239 Days in America, Day 82: July 01, 1912 | New York

July 1, 1912: The Week Ahead 1

ABDU’L-BAHÁ ARRIVED BACK in the city late yesterday evening. He’ll stay in New York for just over three weeks before heading up the east coast for a month-long trip to Dublin, New Hampshire and Eliot, Maine.

New York City 2

On Monday morning, July 1, after prayer, He said to the Persian friends, “‘This help and assistance are from Him [Bahá’u’lláh] and these confirmations are through His Bounty and Favor; otherwise we are nothing but weak servants. We are like flutes and all these tunes are from Him.’”

Monday, July 1, 1912

During the Master’s stroll in the park near the house, a person of Greek ancestry walked by. When he saw ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, he was attracted and approached Him. The passerby immediately summoned his friends, who were in the park, to gather round. In those green surroundings the Master spoke to them about Greek philosophers and about the progress and civilization of their country in ancient times. He then exhorted and encouraged them to acquire the virtues of the world of humanity. He was so compelling that they were immediately influenced. That evening they came to the Bahá’í gathering and became yet more links in the chain of lovers.

Every night after the public meeting, seekers are invited to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His own room. As they listen to His solutions to complex spiritual problems, to His convincing arguments and to answers to their questions, they are drawn towards the Kingdom of God and attracted to the Abhá horizon. Although it is summer and intensely hot, every day and night a new group of inquirers is introduced. 3

1 July 1912, Talk at 309 West Seventy-eighth Street, New York 4

What could be better before God than thinking of the poor? For the poor are beloved by our heavenly Father. When Christ came upon the earth, those who believed in Him and followed Him were the poor and lowly, showing that the poor were near to God. When a rich man believes and follows the Manifestation of God, it is a proof that his wealth is not an obstacle and does not prevent him from attaining the pathway of salvation. After he has been tested and tried, it will be seen whether his possessions are a hindrance in his religious life. But the poor are especially beloved of God. Their lives are full of difficulties, their trials continual, their hopes are in God alone. Therefore, you must assist the poor as much as possible, even by sacrifice of yourself. No deed of man is greater before God than helping the poor. Spiritual conditions are not dependent upon the possession of worldly treasures or the absence of them. When one is physically destitute, spiritual thoughts are more likely. Poverty is a stimulus toward God. Each one of you must have great consideration for the poor and render them assistance. Organize in an effort to help them and prevent increase of poverty. The greatest means for prevention is that whereby the laws of the community will be so framed and enacted that it will not be possible for a few to be millionaires and many destitute. One of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings is the adjustment of means of livelihood in human society. Under this adjustment there can be no extremes in human conditions as regards wealth and sustenance. For the community needs financier, farmer, merchant and laborer just as an army must be composed of commander, officers and privates. All cannot be commanders; all cannot be officers or privates. Each in his station in the social fabric must be competent—each in his function according to ability but with justness of opportunity for all.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Seekers in public meetings were invited to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá home

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 01, 1912


  1. Menon, Jonathan. “July 1, 1912: The Week Ahead.” 239 Days in America, 1 July 2012, http://stagingtwo39.wpengine.com/2012/07/01/abdul-baha-returns-to-new-york/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 107.
  3. ’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=5#section99
  4. 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, 216. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#305820706

239 Days in America, Day 41: May 21, 1912 | New York

The Eyes of All People Are Upon Us 1

But even they weren’t ready for Ralph Waldo Emerson. On July 15, 1838, he stood before the graduating class at the Harvard Divinity School and spoke words that reverberated like hammer strokes off Harvard’s hallowed walls.

Emerson, too, had graduated from Harvard, and had been a preacher at Boston’s Second Church. But he lamented the lost devotion of the Puritans, and flatly told the students that churches weren’t measuring up: “The stationariness of religion; the assumption that the age of inspiration is past, that the Bible is closed . . . indicate with sufficient clearness the falsehood of our theology.” “It is the office of a true teacher,” he pleaded, “to show us that God is, not was; that He speaketh, not spake.”

Even though Emerson was speaking to young men about to begin careers in the Christian ministry, he removed the Church from the spiritual equation. The only way to restore true religion, he said, was to empower the individual soul to “go it alone.” He challenged them to break with conformity, to inspire their congregations to “dare to love God without mediator or veil.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson charged his “Transcendentalism” with the religious zeal of the original Puritan settlers, and fused it with the spirit of the American Revolution that set individual freedom and liberty above everything else.

It was a truly American take on religion.

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts 2

Monday [May 20th] and Tuesday [May 21st] were spent in interviews and public talks such as one to a Woman’s Suffragist group in the Metropolitan Temple.

Talk at Woman’s Suffrage Meeting, Metropolitan Temple, Seventh Avenue and Fourteenth Street, New York 3

The purpose, in brief, is this: that if woman be fully educated and granted her rights, she will attain the capacity for wonderful accomplishments and prove herself the equal of man. She is the coadjutor of man, his complement and helpmeet. Both are human; both are endowed with potentialities of intelligence and embody the virtues of humanity. In all human powers and functions they are partners and coequals. At present in spheres of human activity woman does not manifest her natal prerogatives, owing to lack of education and opportunity. Without doubt education will establish her equality with men. Consider the animal kingdom, where no distinction is observed between male and female. They are equal in powers and privileges. Among birds of the air no distinction is evidenced. Their powers are equal; they dwell together in complete unity and mutual recognition of rights. Shall we not enjoy the same equality? Its absence is not befitting to mankind.

Tuesday, May 21, 1912 4

In the morning and afternoon the Master delivered addresses at two public meetings.5 One consisted of admonitions from the Abhá Beauty, and the other, owing to His impending journey to Boston, was a farewell address to the friends, promising them a speedy return.

This afternoon many of the believers’ children came to visit. He embraced them all with the utmost kindness and affection. He exhorted the friends to provide Bahá’í education and spirituality for these newborn trees of the Garden of Favor. To witness such meetings is a real joy. With great devotion, the young and old circled around ‘Abdu’l-Bahá like moths.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Mahmud: May 21 — Many of the Believers’ Children Came to Visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá


  1. Sockett, Robert. “The Eyes of All People Are Upon Us.” 239 Days in America, 21 May 2012, https://239days.com/2012/05/21/eyes-of-all-people-are-upon-us/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 71.
  3. 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, 136-137. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/9#882843088.
  4. ’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=3#section58.
  5. Thompson, Juliet. The Diary of Juliet Thompson. Edited by Marzieh Gail. 1st ed. 1947. Reprint, Los Angeles: Kalimát Press, 1983. 288-293. https://archive.org/details/diaryofjuliettho0000thom/page/288/mode/2up

239 Days in America, Day 40: May 20, 1912 | New York

“This Is a Symbol of My Power,” She Said 1

JOAN OF ARC’s SILVER suit shone in the afternoon sun. You wouldn’t have been able to hear her horse’s hooves on the pavement, because on every side traffic officers blew their whistles, marching bands played, and cheers rose from the crowds clogging every inch along the sidewalks.

The women’s suffrage march in New York had taken place two weeks ago, on May 4, 1912, while ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was in Chicago. At five o’clock sharp, an army began to march up Fifth Avenue from Washington Square. There were 10,000 of them, including 838 men. It was a parade “the like of which New York never knew before,” the New York Times said. Nearly half a million people had emptied the surrounding buildings to look on.

Today, on May 20th, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was standing in front of a suffrage meeting beneath the huge McKinley Memorial Organ at the Metropolitan Temple, on Seventh Avenue at 14th Street in New York. “Universal Peace is impossible without Universal Suffrage,” he said. “It has been objected by some that woman is not equally capable with man and that she is by creation deficient. This is pure imagination. The difference which exists between man and woman is a difference due solely to education.”

Talk at Woman’s Suffrage Meeting, Metropolitan Temple, Seventh Avenue and Fourteenth Street, New York 2

The most momentous question of this day is international peace and arbitration, and universal peace is impossible without universal suffrage. Children are educated by the women. The mother bears the troubles and anxieties of rearing the child, undergoes the ordeal of its birth and training. Therefore, it is most difficult for mothers to send to the battlefield those upon whom they have lavished such love and care. Consider a son reared and trained twenty years by a devoted mother. What sleepless nights and restless, anxious days she has spent! Having brought him through dangers and difficulties to the age of maturity, how agonizing then to sacrifice him upon the battlefield! Therefore, the mothers will not sanction war nor be satisfied with it. So it will come to pass that when women participate fully and equally in the affairs of the world, when they enter confidently and capably the great arena of laws and politics, war will cease; for woman will be the obstacle and hindrance to it. This is true and without doubt.

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts 3

Monday [May 20th] and Tuesday [May 21st] were spent in interviews and public talks such as one to a Woman’s Suffragist group in the Metropolitan Temple.

Monday, May 20, 1912 4

Among those visiting the Master at the [Mr. and Mrs. Edward B.] Kinney’s home were some narrow-minded Christian ministers. He spoke to them about the misunderstandings among Christians about Islam. After the Master spoke emphatically with reasoning and proofs to establish the reality of Islam, the ministers left humbly and joyfully, impressed by His explanations.

In the evening an enthusiastic gathering of women suffragists gathered to hear the Master’s address. While riding in Mr. [Mountfort] Mills’s automobile, the Master said: ‘You will learn of the value of this automobile later because it will be said that the servants of the Blessed Beauty sat in it.’

When He entered the gathering, the entire audience stood with great joy and excitement. The chairman of the meeting Mrs [Eliza Jean Nelson] Penfield first gave an introductory account of the persecutions and imprisonment of the Master and explained the meaning of the name ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. The Master then spoke at length about the education and rights of women. There was great excitement in the audience, and, as in other gatherings, the people were deeply moved and both men and women shook His hand, supplicating for assistance.

’Abdu’l-Bahá in America, 1912-2012: Calling America to It’s Spiritual Destiny

Mahmud: May 20 — Driving to a Women Suffragists Gathering


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “‘This Is a Symbol of My Power,’ She Said.” 239 Days in America, May 20, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/05/20/this-is-a-symbol-of-my-power-she-said/.
  2. 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, 134-135. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/9#759960588.
  3. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 71.
  4. ’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=3#section57.