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- PIONEER INTRODUCTION OF THE BAHA’I FAITH TO THE NETHERLANDS B LouIsE DRAKE WRIGHT
the Council of the League of Nations ratified the selection of Great
Britain, a powerful nation long experienced in dealing with minority peoples, as the holder of the mandate of this former part of the
Turkish Empire. Third in time of influence have been the European governmental policies of expulsion, which not only force the most
thoroughly assimilated Jews in the world to seek residence elsewhere, but unwittingly encourage fulfillment of Palestinian destiny.
International attempts to help all refugees may have a similar effect with relation to the million or more Jews that the Holy Land may
yet gradually provide for.
3) The recent re-invigoration of the world Jewish community, with redirection of effort, which is in fact but one of the evidences of
world-wide upheaval and change, is caused by a new
The forces of disturbance appearing in the world
in the eighteenth century and the new hopes offered by the nineteenth century included in their orbit of change the breaking of barriers
between Jewish and Aryan people, destroying the old status quo and affecting the life of
Israel as we have described. The Jewish emancipation, the subsequent disappointment and the dawn of revival within Israel, were thus
part of the larger unrest and transformation of which Bahá’u’lláh wrote many years before humanity realized the nature of the
tremendous extent of the change. “The world’s equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new
World Order,” He announced. “Mankind’s ordered life bath been revolutionized through the agency of this unique, this wondrous
System—the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed.”3
This new spirit in the world, as the rays of the eternal Sun of Life, is penetrating to the heart of Jew and Gentile alike. It brings the day
of judgment, it encourages the hopes for peace, it relights the fires of spiritual life in souls that are begging for progress.
It is the Sun of the Word of God, revealed to the peoples of the centuries by such Manifestations of God’s Will as Abraham, Moses,
Buddha, Zoroaster, and the Christ, that Word of Life which was before Abraham, in the beginning with God, the Creator, that
effulgence of the attributes of divinity. This sun is again shining today. In the early days of the Christian dispensation its light assisted
the Jews, though they knew it not, to retrieve a portion of their ancient glory in the environs of old Babylon, and in the days of
Muhammadan ascendancy to achieve notable intellectual attainments in spiritual contact with the Moors of Spain just prior to the
sweep of the Inquisition. And in such manner today it has touched the hearts and minds of many Jewish leaders with its radiance and,
though the effect may still be in the realms of the unconscious, it is nevertheless productive of new hope, courage and inspiration.
This brings us to our fourth point:
OF GLORY COMES
Bahâ’u’lláh (Glory of God), Himself claiming to be a Prophet of the Ancient Word of God, delegated to kindle the eternal fire in the
souls of men, fulfilling the prophecies of all the scriptures, is reflecting the
Hayes, Canton, Political and Social History of Modern Europe, p.
THE BAHA’T WORLD
sun of God’s Will and Love to the world. He will unite by the power reflected through Him all streams of human progress in a great
ocean of understanding and brotherly cooperation. It is He who will redeem Israel.
The follower of Bahi’u’llah who is gladdened by His message, sees in His teachings a divine guidance suited to the needs of this age,
a divine assistance for deliverance from selfishness and greed, ignorance and prejudice, poverty and contention. In this dispensation is
the Covenant of Abraham fulfilled. God renewed that Covenant through a succession of prophets, expanding its domain of influence
with the growth of social communication and the enlarging of the circle of spiritual consciousness in the human race. Specifically and
primarily it was a Covenant with the Hebrew people, but in reality it was a compact whose participants were destined to increase until
Abraham’s spiritual seed should become “as the dust of the earth.” It has been an everlasting Covenant with a chosen people; also it
has been kept alive and fruitful for those nations brought into its horizon of influence through successive Revealers of God’s Word,
such as Jesus and Muhammad, who in their turn proclaimed the validity of the Jewish dispensation and foretold its ultimate fulfillment
in a universal brotherhood of men.
The Abraham of the spirit who left the idols of Chaldean materialism and imagination and tradition to sojourn and to teach in Palestine
was a Divine Messenger. He became the father of a great physical race that was to enjoy a special mission in history; He likewise
became the spiritual father from whom countless generations of Israelites of the spirit have come, for it is true that wherever men of
whatever race have acted with love for God and man they have been one as keepers of God’s eternal Covenant. Abraham, in another
and less understood manner, was forbear of a great line of prophets, their spiritual predecessor and their physical ancestor. Isaiah and
Jeremiah were Jews. Jesus, whose supreme spiritual genius gave Him sovereignty in the entire western world, was born of a Jewish
mother through the line of Isaac and David. Muhammad’s descent from Abraham can be traced to Ishmael, son of Abraham. The Báb,
Bahá’is recognize the Herald (or the Elijah) of the Bahá’i era, was a direct heir of the House of Hashim and descendant thus of the
Arabian Prophet and through Him, of Abraham. Bahá’u’lláh was heir of royal Persian blood coming from Zoroaster, ancient Prophet
of Iran; and also through His mother was a descendant of Abraham through Katura and Jesse. Literally, by the seed of Abraham have
the nations been blessed.
Through this seed of divine guidance will the dream of world brotherhood come true. Although practical commands of the Hebrew
Covenant were intended for the Jews alone, and such peoples as might join them in the Mosaic dispensation, the inner reality of that
Covenant, the specific spiritual teaching, was to remain the law forever because in its essence it is eternal, applicable to every age.
Each new prophet renewed its potency, recalled for His special people its meaning and its promise. Each prophet, including
Bahá’u’lláh who today as the Great Michael (Dan. 12) speaks for the whole of humanity, re-proclaimed Abraham’s revelation from
God: “I am the Almighty God:
walk before Me, and be Thou perfect.” Each Prophet abrogated those ordinances of His predecessor which were no longer adequate or
suitable to meet the needs of an evolving humanity.
Under the guidance of this new universal Messenger, the “Desire of the nations,” the meaning of the service to be rendered by God’s
peculiar people in uniting humanity assumes magnitude even beyond their vision. It is true that each great religious order of the world
sees itself as a chosen vehicle not only for the most effective transmission of God’s spirit to men, but also God’s plan for universal
salvation in an eventual establishment of world harmony, justice and peace. Although the faithful believers in each of these groups
could not all be right in their understanding on this matter, the error may lie, not so much in their vision of a future civilization
motivated by religion, as in the desire which would exalt any one specific institutional name, rather than proclaim the spirit of love
which gave each birth under
REJOICE, 0 ISRAEL
whatever name was appropriate to the time. Inasmuch as this spirit of love becomes renewed and re-lived by all peoples, all will
become instruments of God’s purpose in building a Kingdom of Righteousness on earth, whether under a new name or an old. In this
program Israel will do her part. The return to Palestine is already effecting her regeneration as a nation with a positive and dynamic
Seeing the importance of this function which Israel may serve in the world, Albert Einstein has written: “I am a national Jew in the
sense that I demand the preservation of the Jewish nationality, as of every other.
But my Zionism does not exclude cosmopolitan views.
. . .
I believe that every Jew has duties toward his co-religionists.
Through the return of the Jews to Palestine, and so to a normal and healthy economic hfe, Zionism involves a creative function, which
should enrich mankind at large.”
There seems, however, to be a more distinctive mission than this reserved for the Jews, which does not nullify, but enhances the
significance of the present restoration and aids the cause of world regeneration. From Old Testament wisdom we may learn that the
Jewish national home is to be the center of the new world civilization. Whatever of good Palestine will do for the Jews themselves as
one aid to rebirth in this transition era before that civilization is firmly established, whatever of worth the Jews may give to the world
as a creative nation once more, above all of this, and because of this perhaps, they are now laying the substructure of the world capital.
When the federation of nations is achieved, as Bahã’u’lláh assures us it will be, this people, capable of great mental accomplishment,
and of supreme love, self-sacrifice and forgiveness, will become the hosts of all the races and religions which were for so long
inhospitable to them. For it is in Palestine that Occident and Orient find their natural meeting ground; it is in Palestine from the
growing metropolis of Haifa-Acca today that the
vitalizing forces of Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation radiate to all the earth; it is in the Holy Land, indicates Shoghi Effendi, where will be
established “the nerve center of a world civilization, the focus where the unifying forces of life will converge”; it is from this historic
place that the Branch of guidance in this Day of Jehovah will be the standard of the nations, and the prophecies of princely authority,
like unto that of David, be fulfilled.
Israel will complete the superstructure in Palestine when the universal impulse of creation, released through Bahá’u’lláh, becomes the
conscious living core of her own unity throughout the world, when through it she is once again at one with the primordial motives of
her being as a people illumined, when as Zion (at Jerusalem) rejoicing with Carmel (at Haifa) she may give of her talents to the
service of mankind. Because of the fact that co-eva1 with this evolution will come the spiritual maturity of other peoples, Israel will
find in the rising commonwealth of nations—the
—that her problems of how to hve in a non- Jewish world has been solved, for her as a nation, or for all Jews who in foreign lands
prefer to move the way of ultimate assimilation. This, because the age in which we live will recognize “its new and living Word.”
Injustice and prejudice will vanish and the Jew, wherever he lives, will become known for his virtues. “Thou shalt no more be termed
. . .
And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory.
. . .
Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of
the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.”14 Under the unclouded Sun of a new revelation, when religion once again
directs the conscious efforts of men, the new Jew will be received into a joyous international citizenship. His folk religion will have
been fully expanded to meet the radically changed needs of the time.
Then will there be singing on Mount Zion.
Some of the Bahá’is of Bombay, India gathered to bid farewell to their indefatigable fellow-worker, Miss Martha Root
on the occasion of
her departure for Australia and New Zealand. (Miss Root holds a bouquet of flowers.)
THE late winter of 1932 an inspiring letter from Shoghi Effendi, the revered and beloved guardian of the Bahã’i Cause,
reached me in Brookline, Massachusetts, saying, “I trust that your health is sufficiently restored to enable you to resume with
enthusiasm and vigor your services to the Cause in Europe. Central and Southeastern Europe are the fields to which I would like you
to direct your attention.”
On April 13th, after saying goodbye to my beloved sister, Mrs. George Lewis Nelson, and all my friends, I sailed on the
for France, and proceeded immediately to Geneva where I found pleasant hospitality and met persons of interest at Maison
Internationale. Attending some sessions of the League of Nations, frequenting the Bahá’i Bureau where activities were directed by
dear Mrs. Emogene Hoagg, and telling the Bahá’i Message, occupied the time while awaiting further instructions from Shoghi
Effendi. A letter soon arrived informing me of a new arrangement regarding his plans for the spread of the Faith. He had been able to
provide a sufficient number of teachers to take care of the work in Central and Southeastern Europe, and therefore I was instructed to
“Concentrate on North Germany and Holland.
. . .
Holland is a totally new country to the Cause, so it will be true pioneer service,” he
This change of plan was very welcome as it would allow me to meet again some of the dear friends in Germany, made during a
previous teaching journey through that country in 1930.
As to Holland, the land of peace, glorious paintings, windmills, and tulips, I had no affiliations whatever. However, knowing that
Bahá’u’llah would “pave the way” for those in His service, high hopes arose that
assistance would be at hand, and soon doors began to open.
A most interesting Enghsh woman had a room near mine at Maison Internationale, Miss Mary Eaton, well known in European
countries through her compassionate prison reform achievements. She had heard much of the Bahá’i Cause through Lady Blomfield,
whose devotion to the Faith and to the establishment of the “New World Order” on earth, is well known in England.
Miss Eaton, upon hearing of the change in my immediate future plans, took a lively interest in introducing me, by letter, to a clever
young friend, Miss Hildtsant Kastner of Leipsig, the city selected as my first destination after leaving Geneva. This young lady spent
part of each year in Holland and therefore could inform me of all things, religious, social, or financial important to know, in order to
avoid awkward situations. This friendly aid along an unknown path was heartening, and dispelled all care as I started on my northern
journey—speaking of the Cause to groups of persons at Leipsig, Berlin, Rostock, and Hamburg—then on to Amsterdam, arriving July
As was my custom in foreign lands, I first sought the American Consul to make known my purpose in coming to Holland, toward
which he showed a kindly interest. Through his advice, it became possible to become a member of the only woman’s club in Holland,
the beautiful, centrally-placed Nederlandsche Vrouwenclub on Keizersgracht, which was bordered on either side with immense trees,
broadly branched, that added charm and grace to the reflections in the canal of the stately old houses.
Because the Vrouwenclub was closely associated with the Lyceum Club of London, to which I had belonged when living in
PIONEER INTRODUCTION OF THE BAHA’I
FAITH TO THE
LouIsE DRAKE WRIGHT
THE BAHA’I WORLD
England for several years, I was admitted to the club with no further questioning.
It soon became evident that staying in this well known place was helpful to my work in every respect as well as less expensive than
living in hotels.
Being a stranger with no letters of introduction to anyone in that country, and having come to present a totally unknown, all-inclusive
religious movement, made progress very slow.
However, before long I became acquainted with some kind and delightful young Quakers who, having heard that a world peace
movement was being introduced for the first time to Holland, came to the club several times and brought some of their acquaintances
to investigate the teachings of Bahâ’u’lláh and were much impressed with His ideas of bringing to pass the unity of mankind and the
establishment of world peace and federation of nations.
Eventually an invitation came to attend a meeting, held in the drawing room of one of these ladies, and I was cordially invited to give
to them the message I had come to Holland to deliver.
After I had finished speaking, all showed intelligent interest through the questions that were asked, and some of them wished to know
where Bahá’i books could be found and I directed them to Miss Lena de Beer’s delightful and choice little book shop on Lange
Voorhout, Tke Hague.
Several persons whom I met remonstrated with me, in a kindly manner, for bringing such a thought-inspiring movement to Holland at
that time of year, “when all people of capacity seek the country, the sea, the sand dunes, the forest, to rest completely from all serious
considerations of life.” They urged me to return to Holland when those who were internationally minded would have come back to
their winter activities.
In the spring of 1933, before I left America for a second attempt to promote knowledge of the Bahã’I Revelation in the Netherlands, a
letter from Shoghi Effendi arrived containing this encouraging and welcome message:
is being translated into Dutch
and ere long will be printed. It will serve as a splendid ally to
you in your pioneering endeavors in that land.”
Shortly after this I was favored by receiving two letters of introduction to Holland which opened doors of opportunity
in many directions. One from the “National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahâ’is of the United States and Canada” which
stated, “We learn that at the request of Skoghi Effendi you are going to Holland to render service to the Cause of
Bah4’u’llãh. As the country of Holland had important political ties with the United States in the days of New
Amsterdam, so we hope that spiritual bonds will join these two free, independent, and democratic countries for
common service to international peace and world order.” Mr. Horace Holley, the secretary, wrote and sent me several
names of internationally minded persons and societies that might be of service, particularly at The Hague.
There also came a letter of introduction to all librarians of the Netherlands from a much valued family friend of many
years standing, Dr. Herbert Putnam, the head of the Library of Congress, Washington, D. C., who wrote that although
he was not personally affiliated with the Cause I was undertaking to proclaim, he had great respect for
Fortified by all this thoughtful assistance, I sailed away on the S.S. Ile de France, caught the “North Star Express” train
for Amsterdam, and was once more happily established at the Nederlandsche Vrouwenclub on March
After inquiry as to the manner of presenting a letter of introduction in Holland, the first venture was made in this
direction by telephoning to the head of the Universiteit Bibliothecaris, Prof. Dr.
S. Theissen. Upon hearing that I
wished to present a book to his library concerning a world peace movement little known among his people, also that I
possessed a letter from Dr. Herbert Putnam, head of the Library of Congress of Washington, introducing me to the
librarians of Holland, he responded enthusiastically and in perfect English, “I know all about Dr. Putnam’s notable
library achievements. Will you not come to see me? Can you come now? I am at leisure.”
Taking the English edition of the book,
INTRODUCTION OF THE FAITH TO THE NETHERLANDS 879
then being published in the Dutch language by Nijgh & Von Ditmar, which I hoped to place in his library, and calling a taxicab, I was
soon in the presence of an elderly man of noble aspect, cultivated and courteous manner, to whom I offered my two letters of
He sat opposite me at a large desk and listened with rapt attention to an outline of the history of the sacrificial lives of the three great
Founders of the Cause, of its principles and universal aims, of its world-wide expansion through the wealth of Bahá’i literature,
through the effect of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s extensive missionary journeys in Europe, England, and throughout the United States, from
Boston to San Francisco, and through its present day consolidation under the direction of Shoghi Effendi, who is the interpreter of
Bahá’u’lláh’s Word and is adjusting His laws of world unity to the needs of humanity through Bahá’i institutions that are functioning
all around the world.
From time to time, Dr. Theissen expressed his approval and interest in what was being said through exclamations such as “How
extraordinary! How timely these principles!” After which he telephoned to Miss
A. C. Gebhard, the director of the large public library on Keizersgracht, saying he had just been hstening to a world peace message in
which he felt she would be interested, and arranged for me to meet her at her library.
As I arose to depart, Dr. Theissen said, very quietly and earnestly, “That a movement so important, of which I have never even heard,
could have arisen, spread its influence throughout the world, flourished since the year 1844 and become established to an
acknowledged degree that warrants a letterhead such as that upon this letter of introduction, amazes me! (It was the letter from the
National Spiritual Assembly.) Thank you for bringing me so beautiful a message this morning. What may I do to assist in making it
known to Holland?”
Pausing a moment to consider this generous and unexpected offer, it occurred to me to ask if it would be possible for him to give me a
list of the names of the persons to whom so universal a movement would appeal.
This request was fully complied with in a few days, and upon the list were found names of the directors and members of peace
societies, heads of international bureaus, lecturers and writers, some of the librarians, Theosophists, Esperantists, and private persons
devoting their time and energies to the bettering of human conditions and furthering peace relations. In a good many cases the attitude
of mind to be encountered was given—religious, scientific, philosophical or atheistical. As the Bahá’i Revelation speaks to all phases
of hfe, this knowledge made an easier approach to strangers.
When I went to see Miss Gebhard at her library I found a woman of great sincerity and unusual capacity of heart and mind. After
hearing to some degree the principles and aims of the Cause, she asked if I would come with her a short distance to include a friend in
all that she was hearing, Miss Clara Nayers, head of the women’s department of the Rotterdam Bank, “one of Holland’s most brilliant
women, very influential in all kinds of progressive movements and clubs, and devoted to the education and advancement of women.”
Miss Nayers was ready to receive us and there followed a highly animated conversation during which Miss Nayers made known that
she specially desired to learn what solution for the economic problems Bahã’u’llah’s Teachings held.
I had taken with me Shoghi Effendi’s
and Mr. Horace Holley’s
World Economy of
were given to her, and later she received
The New Era.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His
Will and Testament,
proclaimed that after His own departure, a succession of Guardians would for a period of
one thousand years direct and administer the Bahá’i principles and teachings of Bahá’u’llah for the needs of an evolving mankind. He
named His grandson, Shoghi Effendi, as the one who would first occupy this station of high service to humanity, to whom all the
believers must turn and whom they must obey as the inspired interpreter of the Word, the focal point through whose interpretation the
House of Justice will come into being, and the true federation of nations be established on earth,
THE BAHA’I WORLD
erected upon the pillars of divine love and justice.
‘Will and Testament
is a document known as the most unique of its kind in all history. None of the past Divine Prophets has
safeguarded the pristine purity of His Revelation and its institutions by so definite an arrangement to protect its teachings from man-
made interpretations which have in the past obscured the Word uttered by each Manifestation of God.
Our mighty Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, gives to the Bahã’i Faith the sign of its present vitality, the assurance of its steady advance; and
through. him shines the living flame of its celestial power, “As the embryonic World Order of Bahá’u’lláh takes shape and unfolds,”
before our vision.
When traveling in various countries, where Shoghi Effendi had sent me to make known the Faith, I became aware that there were in
the world sonie misguided persons, who were announcing the Bahá’i Cause, but for selfish purposes of their own, were denying the
need of Guardianship. This great error has caused confusion in certain places, and I began to look about me to ascertain if any of this
disloyalty had shown itself in Holland and prayed that I might find any who had been misled by so crippling an omission.
Presently I met separately and talked at length with six truth-seeking persons who, when taking their summer holiday in another
country, had there heard Bahã’i lectures wherein all information put forth concerning it ended in the death of the three great Founders.
This cessation of truth concerning its further progress left those who had heard the lectures with little inclination to investigate deeply
the Bahã’i literature, as it seemed to hold no more assurance of fulfillment on earth than the prophetic dispensations of the past had
displayed. The great ideals, principles and laws seemed to be left hanging in mid-air awaiting practical application from some master
Upon learning that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had appointed His grandson, Shoghi Effendi, as His successor, the Guardian of the Faith and the
interpreter of the sacred writings, and that he was living at Haifa, Palestine, erecting an administrative structure applicable to the
entire world through which Bahâ’u’llãh’s design for a New World Order could become a reality, these earnest men and
women began to catch a glimmer of the future stupendous possibilities lying within Bahã’u’lláh’s Revelation.
During this second visit to Holland, through using my letters of introduction and through the kindness of those whom I
had previously known, I met and talked of the Cause with many delightful and thoughtful persons who showed varying
degrees of interest. Most of them were too much occupied with their own demanding undertakings to have time for
further investigation, although a few who were looking for the appearance of a new star in the East, approached the
Cause with great reverence and began to study the Teachings and inquire into their meaning.
The magnificent architecture of the Cause is too vast for anyone to grasp without deep and careful study of
Bahã’u’llãh’s great writings and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s interpretations of His Word. Lacking this, men are unable to grasp the
indispensable need of the Bahá’i plan for the establishment of a World Commonwealth, with laws that will solve the
entire range of human problems in this latter day—religious, national, social, racial, economic.
When spending the winters of 1906-7 in Alassio, Italy, I often met the late Professor Lewis Campbell, professor of
Greek in the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, for many years, who was an eminent pupil of Dr. Benjamin Jowett,
late master of Balliol College and Professor of Greek in the University of Oxford, also Doctor of Theology of the
University of Leyden, Holland.
Because of Professor Campbell’s profound spiritual and intellectual attainments he was highly honored as one who
spoke with truthful authority and his noted translations of Greek poetry endeared him to all. From him I first heard of
the Bahá’i Revelation, the significance of which had been indelibly impressed upon him by Dr. Jowett’s deep
convictions concerning it, and I wrote down some very telling sentences which Professor Campbell quoted from Dr.
Jowett’s words to him.
INTRODUCTION OF THE FAITH TO THE NETHERLANDS 881
“This Bahá’i Movement is the greatest light that has come into the world since the time of Jesus Christ. You must watch it and never
let it out of your sight. It is too great and too near for this generation to comprehend. The future alone can reveal its import.”
During conversations with Professor Campbell upon the vital importance of this recent outpouring of the Holy Spirit from God upon
mankind I became firmly convinced of its divine origin and high destiny.
Finding that there were a great many openings at The Hague for spreading the Bahá’i Faith and having been there a number of times
to meet inquirers as to its meaning, on May 4th I left Amsterdam and settled into a pleasant pension on Sophiallan No. 2, in that city.
Upon my list of names was that of the Countess von Herdt, known in many lands as a writer and promoter of peace relations, her
notable work for the advancement of youthful education and her able translations into various languages.
When I wrote asking if she would allow me to talk with her of the Bahá’i Peace Movement, an invitation to have tea at Bloemendaal
was the response, and upon arriving at her house I was welcomed by one whose face was alight with high purpose and attainment. She
opened the conversation by saying that long ago through her friendship with Dr. August Forel, the well-known scientist of
Switzerland, she had become much attached to Bahá’u’llah’s Cause. During years of correspondence he had tried to persuade her to
put aside the lesser peace societies and center her entire attention upon the universal peace Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, as she was in perfect
accord with His basic teachings. However, the work for peace that she had entered into had entirely engrossed her attention and
energies as it included an enormous correspondence that was world wide. As she spoke she opened the doors of a cabinet which
contained rows of letter folders completely filled.
It was a happiness to talk with one who had so great a knowledge of Bahá’u’llah and His Divine mission. I came from the Countess
von Herdt refreshed and grateful.
She kindly gave suggestions that assisted in making the Cause known.
I owe to Madame H.
Romeijn, who devotes much time to furthering humanitarian and peace activities, a debt of
gratitude for her many kind attentions, friendship and helpful ideas as to spreading the Bahá’i teachings. She gave a
pleasant dinner party at her house, where I met Dr. Romeijn and their gifted daughter, Miss Jean Marie, and others who
desired to know more of Bahã’u’lláh’s great Message to the world.
Through my having an introduction to Miss M. L. Fledderus, director of the International Industrial Institute, a meeting
was arranged and I went to her at Scheveningen and found her to be a delightful and gifted person with comprehensive
outlook who immediately showed appreciation of the Bahá’i ideals. She was exceedingly helpful on several occasions
and showed sympathetic understanding of the difficulties to be encountered when introducing an unknown cause to
She was deeply engaged in work that had to do with Herr Dr. Otto Neurath’s great activities and extraordinary
educational charts that make plain without words the industrial and other conditions of the world. So scientific and
convincing are these charts that the most ignorant of men can understand them immediately. Dr. Neurath seems to have
a mind similar to that of the late Sir Patrick Geddes, for years professor of botany at Edinburgh University, Scotland,
whose selflessness, originality and creative ability in aiding humanity amounted to genius. He loved and reverenced
‘Abdu’l-Bahf. When England was honored by ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s presence, Sir Patrick Geddes arranged for Him to
deliver addresses in Edinburgh, and he later visited Him at His home in Haifa.
What I had been told of Madame W. Wijnaendts Francken-Dyserinck’s capacities and work, attracted me some time
before I met her. She had established the Girl Scouts throughout Holland as well as the Soroptomist Clubs and took
part in international affairs and peace activities. Her name was upon that invaluable list provided me through Dr.
Theissen’s effort. She arranged by telephone to visit me and expressed much appreciation of what she heard of the
THE BAHA’I WORLD
and kindly asked what she might do to help make it known. She was about to start for America to attend the Century of Progress
Exhibition as one of the International Corps and was to deliver speeches to large audiences.
Madame Wijnaendts-Francken took notes as I tried to make known to her the chief aims of the Cause and upon seeing for the first
time a photograph of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a glow of surprised admiration swept over her face. The beauty of a picture of the Bahi’i Temple
then added to her interest and she exclaimed, “I now see what may be done for this cause. I will go to the Temple, write an article
about it which will come out in a Holland magazine, with reproductions of these photographs. Publishers always accept what I write
of interest when in foreign lands.”
Madame Jacob Ter Meulen, wife of the director of the library at the Peace Palace, came to see me in response to a note I had written
her husband telling him of the letter of introduction to Holland librarians that Dr. Herbert Putnam had given me.
Dr. Ter Meulen was ill and wished to see me as soon as his health permitted. Madame Ter Meulen told of their delightful friendship
with Dr. Putnam when they were staying in Washington, D. C., some years ago, and of the work Dr. Putnam and Dr. Ter Meulen had
done together in the library.
One afternoon Madame Ter Meulen asked me to meet a friend, Miss Dekker, who had, when making a visit in Philadelphia, the
United States, become much interested in the Bahá’i teaching through a woman whose name had escaped her memory but whom she
vividly remembered as a most lovable and remarkable person, and who had given her books about the Cause that were still in her
possession. Miss Dekker made me acquainted with an American woman, Mrs. Cornelius van der Hoogt, hying at The Hague, who
invited me to have tea. The conversation first centered about dear Miss Juliet Thompson of New York City, who had aroused her
interest in the Cause by taking her to bear an address given by ‘Abdu’l-Bahã at Ascension Church, when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was in
America in 1912.
Mrs. van der Hoogt spoke of the beloved Master with loving reverence and heard with
interest of the Administrative activities. When I arose to go she led me into another large room to see a graceful and beautiful portrait
of herself that Miss Thompson had painted.
As midsummer approached the cities were so deserted that I felt inchned to return before long to America. The directors of the
principal libraries in Amsterdam and at The Hague had hstened with courteous attention to Bahá’u’lláh’s Revelation and accepted,
with expressions of pleasure, the Dutch edition of
The New Era,
also Bahá’i booklets, with promises to place them on the book
shelves where they would be accessible to the public.
On June 19th I sailed for home on the S.S. Ile de France.
As the winter of 1934 approached a letter from Shoghi Effendi arrived asking me to resume my work of “service to His Cause in
The first week in January found me ready and eager to carry out our beloved Guardian’s wishes and upon reaching The Hague my
work proceeded much as it had before, going from person to person and at times speaking to drawing room audiences, where the
Message received close attention and usually a few of those present asked to see me again to talk further about it.
Through correspondence I had promised to communicate with Madame WijnaendtsFrancken upon reaching The Hague, which I did,
and an invitation from her arrived asking me to dinner, that we might have opportunity to talk quietly of the Cause.
Shortly afterward she arranged to have me speak at her house to a number of her friends and there followed a happy tea party during
which I talked informally with a few at a time who wanted to ask questions, and all expressed satisfaction in having received so
universal a message.
In a few days I received a note from a man whom I had met at Madame WijnaendtsFrancken’s and who had shown keen interest in all
that he bad heard, which said, “With renewed thanks for a thought-provoking speech and conversation.”
Madame Wijnaendts-Francken fulfilled her promise and wrote an article about tb2
INTRODUCTION OF THE FAITH TO THE NETHERLANDS 883
The Bahá’i Summer School of Australia and New Zealand
Community Picnic held during the 1939 session at “Bolton Place,”
Yerrinbool, New South Wales.
Faith which was published by Nijgh & von Ditmer in
April 7th, 1934, illustrated as she had suggested with a
photograph of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and of the two Bahá’i Temples in existence, one at ‘Ishqãbád, Russia, and another, now in construction,
near Chicago, the United States.
Sometimes when I had been speaking, surprising comments followed. One man after listening to a talk given in his friend’s house,
when introduced to me later in the afternoon, remarked with conviction and a humorous glance, “You were a brave woman to come to
a stubborn country like this, to introduce a new peace movement. We are the greatest arguers in the world. We argue all day and all
night, and for what? To learn the truth? Not at all! Each argues to prove to himself that his standpoint is correct and each feels himself
Another man said he never made efforts to try to convince a Hollander of views other than those he already held, that he had
given it up long ago. These amusing remarks were made, I imagine, that I might not become disheartened.
Although there was no Bahá’i Assembly formed through my Holland endeavors, there was, however, what might be termed a network
of the knowledge of its existence and aims spread out. Many were intellectually glad to be informed of its history and principles. A
few caught the vision of its divine significance to all mankind as the fulliliment of the promise of all ages.
In April the Bahf’i Publishing Committee kindly responded to my request for books to present to the libraries, and when, just before
my return to America on April 2 1st, I delivered several books into the hands of each director of the libraries, they were welcomed
with words of cordial appreciation and interest.
The list of libraries in Holland where Bahã’i Literature is to be found is appended to this article.
LIST OF LIBRARIES IN HOLLAND
CONTAINING BAHA’I LITERATURE
Amsterdam Gemente Universitait Bibli othecaris—Prof Dr.
S. Theissen, Singel
Bahd’u’lldh and The New Era—By
Esslemont (Dutch translation).
Book of Certitxde
Translated from Iranian by Shoghi
THE BAHA’i WORLD
The “Rose Garden” children’s class held during the 1939 session of the
Bahá’i Summer School at “Bolton Place,” Yerrinbool, New South
3. The Bahd’i World—A Biennial Inter nationa Record.
4. Dawn Breakers—Nabil’s Narrative—
Translated from franian by Shoghi
visit to the United States in 1912.
Openbare Leeszaal en Bibliotheck—Director, Miss Anna C. Gebhard, Keizersgracht
Baha”u’lla’h and The New Era—By Dr.
E. Esslemont (Dutch translation).
2. Bahd’i World (1930-32)—A Biennial International Record.
3. Some Answered Questions—By ‘Abdu’lBahá.
4. Divine Philosophy—From addresses delivered in Paris, 1910-11.
Konimklijke Bibleotheck-Bibliothecares— Dr. Mohuysen, Lange Voorhout. Promulgation of Universal Peace—
Discourses of ‘Abdu’l—Bahã during His visit to the United States in 1912.
Some Answered Questions—By ‘Abdu’lBahá.
Bibliotheck von het Vredispalais—Bibliothecaris, Dr. Jacob Ter Meulen.
Bahd’u’lldh and The New Era—By
E. Esslemont (Dutch translation).
Translated from the Persian by Shoghi Effendi.
Narrative— Translated from the Persian by Shoghi Effendi.
Dames Leeszaal en Bibliotheck—Lange Voorhout No. 3.
Bahd’u’lla’h and The New Era—By
‘Abdu’l-Bahá during His visit to the United States in 1912.
addresses delivered in Paris, 1910-11.
5. The Baha”I World—A
Biennial International Record.
Openbare Leeszaal en Bibliotheck—Bibliothecaris, Dr. H. E. Greve.
BahcI’u’lldh and The New Era—By
E. Esslemont (Dutch translation).
Translated from Iranian by Shoghi Effendi.
Baha”i’, The Spirit of the Age—By
Mr. Horace Holley.
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