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YORK WORLD’S FAIR
“From ten to ten, for over two months the Bahá’i Exhibit has been in operation at the World’s Fair. At the opening moment, April 30,
started work and since that time hundreds of thousands have passed by, some quickly, others stopping for varying periods. It is
truly a Visual Teaching, and it is a literal fulfilment of the old prophecy of ‘Writing on the Wall’ so that ‘He who runs may read.’ The
quotations in gold lettering are not only read but often copied, while the Temple model and the booklet furnish the other items of the
“The mass of people has been representative of all types of men, women and children, constituting a cross section of humanity, not
alone in this country but from all parts of the world.
“The small Temple leaflet, with quotations, is given to all, the large one, by Genevieve Coy, to those showing real interest. The
illustrated postcard is given sometimes and in special cases additional literature, although our Exhibit is listed as a Book Exhibit and
not a Religious Propa
CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES
ganda effort. Also, as seems advisable, information is given regarding other centers and groups, books, magazines, summer schools,
youth meetings, lectures at the New York Center, and addresses in other cities and countries. Many repercussions should result from
“The response has been as varied as the people. Some are interested, others indifferent, a very few openly antagonistic, scornful or
derisive—a heartening number enthusiastic but often pessimistic about the accomplishment of so beautiful a plan. It seems fair to state
that there has been a gratifying response in both interest and sympathy. Hundreds of interviews of varying duration have taken place,
lasting from two minutes to two hours, or even longer. Groups have listened intently to descriptions of the Temple and Teachings.
Influence has been exerted in many interviews from the case where a man declared that he had decided because of the visit to the
Booth not to carry out his intention to destroy himself to those who simply say ‘I will take this home and look it over.’
“Our approach, naturally, is from many angles: The Temple; its meaning, structure and beauty; World peace; Unity, Oneness of
Mankind; Fulfilment of Prophecies; Comparative Religions; End of an Era; God’s plan for the World; World Order; Group Evolution,
etc. The most effective statement, possibly, is that this Movement stands for the elimination of all prejudice, national, racial, religious
and class, or that the coming struggle will not be between the different religions but between religion and no- religion.
“The volumes of the BAHA’i
have been most useful, references to articles therein being of hourly occurrence, such as on
Esperanto Day, Czechoslovakian Day, etc. Also the translations of Dr. Esslemont’s book, and others, in the different languages arouse
“First in importance and size of the interested groups should, it would seem, be cited the immense number of people who know of or
live near the Temple, verifying ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s statement that it would be the Greatest Teacher. Even when the passers-by do not stop
one often hears:
‘I have seen that,’ ‘I live near that,’ ‘Isn’t it lovely?’ and such remarks from hour to hour. Many who know the building without being
aware of its purpose and meaning have promised to visit it.
“Then there are the many who have met Bahá’is and received the Message proving that work and effort are not wasted; vast numbers
of interested, keen and vital young people, especially young men, and the eager, bright-faced children who have listened in groups to
talks on the Temple promising to write essays about it in school and tell their teachers and parents of the experience.
“It seems just to say that fully as many men, especially young ones, as women, have shown sincere interest. Many of these have been
college students, some from Theological Seminaries. These have often said the Bahã’i Faith was taught in some of their courses and
an attempt was being made to have it included as the ninth great religion.
“Countless questions have been asked and answered to the best of the ability of the attendants. Only a small fraction can be referred to
here. These have included enquiries regarding healing, prayer, reincarnation, God and His Prophets, God’s reality and divinity, the
divinity of Bahá’u’llâh, if this is the Unity Movement, its relation to the Oxford Group, Christian Science, New Thought, if it is
Indian, Jewish, what God we worship, if we believe in Christ, the Bible and that Christ saved us from our sins through His blood, how
we pray, what our service is, if we are related to the Sufis, the Zoroastrians, how old the Movement is, how many Bahá’is there are,
how much the Temple has cost and will cost, when it wilh be finished, why religion has to come from the East, if this originated with
one of the ten sons of Abraham or one of his descendants, and many, many others, one of the most curious possibly being: ‘How much
Muliammedan Teaching will be included in your Laws and Precepts?’
“Over 70,000 booklets have been given out, to date, quite a number of people have signed the visitors’ book and will be followed up,
but this is not a thing the average person likes to do. Possibly they fear an annoying pursuit. A day-book is kept of a few of the
outstanding items of interest
THE BAHA’f WORLD
Bahá’i Exhibit, New York State Fair, Syracuse, 1939.
Temple Model on Display at a Florist’s Shop, San Francisco, California.
CURRENT BAHA’I ACTIVITIES
but this is very incomplete; the things happening too rapidly to allow of recording and there occur many duplications, of necessity.”
2. GOLDEN GATE INTERNATIONAL
“Two exhibits of the model of the Bahã’i Temple at the Golden Gate International Exposition held in San Francisco from February 18
created widespread interest in the principles of the Bahá’i Faith, and secured far-reaching and excellent
publicity. One of the exhibits, in the Bahá’i Booth conltructed in the Homel and Gardens Building, was viewed by thousands upon
thousands of people; approximately 100,000 people stopping to ask questions and over 50,000 pieces of Bahá’i literature being
distributed. The other exhibit was in the Exhibit Rooms of the Temple of Religion and Tower of Peace. At this exhibit it was
permissible to exhibit the model only. The Temple of Religion and Tower of Peace officers estimate over 500,000 people viewed the
various exhibits of religious objects, ancient and modern, and of practically all living Faiths, presented in the four large exhibit rooms
of this unique structure.
Bahd’I Booth, Homes and Gardens Building
“The model in the Homes and Gardens Building, was displayed in a special booth constructed and maintained by the Bahá’is of the
San Francisco Bay Region. This building was open every day from ten o’clock in the morning until ten o’clock in the evening.
Members of the several Bahá’i communities acted as attendants at the booth to distribute literature and answer the questions of those
interested and desirous of learning more of the Bahã’i Faith. For the technically-minded there was conveniently at hand a piece of the
ornamental carving of the Temple itself, to show the actual building material and intricate detail of the exterior ornamentation of the
Bahá’i House of Worship.
“The Booth, designed by Phoebe H. Brown, a young architect of San Francisco, is 7’/ x 19 feet. The simplicity of Miss Brown’s plan,
so skilfully adapted to the space available, has stirred the admiration of
every advertising and display expert who has viewed the exhibit; and repeated visits have been made by artists, architects, and artisans
of many crafts. The curve of the background and the graceful rise of the sand colored ramp have given to the shallow footage an
impression of surprising depth. Enthusiastically a well-known showman pointed out to his companions: ‘See the perfect lines of that
ramp sweeping up to the temple! They make it look like a pinnacle upon a mountain top!’ This effect is intensified by a starlike
spotlight above the model, the luminous whiteness of which is further enhanced by the soft marine blue of the blackground whereon
are dimly indicated, in darker blue, the continents of the world.
“The oval curve of the highly polished black composition flooring cleverly accentuates the rhythm of the design.
“Identifying the exhibit, on the upper left hand edge of the wall, is the word BAHA’I, in raised letters cut out of wood. These letters
are a dull silver, as are also those comprising a quotation from the Tablet of Wisdom by Bahá’u’lláh:
‘This handful of dust, the world, is one home:
Let it be in unity.’
“A glossy-leafed Philodendron set in a corner adds to the whole a touch of living green.
“It is impossible to give any idea of the interest aroused by the Temple, nor of the thousands of questions concerning the Faith, and its
relation to existing religious movements. In every way was it demonstrated that the Temple is the ‘greatest teacher,’ as ‘Abdu’l-Bahã
promised it would be, many years ago.
“Though the majority of the visitors to the Exhibit were from local areas, a large proportion were travelers from all the States and
Canada and not a few from points around the world such as Alaska, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, India, England, Sweden,
Jamaica, Argentina. The international contacts included a young Colombian who had attended Bahá’i meetings in Milwaukee and was
soon to return to Colombia. He left his address and took some of the literature. A Chinese gentleman with
THE BAHA’I WORLD
his family from Shanghai who knew Martha Root and Roy Wilhelm admired the Exhibit and exchanged greetings. An Egyptian who
has visited ‘Akkf and Haifa was glad to have some of the Teachings explained and said he was greatly enlightened about the Bahá’is.
“Bahá’i public activities in connection with the Bahf’i Booth consisted of a series of lectures in a Lecture Hall in the Homes and
Gardens Building, immediately adjoining the Bahá’i Booth, on the general subject of ‘Temple Builders,’ with slides showing the
progress of the construction of the Bahá’i Temple. In this same Hall on the afternoon of October 15, a Regional Conference of the
Bahá’is of the Pacific Coast with the National Spiritual Assembly was held.
“The relations established with the officers and employes of the Golden Gate International Exposition were most cordial, and in every
contact relating to our contract for space, etc., increased friendliness for the Faith was shown. Due to one of the exhibitors building
into our original space (9 x
it was necessary for us to see the Chairman of the Board of the entire Exposition, renewing a Bahá’i
contact previously made; resulting in the Exposition people adjusting our space to a new location, and increasing the size without
additional cost to 19 x
feet. The Committee in charge were greatly pleased to receive the following letter dated October 20th,
1939, from Director of the Exhibits Department of the Golden Gate International Exposition.
“The idea for the erection of an inter- religious structure to set the spiritual tone of the Exposition was the inspiration of Dr. W. Clyde
Smith, Executive Secretary of the San Francisco Presbytery. He first interested a small group which soon expanded into a
later developing a corporation having direction of all official
religious activities of the Exposition. Through the aid of Governor Frank F. Merriam, Honorary President, an appropriation was
granted by the State of California, while public-spirited citizens and religious organizations—among them the San Francisco Bahá’i
Community—contributed the remainder necessary to insure the success of the project. One of the Bahã’is of San Fran-
cisco was invited to become one of the Directors of the Organization, while another was appointed on the Committee of
One Hundred. Rabbi Rudolph I. Coffee was elected President and Mr. William Unmack, Managing Director of the
organization. It is of more than passing interest to the Bahf’is, that when the San Francisco Friends in 1925 conceived
the idea of a World Unity Conference, the first to be held, Dr. Coffee cooperated in every way with this Bahá’i activity
and served as President of the Committee in Charge, while Mr. Unmack served the Conference by taking charge of
“The model rests upon a broad pedestal covered with dark blue velvet, the drape behind it being of the same material.
A nickel railing around three sides protects the exhibit from too close encroachment by the visiting public. Half a
million people passed through the Hall, which ‘houses the greatest collection of exhibits having historical and
educational religious significance ever assembled under one roof, and emphasizes contributions made by religions to
Human Welfare throughout the world.’
“Sunday, July 16, was assigned to the Bahá’is, that date having been designated as Bahd’I Day on the official
Exposition program. At 2:30 o’clock in the afternoon the Bahá’is of the San Francisco Bay Region sponsored a
Religious Unity Service, at which Mrs. Ella G. Cooper was Chairman, the speakers being Mr. Willard Hatch of Los
Angeles, and Mr. Anthony Y. Seto and Mr. Leroy loas of San Francisco. A number of the Friends at the Bahf’i
Summer School at Geyserville made the 75-mile trip to attend the meeting. Before returning to Geyserville in the
evening they had a hasty glimpse of the Exposition and its wonderful multicolored night lighting.
“Sunday, October 15, designated again by the Exposition Officers as Bahd’i Day, brought the Bahá’is together from all
Pacific Coast points, when the National Spiritual Assembly conducted the Vesper Services, and held a meeting in the
Temple of Religion and Tower of Peace, dedicated to Religion and World Peace. Mrs. Ella G. Cooper served as
Chaiman of the Vesper Service, while Mr. Harlan Ober spoke on
Thomas H. Collins read appropriate excerpts
from the Gleanings from the Writings of
Mrs. Stuart W. French served as Chairman;
subject has been developed more extensively in reports prepared on the various schools in America, England,
Iran, India and Burma, and Australia than could be done in the summarized references already included in this
First we are indebted to Mrs. Helen Bishop for the following presentation of material on the three American Schools:
“The reprint of formal programs given at the three Bahá’i Summer Schools during the seasons of 1938 and 1939 are a
record of fact, but do not account for the full events which transformed attitudes. These are forever recorded in the
inner history of individuals who participated in such activities.
“Some day the trained observer will attend the sessions of these Summer Schools: by a rare combination of psychology
and insight, he will perceive the change of attitudes, which mark the true progress of the individual’s relation to the
group or the group’s reaction to an individual. Analyzing more deeply, the individual’s acceptance of the Word of God
has changed his relation to himself, and thereby brought about a tnse relation to others, in turn bringing forth from them
a recognition of his life in the life of the group.
“This new type of sociologist will perceive the evidences of a collective spirit that en- forms the activities of each
Summer School. A collective spirit, which is able to subdue the self-assertive or habitually aggressive person. The
spirit persuades the timid to forget themselves in the happy meeting with others. It is the spirit which discovers new
talent by making the unaware conscious of their ability to do old things in a new way, or more rarely, new things in a
new way. It is spirit that leads ever onwards, widening or deepening expression of the appeal made by travelling
teachers. The all-embracing spirit of Bahá’i Faith does not insure that the personal love between individuals be uni whil
the speakers were Mr. Louis G. Gregory, with the subject The Oneness
Religion, and Mr. Allen B. McDaniel,
speaking on the subject World Faith—The Basis for World Peace.
formly enjoyed, but it does demonstrate that conflicts between personalities can be resolved by mutual recognition of
the relationship that the other sustains, not to oneself, but to Bahá’u’lláh. If we but allow it, His Spirit can turn all types,
temperaments and mentalities to focus upon an impersonal work, which is more far-reaching in its victory than any one
of us could be in his success.
“Wanting the researches of this as yet unconvinced sociologist, the plain testimony of the friends argues that the
Summer School Communities have a growing sense of oneness in the Spirit, and are making increased application of
the Bahá’i Administrative principles in their form.
“As in the permanent Communities, the Administrative Procedure has enabled the Schools to reach a technique of
approach to the inevitable problems of group life. The Committees are able to ascertain the type of instruction needed
by newcomers and wanted by the Bahá’is for themselves; and, in Committee this is done more comprehensively than
any single member thereof could dictate or inspire on the basis of his non- academic calling or even of his academic
“By this method a distinctive type of curriculum has been formulated, distinctive because the findings of history and
social science are being related to the Word of God in cycles past and present. Bahá’i epistomology is rooted in divine
Revelation: all human knowledge is derived from that original knowledge of God in the Manifestation of His qualities,
powers, and relations. The World of Emanation is made apparent as the Cause of the World of Creation to the end that
oneness and unity may be recognized and understood. Thus the old strife between Spirit and matter ceases in these
courses of study, where science and religion are reconciled.
BAHA’f SUMMER SCHOOLS
THE BAHA’I WORLD
“To balance the emphasis placed upon the exterior principles of Bahá’i Administrative Procedure, the friends have entered into further
communion with the Spirit of Bahá’i Faith. This they do through the morning devotions practised in all three schools before the
classwork; and by courses suggesting the values to be found in meditation and prayer. The recent stir in this direction can be traced to
the timely publication of
translated by Shoghi Effendi, and put into the hands of
the friends for the Nineteen- Day Fast of March in 1938. Although individuals essayed to mount this slope of consecration, it was the
schools of that summer which gave an opportunity for a shared and communicative experience in the use of this cherished Gift. Ever
since, its meanings have become more accessible, while its companionship is an influence which cannot be confined, but must
penetrate and chasten the everyday life.
“As previous issues of THE BAHA’i WORLD have printed photographs of the three Summer Schools, showing the landscape,
properties, and friends in action, this issue carries forward the development in courses of study.
“Green Acre at Eliot, Maine, is favored with a landscape of quiet yet subtle beauty and is rich in historical associations. Its founder,
Miss Sarah Farmer, as early as 1894 gathered the fruits of New England’s transcendentalism and offered a large public the opportunity
to seek truth and certainty at this liberal ceuter of learning. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s presence there in 1912 verified its founder’s vision and
gave the vista looking towards the university of the future.
“Special features of the 1938 season were the advanced classes in Esperanto given by Miss Lidia Zamenhof, daughter of the founder
of this international language. Youth Week was an intensive conference from July
24-31. A Peace Pageant in the pines, and a Peace Program are rememberable events of the Labor Day festivities. Throughout the
season, a variety of subjects were presented at the evening meetings, whenever social activities, games, or a dance were not arranged.
“In July and August the following courses were presented:
The Future World Commonwealth, Mr.
Education for the New Humanity, Dr. Glenn A. Shook.
Internationalism, Path to Peace, Marion Holley.
Spiritual Development and Law, Mrs. Dorothy Baker.
Comparative Religion, Doris and Willard McKay.
Prayer and Meditation, Mme. Orlova and Mrs. Schopflocher.
The Bahá’i Teachings, Mrs. Mamie L. Seto.
“The Transformation of Human Society,
a course by Horace Holley, utilized the intellectual resources of the twentieth century, as anticipated by the outline:
Man in nature, man in civilization: The religion of primitive man. Nature repeats, society evolves. The culture of the
age of territorial isolation. Science displaces the ancient environment.
A World in Conflict: Nationahsm and the fallacy of isolation. Class interests disrupt the agricultural nation. The rise of
economic nationalism. The meaning of communism, fascism and naziism. The true basis of sociology.
Psychology the field of the conflict: The decay of spiritual awareness and the rise of scientific psychology.
Development of modern psychology. The existing schools of psychology. The Bahá’i doctrine of soul, mind and spirit.
Religion and civilization: The rhythm of human existence. Four stages in the life and death of faith. Secular
individualism the end of the age.
The World an Organism: Bahf’u’llâh establishes a true human status. The morality of world unity. The League of
Nations a human expedient: World Order a divine creation. The source of social transformation. A new stage of human
“The first week in July of 1939, a Laboratory Course was given by Mrs. Wendell Bacon, Mrs. Charles Bishop and
Professor Shook. The latter’s outline presents the Faith in all its aspects and is available to students by request. Mr.
Allen McDaniel’s treatment
CURRENT BAHA’i ACTIVITIES
of the ‘World Order Letters was helpful; and Professor Stanwood Cobb narrated the history of Islam, then traced its influence,—in
lectures of much content and charm. The third week, spiritual values were set forth by Mr. F. St. George Spendlove in a course aptly
The Meaning of Life;
followed by Mrs. Orcella Rexford’s practical advices on
“From July 2 3-29, the Youth convened for their session, which is becoming ever more popular. Meanwhile, the special evening
meetings engaged the aid of many friends.
were told by Mr. Louis Gregory.
“At the close of the season, classes in Esperanto were given by Miss Roan Orloff; also, a
psychological method, by Dr. Genevieve Coy. From the end of July to September the program reads:
Mr. Rinaldo Quigley. Prayer and Meditation, Mr. and Mrs. ‘Willard McKay.
The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys.
Spreading the News Behind the News, Mrs. Dudley M. Blakely.
History in the Making, Dr. Glenn A. Shook.
Administration, Mr. Horace Holley.
Humanity’s Coming of Age, Mrs. Schopflocher.
LOUHELEN 1938 AND 1939
“This fine ranch has been steadily improved by Mr. and Mrs. L. W. Eggleston in order to increase the facilities for the Summer School
guests. A Library Building is the new feature of 1939, for which is intended books on a universal art and science besides the complete
set of Bahá’i literature.
“During the General sessions of 1938 many teachers of national standing participated in the classwork, as well as in the public
meetings, which were an encouragement to inquirers from the neighboring countryside and the towns. Many of these had first heard of
the Bahá’i Faith when the Summer School activities were given favorable publicity in the press of nearby towns. Reporters visit the
School and share the common tables. In 1939, a notable piece of
publicity gave with the write-up a set of pictures showing the students in class, at active sports, and in the dining hall at table.
“The live-wire Publicity Committee, the Program Committee, and the Youth Committee have co-ordinated their effort to consolidate
this Bahã’i institution; and the friends throughout the Central States have made it the rallying center wherein their knowledge may
deepen and their efforts spread out for the growth of the Cause.
“The Laboratory Course conducted by Mr. Wm. Kenneth Christian for the Youth sessions of 1938 was a stride towards a more
thorough concentration, not without influence in the other Schools as well. Under his method, the students became familiar with the
Bahl’i bibliography, and learned how to pursue the wanted facts, then to assemble material for presentation in proper form.
“At these same sessions, Mrs. Mamie L. Seto gave the spiritual Teachings in a course which can be anticipated through its key verse
‘. . .
all that which ye potentially possess can, however, be manifested only as the result of your own volition.’
“In 1939, the first Youth Session was held June 25-29, with the following program announced:
Character Building, Miss Flora Hottes.
The Promise of All Ages,
Mr. Wm. Kenneth Christian.
The Prophet of Arabia, Mr. N. H. Firoozi.
The laws of Bahá’u’llah, Mr. Clarence Niss.
“The Laboratory Session of July 2-11 enjoyed the applied Administration conducted by Mr. Harlan Ober, wherein actual practice was
given in electing a Local Assembly, appointed committees of which did publicity work in the nearby towns, and dealt with typical
administrative problems. Public speaking instruction was given by professional skill. A survey of Bahá’i Writings and research therein
was presented by Mrs. Mabel Paine.
“At the General Session of August 6-13, 1939, the program was:
The Administrative Order, Mr. Curtis Kelsey.
The Culture of Islam, Mrs. Charles Bishop.
The Art of Living, Mrs. Wendell Bacon.
THE BAHA’I WORLD
“And a series of sketches on assorted themes in the inimitable manner of Marzieh Nabil Carpenter (now Mrs. Harold Gail).
“At the Second Youth Session, August 16- 20, 1939, Mrs. Virginia Camelon gave exceedingly good talks on the Bahá’i standards of
Mrs. Charles Bishop repeated the course on Islam, but with adaptations. The Laws of Bahã’u’llãh
were treated by Mr. Carl Scheffier; and the World Order Letters of Shoghi Effendi by Mrs. Carpenter.
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