November 11, 1912: The Week Ahead 1
‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ LEFT THE nation’s capital at 9 a.m. this morning on a train bound for Baltimore, arriving at Camden Station shortly afterward. He and his party checked into the Hotel Rennert to rest before making their way to Baltimore’s First Unitarian Church where he is scheduled to speak later today. He will step back onto his train at 3 p.m. for the final leg of his long eastern trip.
In the week ahead, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá returns to New York after almost four months away, the Progressive Movement reaches a triumphant climax with Woodrow Wilson’s aggressive reform agenda, and, New York’s first big Mafia trial comes to a close, after filling the city’s newspapers with sensational gangland stories for two months.
The Journey East: Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, D.C., Baltimore 2
Abdu’l-Bahá traveled to Baltimore on Monday, November 11, went to a hotel, granted interviews to the press, spoke at a Unitarian Church, and went for a late breakfast at the Struvens’ home.
He wired the friends in Philadelphia, who had been asking Him to come, that His train would be passing through their city and that He would see them at the station, They were on the platform when He arrived and rushed joyously to Him. Most got on the train and rode with Him to the next station, They were joyful, enthusiastic, and departed weeping, a sight which so amazed the other people on the train that they came to find out who these people were. Abdu’l-Bahá talked to them and, at their request, gave them the addresses of Bahá’ís whom they could ask for further information.
Monday, November 11, 1912 3
The believers were so eager to see ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that they began to arrive at His residence from early morning. Their hearts were burning with the fire of separation and each craved His assistance and bestowals.
The believers had already assembled when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived at the railway station at 9:00 a.m. To the amazement of onlookers, they gathered around Him, their hearts filled with sorrow and anguish. This happened in every city of America when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived and departed. Onlookers were at a loss to understand how a person from the East in Iranian dress had won the veneration and respect of the men and women of America.
Some of the friends accompanied the Master to Baltimore where He stayed at a hotel. Among the many visitors who came to see Him was a newspaper reporter who was given a detailed discourse on universal peace and the ability of the American people and government to enforce it. The Master’s words were noted down for publication.
Later, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke at the Unitarian Church of Baltimore regarding the oneness of the world of man, the immutability of the principles of the divine religions and the changing of the social laws according to the demands of the time.
When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left the church He went to lunch at the home of Mr [Howard] and Mrs [Hebe] Struven. The Baltimore believers were overjoyed to see their Master. In one of His talks to the friends He said:
“Praise be to God! I have spent time with you in utmost happiness. I am very pleased with you and will not forget you. I pray that you may daily become more illumined and more spiritual. When I reach the Holy Land, I shall lay my head on the threshold of the Blessed Shrine and, weeping, I shall supplicate on your behalf for assistance and heavenly favors, eternal honor and everlasting joy.”
The Master and the friends then left for the station in two automobiles. On the way ‘Abdu’l-Bahá embraced Mr Struvens as a kind father embraces a son and with the utmost kindness thanked him for his many services to the Cause in such glowing terms that the others were astonished.
A message from the friends in Philadelphia was relayed to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá expressing their hope and expectation that since it was on His way, He might be able stop in their city. He replied, ‘We have been there once. Now we have neither time nor possibility. Send them a telegram saying that they may come to the station so that we can meet for a few minutes.’
At 6:00 p.m. when the train reached the station, the friends, both men and women, were on the platform. When the train stopped, they immediately rushed towards the Master’s seat and fell upon His feet, fulfilling their hearts’ desire. With great eagerness and enthusiasm, many of them accompanied the Master to the next station, honored to be in His presence. They begged His assistance that they might render service to the Cause of God and then, weeping, left Him. When the other passengers saw these 30 or so friends from Philadelphia hovering near the Master with such heartfelt emotions, their curiosity to know more was aroused. Fascinated by His majesty and grandeur, they surrounded the Master to hear explanations of the divine teachings. They were transformed and attracted to the teachings and asked for the addresses of the friends and assemblies. Teaching the Cause of the God and guiding the people along the road gives so much joy and excitement that there are no words to describe it.
At about 1:00 a.m. the city of New York was once more graced with the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He stayed at the same house which had previously been rented at His instruction. Thus for the second time this house became the court of the Center of the Covenant and the threshold of bounty and favor. The owners of the house and their relatives had joined the group of sincere and devoted believers and were counted among the lovers of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
10 November 1912, Talk at 1901 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, D. C. 4
I am greatly pleased with the friends in Washington and experience real happiness in meeting them. Likewise, I am pleased with the friends from Baltimore, for I have observed that their hearts are attracted to the love of Bahá’u’lláh. Their vision is extended toward the Kingdom of Bahá. Their spirits are rejoicing in the glad tidings of Abhá. Verily, they are servants of the Cause of God. All are engaged in service, and the perfection of their desire is to enter into the Kingdom of Abhá and draw near unto God. For that reason I am very happy and well pleased with them. I pray for you all. May the favors of the Blessed Beauty, Bahá’u’lláh, encompass you, and may the lights of the Sun of Reality be your illumination. May you all become united and assured. May you serve the Cause of God as one single, united force. I give you the glad tidings that the confirmations of God will descend upon you. Be ye assured of this. Ye will become illumined. Ye will become conquerors.
’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to Its Spiritual Destiny
Chicago believers gathered at the train station to see the Master off
Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America
Curated by Anne Perry
- Menon, Jonathan. “November 11, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 11 Nov. 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/11/11/november-11-1912-the-week-ahead/. ↩
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 183-184. ↩
- ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. https://bahai-library.com/zarqani_mahmuds_diary&chapter=9#section233 ↩
- ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 428. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/31#309517566 ↩