Emogene Hoagg (1869-1945)
Henrietta Emogene Martin Hoagg - known to the Bahá'ís as Emogene - learned of the Bahá'í Faith in California in 1898 from Mrs. Phoebe Hearst, and after studying with Lua Getsinger became "the first confirmed believer in California."
In 1899, in Milan, she received her first Tablet from 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in acknowledgment of her acceptance of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. In 1900, she visited 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Haifa, and afterwards, at His suggestion, studied for a month with the outstanding Bahá'í scholar Mirza Abdu'l-Fadl in Port Sá'íd.
In 1903, in California, Mrs. Hoagg aided Helen S. Goodall and her daughter Ella in establishing weekly meetings in Oakland. In November 1907, Mrs. Goodall being absent, she represented California at a consultation called in Chicago for the purpose of initiating the building of the first Bahá'í House of Worship in the Western world. Her dedication prompted Mrs. Corinne True to write, "Emogene's flaming spirit of devotion was one of the pioneer pillars to accomplish that great step in the progress of the Faith in this country."
Throughout her Bahá'í life, until her health began to fail in 1944, Mrs. Hoagg was a devoted teacher of the Cause. She made a six-thousand-mile trip through Canada and Alaska with Marion Jack in 1919-1920, traveled throughout the United States, learned Spanish and taught in Havana, and, in accordance with 'Abdu'l-Bahá's instructions, returned to Rome and Florence to visit those to whom she, had introduced the Faith earlier.
In 1928, with Shoghi Effendi's approval, she joined Julia Culver in Geneva, Switzerland, to serve the International Bahá'í Bureau, subsequently becoming its co-treasurer. In 1931, Shoghi Effendi summoned Mrs. Hoagg to Haifa to type the lengthy manuscript of Nabil's The Dawn-Breakers which he was translating from Persian into English.
When she died in 1945 at the age of seventy-seven, Shoghi Effendi cabled; "Deeply grieved passing staunch, exemplary pioneer Faith, Emogene Hoagg. Record national international services unforgettable...."
Those who knew Emogene have written of her character, her abilities as a teacher, her spiritual vitality, her sense of humor. But most frequently they mention her firmness in the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh.
(World Order magazine, Winter 1971/1972)