239 Days in America, Day 83: July 02, 1912 | New York

The Memoirs of an American Painter 1

‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ’S JOURNEYS IN America were filled with interesting people. Beyond the rich and famous, there are many who are familiar to us only because they left vivid accounts about him. Juliet Thompson was such an individual. A reputable painter, speaker, and author, Thompson’s personal connection to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá defined her life and work. She displayed her affinity for him in her memoirs, published in 1947 as The Diary of Juliet Thompson, which would chronicle their time together in both the east and the west. . . .

On April 5, 1912, Juliet stood waiting at Pier 59 on the Hudson River as the Cedric, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ship, pulled in at the White Star Line docks. She’d attend many functions he attended or spoke at while in the New York and New Jersey area, and spend much time with him in private conversation as well. She painted his portrait on June 1. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke to an audience at her home at 48 West 10th Street on November 15.

On December 5, the day ‘Abdu’l-Bahá left America, Juliet was there to watch him go. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was bound for Liverpool on board the Celtic. “It was death to leave that ship,” she wrote. “I stood on the pier with May Maxwell, tears blurring my sight. Through them I could see the Master in the midst of the group of Persians waving a patient hand to us. It waved and waved, that beautiful patient hand, till the Figure was lost to sight.”

New York City 2

On Tuesday [July 2] as Abdu’l-Bahá walked in the park by the river near His house, a group of persons of Greek ancestry who were strolling nearby introduced themselves and began asking questions. Abdu’l-Bahá talked to them of the Greek philosophers and the meaning of the history of Greece. “Then,” Mahmúd recorded, “He exhorted and encouraged them to acquire the virtues of the world of humanity. The attraction of His Beauty was so great that they spontaneously bowed to its influence. They came to the assembly of Bahá’ís that night and joined the group of lovers.”

Tuesday, July 2, 1912

After the usual morning prayers and thanksgiving to God, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sent for us and offered thanks and praise to the Most Great Name for the assistance and protection vouchsafed by the Ancient Beauty.

The Master spoke with seekers and visited with friends until noon. After some milk and bread for lunch, He rested for awhile but the friends and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s companions remained to enjoy the generous lunch.

In the afternoon, a prominent gentlemen invited the Master to the Plaza Hotel, which is one of the most elegant hotels and a gathering place for the American elite. We went there to see the building. The Master sat in one of the small rooms. When the manager of the hotel offered to show Him the rest of the hotel, He did not accept. Afterwards the Master said to the friends: ‘When I see magnificent buildings and beautiful scenery, I contrast them with memories of the prison and of the persecutions suffered by the Blessed Beauty and my heart is deeply moved and I seek to avoid such sightseeing excursions.’

Tonight He spoke about God and creation: ‘The Kingdom of God’, He said, ‘is pre-existent and, since He is the Creator, without doubt He has always had a creation.’ 3

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

Difference of capacity in human individuals is fundamental. It is impossible for all to be alike, all to be equal, all to be wise. Bahá’u’lláh has revealed principles and laws which will accomplish the adjustment of varying human capacities. He has said that whatsoever is possible of accomplishment in human government will be effected through these principles. When the laws He has instituted are carried out, there will be no millionaires possible in the community and likewise no extremely poor. This will be effected and regulated by adjusting the different degrees of human capacity. The fundamental basis of the community is agriculture, tillage of the soil. All must be producers. Each person in the community whose need is equal to his individual producing capacity shall be exempt from taxation. But if his income is greater than his needs, he must pay a tax until an adjustment is effected. That is to say, a man’s capacity for production and his needs will be equalized and reconciled through taxation. If his production exceeds, he will pay a tax; if his necessities exceed his production, he shall receive an amount sufficient to equalize or adjust. Therefore, taxation will be proportionate to capacity and production, and there will be no poor in the community. 4

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

‘Abdu’l-Bahá avoided sightseeing excursions

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

July 02, 1912


  1. Tamas, Corey. “The Memoirs of an American Painter.” 239 Days in America, 2 July 2012, https://239days.com/2012/07/02/the-memoirs-of-an-american-painter/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 107-108.
  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#section100
  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, 217. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/16#828752876

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 79: June 28, 1912 | New Jersey

‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s “Feast of Unity” 1

THE ORIENTAL PASSENGER WAVED his arms on the steps of the train parked at Lackawanna station. He had to stall the train. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s attendants, “ten fez-wearing Persians,” as The New York Times put it, had already loaded their baggage on the train headed northeast from Montclair to West Englewood, New Jersey. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had not yet arrived. Missing the train could mean missing the event he had organized in nearby Englewood.

The distressed passenger pulled the bell rope, a job usually reserved for the conductor of the train to indicate an unplanned stop. Then one of the Persians – perhaps accidentally – knocked off the train conductor’s hat, distracting him. At last ‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived in his car, the train halted, and his friends hustled him into the coach …

New Jersey: The Unity Feast 2

On Friday [June 28], when He [Abdu’l-Bahá ] took a group of the friends by streetcar to the park in Montclair, He led them to the empty bandstand, and seated them saying, “‘factious persons … are trying to imprison Me again on My return to the Holy Land,.” When the friends suggested it would be better for Him not to return, He replied, “‘My Source is the Holy Threshold. What I have is from that Threshold. And ,my return, too, is to the same. Had to not been for His aid and assistance, would these people sitting on your right and left have had any care for you and Me … What are we and why are we showered with these favors? Where is Persia and where is America? …’”

Friday, June 28, 1912

As the Master had previously invited the friends in New York to a Unity Feast in Englewood, He prepared to leave Montclair in the morning. Although most Americans do not awaken until after sunrise, some friends and their children were waiting an hour before dawn to see Him and to receive His blessings. Then another group arrived and received His bestowals.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá left Montclair at half past eight in the morning, passed through New York, and after changing trams four times and passing twice by the river, He reached Englewood. Tired from the journey and the warm weather, having traveled from morning to noon, He briefly rested at the home of Mr [Roy] Wilhelm. Meanwhile, the friends began to arrive from the surrounding areas and gathered on the lawn adjoining the house. The meeting was arranged in a circle under the trees, with almost two hundred people seated at the table and being served by the Bahá’ís. Everyone enjoyed the delicacies and was extremely happy.

The green lawn under the shade trees was strewn with flowers so that it seemed as if an embroidered carpet had been spread, every design indicative of the power of the Covenant of the Ancient Beauty. To see the Master walking in this green, flower-covered garden, with a gentle breeze blowing, the purity of the air, the cleanliness of the surroundings and the rejoicing of the friends, was most pleasing; all seemed to vie with one another to please the Master.

When ‘Abdu’l-Bahá entered the circle, He delivered a very eloquent address on the greatness of the Cause, the influence of the Word of God, the importance of the meetings of the friends and the need for unity among the friends of God. He counseled them to be truthful and faithful. Afterwards He strolled in the rose garden. “Abdu’l-Bahá gave His permission for His photograph to be taken and was photographed in two groups. In one He is seated in the garden with His Persian servants standing around Him and in the other He is seen with the friends, some of whom are seated while others are standing.

A minister and another important personage came to visit ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. He invited them into Mr Wilhelm’s house and spoke with them until dinner was ready. He later left the house to take a brief stroll. When the friends were seated at the table, He took vials of attar of rose in His hand and anointed, perfumed and blessed them all, one by one. He thus made them the anointed of the Court of Servitude and the recipients of the spirit of devotion to the Threshold of God, for the bounties of the Holy Spirit had descended and the favors of God encompassed all. Standing in the center of this assemblage of lovers, He spoke to them in a voice that was sweeter than honey then returned to Mr Wilhelm’s house.

That the friends were ecstatic today need not be stated, since their Host was the Beloved of the Covenant; their meeting was an assembly of love and amity, and the surroundings were green and verdant with trees in full bloom perfuming the air. There was a pilaf, a very delicious Persian dish that had been prepared for the occasion, sherbet, a Persian drink and many sweets. Everyone was happy at the unity of the gathering. The Master said:

“This meeting will be productive of great results. It will be the cause of attracting a new bounty. This day in which we have come together is a new day, and this hour a new hour. These meetings will be mentioned in the future and their results will be everlasting in all the divine worlds.”

There were two more meetings: one in the afternoon and the other in the evening in Englewood for some of the friends who were not able to take part in the first meeting. They took their seats in the garden adjoining Mr Wilhelm’s house, sitting on chairs and benches in rows. After a short walk, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá joined the visitors, sat down among them and requested the chanting of a prayer. He then spoke eloquently, encouraging the friends to spread the fragrances of God. As He was about to leave, one of the seekers asked Him, ‘What are the new teachings of this Cause that are not to be found in the other great religions?’ The Master stood in the center of the garden and summoned all to come near. They came and stood in two rows. The Master walked between the rows and spoke. His explanation was so magnificent that everyone was astonished. During His discourse a carriage and automobile passed near by. As they neared the gathering and saw ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the carriage passengers stopped, alighted and they, too, heard His speech and were attracted to the teachings. The Master described, one by one, the teachings of the Manifestation: the unity of humankind, universal peace, association with all religions, forgiveness of enemies, the prohibition of cursing foes, the equality of rights of men and women, the establishment of the House of Justice and the International Tribunal, compulsory education for both boys and girls, the prohibition of wars between nations and governments, and the harm of all forms of prejudice, be they racial, religious, sectarian, patriotic, political and so on. He spoke on these teachings extensively and in detail. At the end, He asked the audience whether these principles had been brought by past religious dispensations and recorded in their books. They all responded ‘No’. The inquirer was so overwhelmed that he clapped his hands in delight, expressing his joy and gratitude.

Because it was a moonlit night, this talk was given in the garden, so it was not recorded but these explanations can be found in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s other addresses. After the meeting, He remarked, ‘If these persons were to be confronted with the question, what new teachings did Christ bring other than changing the laws of the Sabbath and divorce, they would be utterly confounded.’

‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed in Englewood for the night. 3

Talk at Bowery Mission, 227 Bowery, New York, 19 April 1912

When Jesus Christ appeared, it was the poor who first accepted Him, not the rich. Therefore, you are the disciples of Jesus Christ; you are His comrades, for He outwardly was poor, not rich. Even this earth’s happiness does not depend upon wealth. You will find many of the wealthy exposed to dangers and troubled by difficulties, and in their last moments upon the bed of death there remains the regret that they must be separated from that to which their hearts are so attached. They come into this world naked, and they must go from it naked. All they possess they must leave behind and pass away solitary, alone. Often at the time of death their souls are filled with remorse; and worst of all, their hope in the mercy of God is less than ours. Praise be to God! Our hope is in the mercy of God, and there is no doubt that the divine compassion is bestowed upon the poor. Jesus Christ said so; Bahá’u’lláh said so. While Bahá’u’lláh was in Baghdád, still in possession of great wealth, He left all He had and went alone from the city, living two years among the poor. They were His comrades. He ate with them, slept with them and gloried in being one of them. He chose for one of His names the title of The Poor One and often in His Writings refers to Himself as Darvísh , which in Persian means poor; and of this title He was very proud. He admonished all that we must be the servants of the poor, helpers of the poor, remember the sorrows of the poor, associate with them; for thereby we may inherit the Kingdom of heaven. God has not said that there are mansions prepared for us if we pass our time associating with the rich, but He has said there are many mansions prepared for the servants of the poor, for the poor are very dear to God. The mercies and bounties of God are with them. The rich are mostly negligent, inattentive, steeped in worldliness, depending upon their means, whereas the poor are dependent upon God, and their reliance is upon Him, not upon themselves. Therefore, the poor are nearer the threshold of God and His throne. 4

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

Mahmud: June 28 – Unity Feast in West Englewood, NJ

Celebrating the Centenary: The Master in America

Curated by Anne Perry

June 28, 1912


  1. Jones, Caitlin Shayda. “‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ‘Feast of Unity.’” 239 Days in America, 28 June 2012, https://239days.com/2012/06/28/the-souvenir-of-abdul-baha/.
  2. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 100.
  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=4#section96
  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, 11.https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/2#141496815