December 29, 2011

Effie Baker

Effie Baker, a Melbourne Baha'i who traveled through Australia and New Zealand in 1924 with Martha Root.

A message from the Guardian to the N.S.A. of the Bahá’ís of Australia and New-Zealand dated 3 January 1936 states:

“Miss Effie Baker is leaving for Australia with the consent and full approval of the Guardian. As you know for over ten years she has been devotedly working for the Cause in Haifa, as keeper of the Western Pilgrim House and also as the custodian of the International Bahá’í Archives. During this long period of service she has accomplished much for our beloved Cause, and she is now in need of some rest after so many years of strenuous labours.” (From a message written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi; ‘Messages to Australia and New Zealand’)

December 28, 2011

December 11, 2011

Siyyid Mustafa Rumi, Hand of the Cause of God

Siyyid Mustafa Rumi

Siyyid Mustafa Rumi of Burma, named by the Guardian as one of the Hands of the Cause of Baha’u’llah, contributed his imperishable services from the year 1875, when he embraced the Faith through the inspired efforts of Jamal Effendi, the first teacher sent to India by the instruction of Baha’u’llah. He was nearly ninety-nine years old at the time of his tragic death at Thingagyun. (The Baha'i World 1944-1946)

December 10, 2011

Lua Getsinger -- “The immortal Lua, mother-teacher of the American Bahá'í Community, herald of the dawn of the Day of the Covenant …” (Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America), a Disciple of 'Abdu'l-Baha


Lua, studio portrait taken in the blue costume she had made for the numerous occasions when she was required to speak in public
Lua, a portrait taken in Paris. As a young woman Lua loved dressing up in fashionable clothes; later she gave them all away in obedience to 'Abdu'l-Baha's preference for simple dress.
Lucinda Louisa Aurora More Getsinger - 'Lua', circa 1897-9

December 6, 2011

Dr. Auguste Forel


Dr. Auguste Forel, distinguished scientist, scholar and humanitarian

December 3, 2011

Mountfort Mills and Fujita San

Mountfort Mills of New York and London, international lawyer and distinguished Baha'i who has represented the Baha'i Cause at Geneva and other important places, here pictured with Fugita San in Haifa, the little man who contributed a big service to the pilgrims.

November 26, 2011

Her Majesty Queen of Rumania

Her Majesty Queen of Rumania
From an autographed photograph presented to Martha Root

November 25, 2011

Haji Amin -- Apostle of Baha'u'llah, Hand of the Cause, the Trustee of Huququ'lláh


Hand of the Cause Mulla Abu'l-Hasan-i-Ardikani, surnamed Amin, Apostle of Baha'u'llah, the Trustee of Huququ'lláh

Mulla Abu'l-Hasan-i-Ardikani, who is known as Haji Amin or Amin-i-Ilahi, was born in about the year AH 1232 (AD 21 November 1816 -- 10 November 1817) in Ardikan, a small town near Yazd. At seventeen years of age he married into a family of Bábís of the town. He was persuaded to investigate the new religion and eventually, shortly after the martyrdom of the Báb, he declared his belief. When news of the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh came, he accepted immediately and travelled throughout Iran meeting other Bábís and teaching them of the advent of Bahá'u'lláh. After a time he became the assistant of Haji Shah-Muhammad Manshadi, Aminu'l-Bayan, who was the Trustee of the Huququ'lláh.[1] He would travel about the country, earning his living by trading and also by acting as a writer for those who could not write. At the same time he collected the Huququ'lláh and any letters that the believers wished to forward to Bahá'u'lláh, and also distributed Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh when these were received. He came to 'Akká while Bahá'u'lláh was still imprisoned in the citadel and succeeded in establishing contact with the exiles. He was the first Bahá'í from the outside world to be able to meet Bahá'u'lláh in 'Akká (in the Public Baths). He returned to 'Akká on several further occasions. When Haji Shah-Muhammad Manshadi was killed in 1880, Haji Abu'l-Hasan was appointed Trustee (Amin) of the Huququ'lláh. In 1891 he was imprisoned with Haji Akhund for three years in Tihran and Qazvin. In the time of 'Abdu'l-Bahá he continued his travels, visiting 'Akká and Haifa on several occasions. Towards the end of his life he resided in Tihran and Haji Ghulam-Rida, Amin-i-Amin, was appointed his assistant. He died in 1928 and was posthumously named a Hand of the Cause of God by Shoghi Effendi. (Balyuzi, ‘Eminent Baha’is in the Time of Baha’u’llah’, p. 263)
[1]. The 'Right of God' -- a payment by believers instituted in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas.

November 24, 2011

Sarah Farmer -- Founder of Green Acre

Sarah Farmer

Tablet from ‘Abdu'l-Baba to Sarah Farmer, Founder of Green Acre
O Maid-servant of God! Be rejoiced at this glad tidings, whereby the hearts of the people of the Kingdom of Abha are moved with joy. Verily, I beseech God to make Green Acre as the Paradise of Abha, so that the melodies of the Nightingales of Sanctity may be heard from it, and that the chanting of the Verses of Unity may be raised therein, to cause the clouds of the great Gift to pour upon it the rains falling from heaven, to make those countries become verdant with the myrtles of Truth and Inner Significances, and to plant therein blessed trees, with the Hand of Providence, which may bring forth pure and excellent fruits wherefrom the Fragrances of God may be diffused throughout all regions. These signs shall surely appear, and these lights shall shine forth. (The Baha’i World 1936-1938)

November 12, 2011

Lady Sara Louise Blomfield – Sitarih Khanum


Lady Sara Louise Blomfield – Sitarih Khanum

Prominent British Baha'i, named Sitarih ('star') Khanum by 'Abdu'l-Baha. Of mixed Catholic-Protestant Irish background, she became Part of London high society, marrying the architect Sir Arthur William Blomfield, a son of the bishop of London. After her husband's death in 1899 she became increasingly interested in movements such as Theosophy and in 1907 encountered the Baha’is in Paris. Her home (97 Cadogan Gardens) was 'Abdu'l-Baha's base during His visits to Britain (1911, 1912-1913). She and her daughters also attended 'Abdu'l-Baha in Paris and published their notes on his talks (Talks by Abdu'l-Baha Given In Paris, 19L2;later re-titled Paris Talks). After World War I she became involved in the work of the Save the Children Fund and sought to pro mote the Bah a'i teachings within League of Nations circles. She accompanied Shoghi Effendi back to Haifa after 'Abdu'l-Baha's death and wrote with him the memorial booklet ‘The Passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha (1922)'. She was amongst the group of prominent 'Western Baha’is who consulted with Shoghi Effendi about the future progress of the Faith in 1922, and was subsequently involved with the development of the Baha'i administration in Britain. During lengthy stays in Haifa she gathered notes on Baha’i history - many of them from the sister, wife and one of the daughters of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. These were subsequently published as ‘The Chosen Highway (1940)’. 
(Adapted from ‘A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha’i Faith’, by Peter Smith)

October 29, 2011

Robert Turner -- One of the 19 Disciples of 'Abdu'l-Baha and the first member of the negro race in the Western Hemisphere to embrace the Faith

Robert Turner

Born on October 15, 1855 or 1856, he was the first member of the negro race in the Western Hemisphere to embrace the Faith.[God Passes By, p. 259]. Since it is estimated that Robert was born in Virginia in about 1855-56, it is possible that he was born enslaved.[The American Baha’i, November 23, 2005] He was for some 35 years a butler in the household of Phoebe Hearst (eventually becoming her personal butler -- a position of considerable responsibility). Shortly before 1898, Phoebe Hearst received Lua Getsinger in her San Francisco home. Lua introduced the Faith to her while Robert was in attendance serving tea. Naturally, he overheard the conversation and, like Mrs. Hearst, was touched by what he heard. He was with Phoebe Hearst when, in 1898, she arranged for the first group of Baha’i pilgrims to visit 'Abdu'l-Baha in 'Akka. On 10 December 1898 Robert was warmly received by 'Abdu'l-Baha Who raised him to his feet and embraced him when, on first seeing the Master, he had dropped to his knees calling out, "My Lord! My Lord! I am not worthy to be here. On a later occasion 'Abdu'l-Baha said, "Robert, your Lord loves you.” [Balyuzi, ‘Abdu’l-Baha’, p. 72] Robert later encountered many difficulties, but remained staunch in his new faith; he died in 1909 not many years after his return from the Holy Land. (Adapted from ‘The A to Z of the Baha’i Faith, by Hugh Adamson)

October 9, 2011

Dr. Susan Moody and Elizabeth Stewart

Dr. Susan Moody (left) with Elizabeth Stewart, the faithful Baha'i nurse who served with Dr. Moody in Tihran, Persia for many years.

July 31, 2011

Rafieh Mansour -- patient handmaiden of God

Rafieh Mansour
In 1889, when Rafieh was three years old, her family had the joy of being invited by Baha'u'llah to move to the Holy Land where she lived until 1938. During the first three years of her stay in 'Akka, she was many times permitted into the presence of Baha'u'llah. Her uncle, Muhammad Hasan had served Baha'u'llah as a secretary when He was in Adrianople. Baha'u'llah had sent him back to Baghdad with a promise that he would be invited to rejoin Him in one Vahid (nineteen years) -- which happened in 1889! Her grandfather, 'Abdu'l-Rasoul was one of the famed martyrs of the Heroic Age of the Faith. Her mother, Zekrieh, was asked by 'Abdu'l-Baha to take on the responsibility for caring for the House of 'Abud. Her mother's parents were the first believers in Baghdad. They accepted the Faith in the days of Tahirih and it was her grandfather who helped to escort Tahirih from Baghdad back to Iran. (Adapted from Baha'i News, April 1974)

July 24, 2011

July 16, 2011

May Bolles Maxwell and daughter Mary

May Bolles Maxwell and daughter Mary

May Bolles Maxwell was one of that first group of pilgrims from the West who, in 1898-99, visited ‘Abdu’l-Bahá while He was still a prisoner in ‘Akká. She records her memories of the occasion in the following pages.

Those days in the prison-city oriented forever the course of her life. She gave her heart, her entire being to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and served Him and His appointed successor, Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith, to the end of her days.  Her first mission, under ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s direction, was to teach the Faith in Europe, particularly France.  She returned to Paris and quickly gathered about her a group, which by 1901-02 numbered some thirty Bahá’ís. Among them were Edith MacKaye (the first convert), Herbert Hopper, Marie Squires, Helen Cole, Laura Barney, Edith Jackson, Thomas Breakwell (first English believer), Hippolyte Dreyfus (first French believer), Agnes Alexander.

July 10, 2011

Hand of the Cause Corinne True and her daughters

Hand of the Cause Corinne True and her daughters at the time of the dedication of the House of Worship in Chicago on May 1, 1953. From left, Dr. Katherine True, Arna True Perron, Mrs. True, and Edna True. Both Katherine and Edna were members of the National Spiritual Assembly at that time. Edna was appointed a Continental Counsellor by the Universal House of Justice in 1968. (Baha'i News, February 1976)
Corinne True, "Mother of Temple" in Chicago

May 26, 2011

Hand of the Cause Enoch Olinga with members of his family


Hand of the Cause Enoch Olinga (second from left) with members of his family; to his left, his daughter, Florence, a student at Tororo Girls' School; to his right, his wife, Elizabeth; and extreme right, his son, George (Baha'i News July 1972)

Enoch Olinga and his wife Elizabeth during a Baha'i conference in Brazil in 1977. (Baha'i News, December 1979)

May 22, 2011

Mustafa Baghdadi

Mustafa Baghdadi

Mustafa Baghdadi lived for many years In Beirut, Syria. He was one of the earliest followers of the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh. He provided countless services for the Faith. Throughout his life he was firm and full of zeal. His house was at the disposal of all pilgrims and his services to them were invaluable. Many of the American friends, passing through Beirut to visit ‘Abdul-Bahá in Akka and Haifa, bear testimony to the nobility of his spirit and the strength of his character. All loved and revered him and looked up to him as one of the spiritual souls of the earlier days. His winsome manner and gentleness of heart attracted all those who came in contact with him and carried away the sweet fragrance of his life. He had three sons, Hussein Ighbal, Ali Ehsan and Zia Baghdadi, who studied sciences and were active servants in the Cause. Zia Baghadi was loved and respected by all the American friends for his earnestness and enthusiasm. He studied medicine in the US and assisted with the Persian section of the Star of the West magazine. 
(Adapted from the Stat of the West, vol. 1, no. 17, Jan. 19, 1911)

May 21, 2011

Martha Root - "Herald of the Kingdom"; “the foremost Hand raised by Bahá'u'lláh since 'Abdu'l-Bahá's passing”; “the first, finest fruit which the Formative Age of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh has as yet produced”; “that archetype of Bahá'í itinerant teachers”

Martha Root
Martha's unnumbered admirers throughout Bahá'í world lament with me the earthly extinction of her heroic life. Concourse on high acclaim her elevation to rightful position in galaxy of Bahá'í immortals. Posterity will establish her as foremost Hand which 'Abdu'l-Bahá's will has raised up in first Bahá'í century. Present generation of her fellow-believers recognize her to be the first, finest fruit which the Formative Age of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh has as yet produced. Advise hold befitting memorial gathering in Temple to honor one whose acts shed imperishable lustre on American Bahá'í community. Impelled share with National Assembly expenses of erection of monument in symbolic spot,[1] the meeting-place of East and West, to both of which she unsparingly dedicated the full force of her mighty energies. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (Cablegram October 3, 1939, ‘Messages to America’)
[1 Honolulu]

To Martha Root, that archetype of Bahá'í itinerant teachers and the foremost Hand raised by Bahá'u'lláh since 'Abdu'l-Bahá's passing, must be awarded, if her manifold services and the supreme act of her life are to be correctly appraised, the title of Leading Ambassadress of His Faith and Pride of Bahá'í teachers, whether men or women, in both the East and the West. 
- Shoghi Effendi  (‘God Passes By’)

May 3, 2011

Fujita Saichiro

Fujita in Haifa, circa 1928

Fujita at Chicago Temple in 1971

April 30, 2011

Nettie Tobin & the "corner stone" for Chicago Temple

Nettie Tobin kneeling by the stone which she carried as her contribution to the Chicago Temple in the very early days.  'Abdu'l-Baha chose it as the "corner stone" when He visited the site in 1912. The stone is now incorporated into the building, and serves as a special place for prayer and meditation. (The Baha'i World 1932-1934)

April 24, 2011

Louise and John Bosch

Louise and John Bosch

John David Bosch was born at Neu-St. Johann, Canton St. Gall, Switzerland, on August 1, 1855. His parents were Michael Johann Bosch and Maria Biegmann; he had three brothers and three sisters, and was his parents' fifth child. When he was nine, his mother died, and he was then brought up by his oldest sister, whom he loved all his life. After attending elementary and “repletitionary" school in Neu-St. Johann, he left Switzerland with a sister and her husband (the Zuberbuhlers), arrived in America in 1879, and went to Amboy, Nebraska where on arrival the Zuberbuhlers purchased a farm. He practised his trade of cooper. "helped with the building of the railroad, and also farmed." He was in Los Angeles, California between 1884 and 1889, and became a citizen of the United States in Los Angeles County in 1887, the document also being registered in Sonoma County in 1892. He married Kathe Krieg in '85 or '86, the marriage ending in divorce around '89. It was about this period that he went to Germany, France and Spain to study winemaking. After holding various good positions in the Valley of the Moon, he purchased the thirty-five acres constituting the original extent of his Geyserville property on October 26, 1901 from Emily B. Smith of Geyserville.

April 23, 2011

Badi - (Wonderful); Pride of Martyrs; Apostle of Baha’u’llah

Aqa Buzurg of Khurasan

Badi (Wonderful); Pride of Martyrs; Apostle of Baha’u’llah. Born Aqa Buzurg-i-Nishapuri, the son of a devoted Babi, he was later given the title Badi' (unique, wonderful) by Baha’u’llah. Reputed to be a wild, unruly youth, he had no interest in his father's affairs until, during the visit to his home of a traveling teacher, Mulla Muhammadi-Zarandi (Nabil-i-A'zam), he listened to some verses from a long poem by Baha’u’llah and was so entranced that he devoted the balance of his life to serving Him. After his conversion he set out to visit Him, traveling on foot from Mosul to 'Akka. It was during this visit that he was chosen to deliver a letter (Tablet) from Baha’u’llah to Nasiri'd-Din Shah . (The A to Z of the Baha’i Faith by Hugh Adamson)

April 22, 2011

Dr. Furutan - One of the Principals of Tarbiyat School, Secretary of Iranian National Spiritual Assembly for 24 years, One of the Nine Custodial Hands of the Cause

Hand of the Cause Dr. 'Ali-Akbar Furutan

In the face of sustained persecution, Dr. Furutan's family left their native city of Sabzivir in Khurasan, Persia, in 1914 and settled in Ashkhabad, Russia. As a youth he became an active member of the local Baha'i community and, whilst still in his teens, became a teacher in its school. In 1926 he won a scholarship to the University of Moscow to study education and child psychology. In 1930 he returned to Iran where he established a school for Baha'i children in one of the villages. Dr. Furutan was appointed as principal of the Tarbiyat school for boys until its closure in 1934, and wrote study books for Baha’i children’s classes which are still in use. In April 1934 he was elected to the newly formed National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Iran and served as its secretary until the passing of Shoghi Effendi in November of 1957. Dr. Furutan was appointed a Hand of the Cause by Shoghi Effendi, in the first contingent of Hands, in December 1951. In 1957 he became one of the nine custodial Hands of the Cause in Haifa. Dr. Furutan’s Persian publications are extensive, and several have been translated into English. (Adapted from ‘A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baha’i Faith’, by Peter Smith)(See also Baha'i Calendar - this month in history)

From the Universal House of Justice:

April 20, 2011

Keith Ransom-Kehler with Zikrullah Khadem

Keith Ransom-Kehler with Zikrullah Khadem (right) and Salim Nounou. Mrs. Ransom-Kehler is holding a picture of Shoghi Effendi, whom she and Zikrullah Khadem both served with exemplary devotion