá taught her through His interactions with her friends and family. Howard Colby Ives was taught on a high spiritual plane and through prayer. On a more down-to-earth level, Alice Ives Breed was most able to receive the Bahá'í Message as a deflator of the balloons of people's pretensions, and as a very sensible approach to spiritual matters.
V. "The Colored"
The group in Dublin with `Abdu'l-Bahá for which access to independent documentation is unavailable is the African-American servants of wealthy summer residents. None permanently resided in Dublin. None are named in any of the accounts. They are referred to by the names of their jobs and the names of their employers only – e.g., "Mrs. Chant's cook". When they returned to New York, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, they left no trace this writer could discover.
Nevertheless, it is essential for understanding `Abdu'l-Bahá's visit to Dublin to realize that even though the only black people there were non-resident servants – were neither famous nor wealthy nor educated – still He met with them with exactly the same courtesy and attention He paid to their employers. This must be seen in the context of an America in which integration did not exist, and an American Bahá'í community where, for example, the Washington, D.C. community of which Mrs. Parsons was a member had only begun to integrate starting in March 1910.43
In fact, the Washington, D.C. Bahá'í community was among the first in the United States to have a significant African-American membership.44 The Hannens, who also visited Dublin, were the first to seriously teach blacks, at first teaching the servants of Bahá'ís. The first educated and articulate African-American Bahá'í was Louis Gregory, a Washington lawyer, who became a Bahá'í in 1909.
At the time of the Dublin visit, all the Bahá'ís were abuzz with the news that Louis Gregory had agreed to `Abdu'l-Bahá's request that he marry Louise Matthews, a white English Bahá'í, in Washington. In view of the state of race relations in turn-of-the-century America, the news was absolutely astounding.
A meeting of all the black servants was organized for `Abdu'l-Bahá at Mrs. Parsons' boathouse, attended by 28 people.45 Mahmud describes it as follows:
A meeting for blacks was held near Lake Dublin [actually locally referred to as "Dublin Lake"]. At this gathering the Master delivered an eloquent address regarding unity and amity between blacks and whites. He spoke of the approaching wedding of Miss [Louisa] Matthew, a white woman, and Mr. [Louis] Gregory, a colored man, which is to take place shortly in Washington, DC. The white people in the audience were astonished to see the influence of the Cause and the blacks were pleased. Incidents like these are a little less than miracles, in fact `splitting the moon in half' would be an easier accomplishment in the eyes of the Americans. This meeting was full of joy.46
Two more incidents are reported by Mrs. Parsons:
[The Chants] said that their servants were all at the Church on Sunday and that the cook particularly wanted to know if she might come near after the luncheon and listen to Abdul Bahá. After the rest which He took directly after luncheon we went on the terrace where hidden by a tree the Cook sat. A little later He asked the servants to come that He might speak to them which He did very beautifully shaking hands with all of them.47
Mr. _____ a chaufer [sic.] to one spoke of his great interest in hearing Abdul Bahá. I asked if he would not like to meet Him, and he said `Yes'; but seeing his motor at the door he thought it was impossible, but I said that I will explain that you cannot stay, and he followed me into the dining room where Abdul Bahá was sitting. When Abdul Bahá found he could not sit down, He rose, said just a few wonderful words to him of which he alone could have understood the import and taking from the fruit bowl a pear, He presented it it [sic.] him, and saying, `that, you must eat yourself.' What He said was something like this – `you must not be depressed for a great light will come to you.'48
At this point it is not possible to determine whether all these servants were black or white. The stories do, however, flesh out a bit how unusual Mrs. Parsons' attitude toward servants was in comparison to that of most wealthy American people in 1912 America. This shows the transformation that had come over her through the influence of `Abdu'l-Bahá and the Bahá'í Faith.
At the same time, this brings up another aspect of the servants which `Abdu'l-Bahá mentioned in His talk in the Dublin church – low economic status. This was addressed also in other talks, as mentioned by Howard McNutt:
Always the poor advance toward the Kingdom of God. The poor are very near to the Divine Kingdom, they are very favored before God, for their hearts are tender.49
In the talk at Mrs. Parsons [sic.], July 29, He told the rich people that when religion and spirituality become a fad, they would be religious. They want to be `it' whatever the fad is.50
...contentment in poverty is better than happiness in wealth but happiness in poverty is more praiseworthy than mere contentment. Above all is the rich man who, having sacrificed, emerges pure from tests and trials and becomes the cause of tranquillity [sic.] to mankind.51
This last passage gives insight into how `Abdu'l-Bahá viewed wealth. Wealth, just like beauty, artistic talent or intelligence, is a gift from God, but it is also a test. If used for the betterment of humankind it is a great blessing for him who possesses it as well as those whom he benefits by it; if used for selfish ends or wasted it would have been better for all if he had never had it. On one hand, `Abdu'l-Bahá was attentive to the needs of wealthy people as individuals; on the other, he did not feel reluctant to point out to them that their privileged position as a class entailed a responsibility to use their wealth to improve the position of those less well-off than they.
VI. The Persians
A devoted band of Persian followers accompanied `Abdu'l-Bahá to America – of course they were among those who were with Him in Dublin. Many of them had been with Him in prison and endured frightful circumstances for their Faith. Of course those who accompanied Him to America were important and learned men in their own right, among them the diarist Mahmud Zarqani, Dr. Ameen Fareed, His amanuensis Mirza Ahmad Sohrab and Mirza Valiallah Khan, ex-chamberlain of the deposed shah, whom `Abdu'l-Bahá hoped could establish a Persian-American trade business.
The Americans viewed the Persians with respect, some envy and a great deal of incomprehension. Alice Ives Breed wrote that part of the reason `Abdu'l-Bahá went to the Inn to sleep might have been to get away from His Persian followers:
Dr. [Edward] Getsinger told me he suspected too that he liked to get away from the Persians who simply sit and look unutterable things at him. Mr. Breed says no king could command such love and homage as he receives from his own people who know him best.52
Mahmud describes such an incident on the morning before the trip to Dublin:
When He got there, two Arab seekers fell at His feet crying, `O Thou the Prophet of God.' He lifted them with His own hand, saying, `I am `Abdu'l-Bahá [servant of the `Glory of God', the Title of His Father Bahá'u'llah].'53
This observation says more about the attitude of the observers than about `Abdu'l-Bahá's feelings. Americans, an independent-minded people, could not understand the profound reverence and complete deference the Oriental believers displayed toward `Abdu'l-Bahá. Certainly a significant aspect of this behavior derived from Middle Eastern culture, where deference is always to be shown to anyone above oneself in social station – this was ingrained since birth. Particularly in matters of religious station, Persian culture – and Islamic culture generally – encouraged a complete submission of one's self to the religious Master. This tendency was found in many early Babis and Bahá'ís as well. It is part of the reason why they gave their lives so readily for the Faith. Still, was certainly not conducive toward independent investigation of truth, nor to separating the Person of the Center of the Covenant (a title of `Abdu'l-Bahá) from the teachings He gave – these were qualities especially dear to American Bahá'ís. It should be understood that such reverence was not in every case a reflection of the heart of the person – even among those who accompanied `Abdu'l-Bahá to America were those who later opposed Him.
On their side the Persians considered the Americans rather frivolous. `Abdu'l-Bahá illustrated a discussion about the foolishness of the idea that material philosophers think to prove the non-existence of the spiritual realm by saying that therefore "the cow must be the greatest philosopher, for she does not realize anything beyond the animal world."54 On going for a ride later with some ladies, the car scattered a herd of cows:
The ladies in the car at cried out, `Oh, Master, see how the crowd of philosophers. How frightened they are running away from us.' `Abdu'l-Bahá laughed so heartily that He tired Himself. As the Americans like such jests, it became an oft-repeated remark.55
Mahmud identified such excessive frivolity with Americans.
The contrast between the danger and bleak surroundings of prison with the Persian Bahá'ís and the opulence, ease and scenic beauty `Abdu'l-Bahá saw in New Hampshire came up several times. Howard McNutt records Him as saying:
In Persia we were under the sword, and every moment there was no hope to live to the next moment, and during our long imprisonment we were in constant danger; but as we were not attached to this life, we were entirely forgetful of these outward conditions; therefore we remained firm. We did not notice the flashing swords around us; but in reality we were happy and He laughed.
At that time there were many severe tests, but there was abounding spirituality. We were walking upon the earth, but in reality we were soaring toward the supreme concourse. Ha, Ha what were those days and what are these days.56
At one point `Abdu'l-Bahá teased the Persians in His retinue, as Mahmud recounts, saying:
`Abdu'l-Bahá came into the room where we were and asked about our health, saying to us, `Come here, be seated. Mrs. Parsons has sent tea, sweets and some fruit for you. Eat and drink.' Then with a merry twinkle in His eyes He continued: `Oh! You are very badly off here! May God hear your complaint! Oh! It is so difficult to live in this manner, to dwell in such a house, to breathe such air! And to stay with such servants and respected friends is, of course, very hard for you! May God come to your help!' Then He said, `Joking aside, what a lovely table the Blessed Perfection [Bahá'u'llah] has spread for His friends! Had kings come here they could have been served, but this favor and zeal of the friends would not have appeared for any one of them.57
Here `Abdu'l-Bahá treats this bounty as a gift from God, made available on account of the spiritual perfections of the friends. He chooses to regard it solely as a selfless gift of love and fellowship, and emphasizes that while the feast itself could have been spread for others, it is the religious fellowship that they should perceive as the true bounty. At the same time, there is no doubt that He sees the temptation of such opulence for those who spent so many years in prison. He also sees how those who were strengthened by years of privation might scorn others who had never known a moment's want. He says figuratively, "Ignore these traps, and see only the hand of fellowship offered to you through the bounty of the Bahá'í Cause."
`Abdu'l-Bahá did not see the wealth itself as a trap – only the attachment to worldly things that would be shown by a covetous, an envious or even a scornful attitude.
VII. Music and the Arts
Throughout His stay in Dublin, `Abdu'l-Bahá was surrounded by music and the arts. Of course, part of this was simply because He was visiting an artistic community. But it also had to do with the Bahá'í approach to the arts that `Abdu'l-Bahá was inculcating, and the importance which He gave to the opening of people's hearts through music and art.
The Bahá'í Faith does not simply encourage one to practice the arts, nor does it promote a "new art" – it has a basically different approach to what art is and does than is found in secular society. Normally at performances or shows one is expected to appreciate the artist's mastery of technique or the profundity of the message he is attempting to convey, or is simply invited to feel emotions which the artist is trying to communicate. Bahá'í art – that is, as sacred art – has to do with direct perception of Divine Reality. It is created by a person not as an "artist" but as a spiritual being – who is able to open his or her own soul to a higher level of spiritual beauty or truth, and at the same time is able to open other souls – in resonance with his own – to a similar direct perception of that Reality.
`Abdu'l-Bahá explained it thus in one of His Dublin talks. Note how He begins with a physical explanation of the nature of music, which would be welcomed by the scientific-minded among His listeners, and then moves on to its spiritual effect:
Music is produced by the vibrations of air which affect the tympanum of the ear. Although music or an ordinary pleasing voice is of the physical realm, yet it has an effect upon the spirit. In the same manner, freshness and purity of the air, the atmosphere, the scenery, and sweet fragrances impart joy, spirituality and comfort to the heart. Even though these are physical phenomena they have a great spiritual influence.58
`Abdu'l-Bahá's stated kudos, regardless of His actual opinion, toward the play offered at the Linden Smiths' has been mentioned. There was also a concert given on `Abdu'l-Bahá's last day in Dublin, at which a Mr. Myron Whitney sang. Mrs. Parsons also mentions other arts:
Jeffery [her husband] and I danced for a few minutes before dinner, then `Abdu'l-Bahá told Dr. Getsinger to dance – but alone. He pronounced the whole performance `very good'.59
Eliza [Pumpelly Cabot – a photographer and artist] took a few photographs of Him and one with Dr. Fareed and me added.60
`Abdu'l-Bahá was attended in Dublin by such artists as George DeForest Brush and Abbott Thayer, and Daisy Pumpelly Smythe (who later became a Bahá'í and was called "the best women's portraitist in America" by Mr. Brush61
). Such people were trained to be open to outside perceptions, to be listeners, and to contemplate what they heard. `Abdu'l-Bahá encouraged them in their various arts, and turned their attention toward the spiritual power of art.
VIII. At the Unitarian Church
The major event of `Abdu'l-Bahá's stay in Dublin was His talk at the Unitarian church. An account has been recorded in the History of Dublin, written by the same minister, Rev. Josiah Seward, who invited `Abdu'l-Bahá to speak that day:
On Aug. 11, 1912, the distinguished Persian sage, Abbas Effendi, who is designated Abdul-Bahá (servant of Bahá), occupied the desk of the Unitarian Church, addressing a large audience. He is the son of Bahá'O'Llah, the founder of the philosophical and religious movement known as the Bahá system, from the former part of his name. Before the latter's death, he appointed his son, Abbas Effendi, to be Abdul-Bahá, `To be the `Center of the Covenant' of light, love and peace, which he had founded in the name of God.' It is a pure, rational system of philosophy, inculcating the practice of moral and religious precepts of the highest order. The patriarchal appearance and Oriental costume of the speaker imparted a peculiar solemnity to his utterances. Not being able to speak English, an interpreter repeated the discourse, sentence by sentence, in that language. At the conclusion of his discourse, the sage offered a prayer, interpreted like his address, phrased in the most devout and spiritual language, which deeply moved the hearts of all who listened.62
This meeting in the church was the climax and culmination of `Abdu'l-Bahá's stay in Dublin. It met His objective of unifying the disparate groups in Dublin at the time – wealthy summer people and visiting Persian and American Bahá'ís, local residents and "colored" servants, all were gathered under one roof, listening to one speech which contained a message for each of them.
`Abdu'l-Bahá started out by pointing out the civilizing influence of education. He says that education lifts man up from being like an animal, just as a wild and unproductive forest can become a fruitful garden. He goes on to say that whereas philosophers taught material education, Divine Manifestations are spiritual teachers. Bahá'u'llah renewed the spiritual teaching at a time when it had been abandoned. Then `Abdu'l-Bahá recounted six social principles expressed in the Bahá'í Faith, plus the key to making them operative within individuals:
- First, unity of all peoples and elimination of hostility based on race, nationality, politics, religion and economics. This principle obviously would appeal to the servants present and to the lower social and economic classes, and also to the liberal-minded among the wealthy and the Bahá'í visitors.
- Second, universal peace and elimination of war. At that time, on the eve of World War I, this must have seemed completely unattainable to the worldly among the audience, but it would be a reminder to all of the ultimate goal of this Faith – global peace and unity.
- Third, independent investigation of independent religious truth and avoidance of blind superstition. What an astonishing idea this would seem to men and women for whom religion had always been understood as being based on mystery. It would certainly be attractive to any who hoped for a more open-minded and fair world.
- Fourth, need for religion to be saved from superstition by the application of science and science to be tempered by the moral guidelines of religion. This would be of interest both to those who supposed that religion was too irrational, as well as to those who feared that the loosening of the ties of moral judgment to human learning could lead to chaos and destruction (a fear which was most clearly realized later, in World War II, which closed with the explosion of the atom bomb).
- Fifth, equal rights of men and women. A tenet which would attract women who did not fear leaving behind their subservient position in society, and to men who did not fear living with women as equals.
- Sixth, universal education in spiritual as well as material matters. This principle of all of them would have appealed most to the conservative nature of the local people.
- Finally, He spoke about the need for a second birth into the celestial realms – only when the Manifestation has assisted us to attain this second birth can we understand spiritual realities. This final point is the key to the attainment of all those that came before – it is only through the personal transformation of the masses of humanity through their recognition of Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation of God for this day that the full import of Bahá'í social principles can be fully realized.63
IX. Finishing the Work
The Message delivered by `Abdu'l-Bahá on that day was not delivered to strangers. He had been among these people for over two weeks. During that time He had been staying at a public Inn; He had held many public talks; He had been seen in His buggy or "motor" riding to people's home for tea and luncheons – in short, He moved among all levels of people and was accessible. He was known as being very jovial and friendly – not an ivory-tower philosopher. He was known as very loving and giving, and as having a special interest in and love for children. In other words, during that short time, `Abdu'l-Bahá had allowed the people of Dublin to know Him and reason to respect Him, and as a consequence, they were pre-disposed to listen to Him sympathetically.
Second, the message was delivered in a spiritual setting. He was introduced by Rev. Seward, who had "sung beautiful notes in praise of the Center of the Covenant."64 At the end of the talk, He chanted a Persian prayer. Through the judicious use of spiritual music, through prayer and the simple setting of a white country church, the hearts of `Abdu'l-Bahá's hearers were opened to the message He was delivering.
Most importantly, the message He gave was not fully contained by the words He spoke – it came also through the spiritual power He released from His heart and soul as the talk was given. The accounts we have do not focus on His words, but on the impression He created in delivering them.
The proclamation of the Bahá'í Message in Dublin in 1912 shows a complete example of how He worked. First, He became known as one who exemplified the social, moral and spiritual ideals of the Bahá'í Faith. People learned that He was not a religious fanatic, but was a person who put His religious principles to work in His own life. The public meetings conducted by `Abdu'l-Bahá were spiritual, introduced with prayer and appropriate music to open the listeners' hearts. He spoke not about social issues only, but focused on the Bahá'í Faith as being a comprehensive religious solution to social issues. Finally, He prepared Himself spiritually so that He could speak from the heart, in order to transform the hearts of His listeners. According to notes of a talk given by `Abdu'l-Bahá:
People become interested and then lose their interest because you do not finish with them. They have their old superstitions, and their hearts are attached to them [--] after a while they become cool again. `They must have a new birth as His Holiness Christ said.' They must become Bahá'ís. That their idea that Bahá'ís are good is not enough. People are ignorant, they must become wise. They are blind and they must have sight, they are deaf, they must find hearing, they are sick, they must be treated, the children must arrive at maturity, they are earthly, they must become heavenly. Then they will become Bahá'ís.65
Howard Colby Ives writes:
What His subject was I do not recall, nor does a single word of His address remain with me. My memory is all of the quiet New England church; the crowded pews, and `Abdu'l-Bahá on the platform. His cream-colored robe; His white hair and beard; His radiant smile and courteous demeanor. And His gestures! Never a dogmatic stroke of the hand; never an upraised warning; never the assumption of the teacher to the taught. But always the encouraging upward swing of the hands, as though He would actually lift us up with them. And His voice! Like a resonant bell of the finest timbre; never loud but of such penetrating quality that the walls of the room seem to vibrate with its music...
I recall that as I left the church and joined some of the New York friends who were among the audience, I said to one of them:
'At last I know. Never again will I doubt or question.'66
Hildreth Allison, seventy-five years after the talk was delivered (he was 16 at the time), remembered only the idea in this talk that the world is a garden.67
Certainly the image is a powerful one to have stayed so long in the mind of the teen-age son of the Dublin storekeeper.
In order to complete His work in Dublin, `Abdu'l-Bahá had to draw on a spiritual energy sufficient to hold the complete attention of every group, every person in the church, and to raise their souls to a higher spiritual level. Only thus could the final element be put in place, of ineradicably impressing in their minds an image of themselves and all the others with them hearing the message of the potential for human unity being conveyed by the Master. Mrs. Parsons recorded of that day:
He spoke for 50 minutes, most unusual. Yet the people were motionless, so great was the power of His words. I have never seen Him look as He did nor have I ever been so impressed except for that brief moment at Haifa. I spoke to Dr. [Ameen] Fareed about it. I asked if he had ever seen A.B. as He appeared today. He said, `Once before in Chicago when He was speaking in a church.' I asked what it was, and he replied, `it was ecstasy.'68
1. Mahmud's Diary: The Diary of Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani Chronicling `Abdu'l-Bahá's Journey to America. Translated by Mohi Sobhani with the assistance of Shirley Macias. George Ronald: Oxford, 1998. Sunday, August 11, 1912.
2. Diary of Agnes Parsons (unpublished): Entry Sat, July 26. This version of Mrs. Parsons' diary is the original in Mrs. Parsons' hand. It is not precisely the same as the version edited and published as `Abdu'l-Bahá in America: Agnes Parsons' Diary. Edited by Richard Hollinger. Kalimat Press: Los Angeles, 1996. As that version mentions in the Foreword (p. xiii), "... this publication is based on a handwritten copy of the original diary made by Leona Barnitz, who served as secretary to Mrs. Parsons in the late 1910s and 1920s; that this copy was lightly edited for style and annotated with margin notes, probably by Mrs. Parsons herself; and that in at least one place in the diary, part of the original account seems to have been omitted when it was copied." In the judgment of this author, the immediacy of the original is preferable, particularly given Mrs. Parsons' impulse, as a woman of society, to edit in such a way as to improve the impression without always improving the accuracy. There are positives and negatives to this choice – it is not intended as a criticism of Mr. Hollinger's decision.
3. McNutt, Howard. Trip to Dublin, N.H. To see Abdul Bahá (unpublished): Entry for "conversation between Mr. Geo. Latimer & Abdul Bahá July 29, 1912. 4.00 P.M."
4. Ives, Howard Colby. Portals to Freedom. George Ronald: Wilmette, 1948, p. 117.
5. Ibid., p. 120.
6. Ibid., entry Aug. 14th.
7. Marlowe, Polly. Stories of `Abdu'l-Bahá in Dublin (unpublished): July, 1987.
8. Bowditch, Nancy Douglas. Recollections of a Joyous Painter. William H. Bauhan: Peterborough, 1970, p. 132.
9. Mahmud's Diary, Sunday, July 28, 1912.
11. Breed, Alice Ives. Letter to Thornton Chase (unpublished), Aug 6th, 1912, p. 2.
12. Alexander, Agnes. [Unknown published source], p. 71.
13. Pumpelly, Raphael. My Reminiscences. Henry Holt & Co.: New York, 1918, Vol. II, p. 660.
14. Ives. Op. cit., p. 116.
15. Keene Evening Sentinel. Friday, Aug. 9, 1912, p. 7.
16. Peterborough Transcript. Th, 15 Aug, 1912 (v. 64, #33), p. 2.
17. McNutt. Op. cit., entry July 31.
18. Parsons. Op. cit., entry Tuesday, July 30th.
19. Marlowe, Polly (interview, 1987). "According to Nancy Bowditch".
20. Parsons. Op. cit., entry Sat. July 26
21. Breed. Op. cit., p. 1.
22. According to the Dublin, New Hampshire: Historical Resources Inventory entry, this building passed into the hands of Walter French in 1914. According to the History of Dublin, pp. 608-9, the Inn was owned by Henry R. Leffingwell in 1912. Nancy Bowditch was given a register page from the Inn from Aug. 1920, with the names of a number of Bahá'ís shown, including Albert Vail and a number of Persian Bahá'ís, inscribed in Persian with an English translation, "I beg from the Threshold of His Holiness Abdul Bahá to Confirm & assist his servant to promulgate the Cause & serve the world of humanity", as well as a photo, on the back of which is written, "Given Nancy Bowditch by Mr. French from his Tavern in Dublin, N.H., where Abdul Bahá stayed in 1912".
23. According to the History of Dublin, p. 645, this was owned by Frederick Willcox, and operated as an inn "for two or three seasons". It later burned down. For `Abdu'l-Bahá's stay, see Parsons. Op. cit., entries for Sat & Sun, Aug 10th & 11th.
24. Marlowe. Op cit. See also Seward, Rev. Levi W., continued by Rev. Josiah L. Seward. History of Dublin: Town of Dublin, 1919, p. 584.
25. Ives. Op cit., pp. 128-9.
26. Allison, Hildreth (interview, 1987), son of the keeper of the Dublin store, Henry Allison, who wrote Dublin Days, Old & New, 1952. See also History of Dublin, pp. 484 & 930.
27. Parsons. Op. cit., entry Sunday 28th July 1912.
28. Marlowe, Polly. Stories of `Abdu'l-Bahá in Dublin (interview, 1987).
29. Rutstein, Valerie (interview), July, 1987.
30. Gilbert, Katherine (interview with granddaughter of Elsa Tudor Leland DePierrefeu): Peterborough, 8 July 1987.
31. According to Mahmud's Diary, the date was July 31st, but Mrs. Parsons gives the date as the afternoon of Thurs. Aug. 1st. See note 225 of Mahmud's Diary.
32. Who's Who in America, 1912, p. 679.
33. Armstrong, John Borden. Factory Under the Elms. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, 1969, p. 118.
34. Parsons. Op. cit., entry Thurs Aug 1st.
35. `Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas. Tablets of the Divine Plan. Bahá'í Publishing Trust: Wilmette, 1977, pp. 60-61.
36. Parsons. Op. cit., entry Thurs. Aug. 15th.
37. Ibid., entry Fri. July 25th.
38. Parsons. Op. cit., entry Sat, July 26.
39. Ibid., entry Tuesday, July 30th.
40. Ives. Op. cit., p. 124.
41. Ibid., pp. 125-6.
42. Ibid., p. 3.
43. Stockman, Robert H. The Bahá'í Faith in America: Volume II -- Early Expansion 1900-1912. George Ronald: Oxford, 1995, p. 344.
44. Dahl, Roger. Early History of the Bahá'í Community in the District of Columbia (talk), 1987.
45. Parsons. Op. cit., entry Sun. Aug. 4th.
46. Mahmud's Diary, Friday, August 2, 1912. In fact, the meeting must have taken place on Aug. 4, as reported by both Mrs. Parsons and Mrs. Breed, at 4:00 P.M. That was a Sunday, and the servants could have had time off for such a meeting. See note 227 in Mahmud's Diary. In an earlier, unpublished translation of Mahmud's Diary, probably done by Dr. Zia Baghdadi, the people who were gathered for the meeting were designated as "the colored", which is a more authentic word for the language of the time, and has been retained in the title for this section.
47. Parsons. Op. cit., entry Aug 14th.
48. Ibid., entry Thurs. Aug 15th.
49. McNutt. Op. cit., conversations with Geo. Latimer.
50. Ibid., Talks on July 29 and 30th.
51. Mahmud's Diary, Saturday, August 10, 1912.
52. Breed. Op. cit., p. 1.
53. Mahmud's Diary, Thursday, July 25, 1912
54. Ibid., Monday, August 5, 1912.
56. McNutt. Op. cit., July 31, 1912.
57. Mahmud's Diary, Friday, August 9, 1912.
58. Mahmud's Diary, Tuesday, August 13, 1912.
59. Parsons. Op. cit., entry Sat. Aug. 3rd.
60. Ibid., entry Thurs. Aug. 8th. Eliza Cabot took the photograph of `Abdu'l-Bahá called the "smiling picture" with a background of vine leaves at a small house down the road from the Pumpelly home, according to Polly Marlowe (Interview about the Pumpellys, 1987).
61. Marlowe. Ibid.
62. History of Dublin, p. 304.
63. Published in Star of the West, Vol. 3 (1912), No. 16, pp. 1-6. (in Persian -- provisional translation by Dr. Paris Khavari, Aug, 1987)
65. McNutt. Op. cit., Talks on July 29 and 30th.
66. Ives. Op. cit., p. 127.
67. Allison, Hildreth (interview), 1987.
68. Parsons. Op. cit., entry Sun. Aug. 11th.