April 14, 2011

Albert Hall - President of Bahai Temple Unity and Chairman of Annual Convention of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada – 1910 to 1914

Albert Hall

Albert Hall will ever be remembered for his services in the early development of the Bahai Temple Unity, the body entrusted with the building of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar in America.

From 1910 to 1914, Albert H. Hall was selected each year as chairman of the Annual Convention; he was elected a member of the Baha’i Temple Unity during the same period, and was chosen as its president in 1911, which position he held up to and during the year 1914.

At the Convention of 1910, when Mr. Hall was unanimously chosen Chairman, he said: "God chooses the weak things to confound the mighty. You have made the choice of a weak instrument. I feel very weak and lowly, as nothing, and I would not bear the responsibility of this place were I not possessed with the sense of my own emptiness, seeking only the in pouring of His Spirit, strength and wisdom. This Convention but now called to order, has been in conscious, silent session for several hours. There is no need of any introduction. The opening of this Convention was sung in the heart of every one of you who turned his face to the East this morning, and if you did not then catch the message of love and unity in all its fullness, it has beautifully sounded in your ears as the inspiring Tablet has been read [refers to Tablet regarding Mashriqu’l-Adhkar received in March, 1910] There is no other word to be uttered. It is for us now to address ourselves directly to the work in hand. We are here representing the Baha’i Assemblies throughout America and Canada, to bring home the substantial offerings of our sacrifice, to encourage each other with the report of our work not to boast or overstate it. We must face His Truth just as it is. Do not let us delude ourselves. They are the worst deluded in the world who are self deluded. We are not afraid nor ashamed of the situation, but of ourselves that is all. Let us seek knowledge with the light of Truth and the Truth shall make us free."

Enfeebled by ill health, nevertheless, he determined to make the journey from Minneapolis to New York City to attend the Annual Convention in 1920 although his physician warned him it might hasten the hour of death. He paid the price, and everyone present at the Feast of Ridvan will remember the ring of his voice, though feeble, when he cried out to the assembled delegates and friends: "Arise, shine, for thy light has come and the glory of God has risen upon thee!"  (Star of the West, vol. 11)


Albert Heath Hall was born on July 11th, 1858, in Alexandria, Licking County, Ohio, son of Rev. Levi and Lucinda Mitchell Hall; he came to Minnesota in 1873 and received his early education at Austin; he entered the University of Minnesota in 1875, remaining in school there until the end of his junior year; he was a member of the Chi Psi and Phi Delta Phi Fraternities. While attending the University of Minnesota he earned his livelihood by working in a sawmill, and later, worked for the first telephone company organized in the Twin Cities, stringing the first line of wire in the city of Minneapolis; he afterwards was night telephone operator while attending his classes at college.

After leaving the University of Minnesota, Mr. Hall entered the law office of Judge Frederick Hooker as a law student, and a short time later, accepted a position in the Treasury Department at Washington, D. C. and while there studied law at Columbian University, which later became the George Washington University; he graduated from Columbian in 1884. From 1884 to 1920, he was actively engaged in the practice of law at Minneapolis, and tried some thirty five hundred contested cases; he died May 25th, 1920, after an illness which was critical for only a few weeks, having been in poor health, however, for almost a year. He was survived by his wife and one daughter, Mrs. William L. Appleby, both of this city…

"Bert" Hall, as he was familiarly known throughout Hennepin County, was primarily and essentially the poor man's lawyer; no client was too mean, nor was his cause too small, but that Bert Hall gave him his untiring and unstinted effort; it made no difference whether the client had funds, or even prospects of receiving them, and it seemed as though the less the prospect of getting a fee, the more generously he gave of his brilliant mind and indefatigable energy; if he believed that his client's cause was just, that cause became the paramount matter with him and it took precedence over his self interest, his family and his friends.

Bert Hall lived and died practicing what he had always preached -- The Brotherhood of Man. (Star of the West, vol. 11)