The baha’i world

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1. The earth is but one coljntry; and mankind its citizens.  

2. The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me.  

3. My love is My stronghold; he that entereth therein is safe and secure.  

4. Breathe not the sins of others so long as thou art thyself a sinner.  


Thy heart is My home; sanctify it for My descent.  

6. I have made death a messenger of joy to thee; wherefore dost thou grieve?  

7. Make mention of Me on My earth that in My heaven I may remember thee.  

8. 0 rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust.  

9. The source of all learning is the knowledge of God, exalted be His glory. 








The Bahá’i Temple used as design for Cachet selected by the Postal authorities of Wilmette, Illinois and used on all 

outgoing mail during National Air Mail Week  

May 15-21, 1938.  

Arrange Program for Air Mail 

Week Observance in Wilmette  

Poster, Essay Contests Pro- tb0 

of the 



air mail 

cede Week’s Activities 

service, tern oard that stamp eollrc.  

tars everywhere are eagerly awastrng  

Prrporatioes foe the ohservaece of °° 

olPirtaoriY to 

recore first-dat  


Air M.iI Ysn, Letter. I  

lv Postmaslrr Herbert L. OCooneil. Villa gers ace carvestly invited to general chairman iv charge of an- participate io the ovent by mailing at rangerarels, and the complete pro- eats on rlettrr at the Wilmette post 

gram for the meek mill soya hr an- office to he forwarded by air mtil.  

r,nnaeced. - Several groaps are nosy holding es Wjsmest is taking ae active part is trra numbering iota the bander-in tire essay and pattrr contests, Mr. for that purpose. Local residents  

—0 CouncIl states that he has rrcciard wlrate batiness affiliations are irs Chiand sent to list Chiragn heard vi rage are alsn planning to make largr awards twrety-loar pcstrr drtigcs mailings 1mm tltit point. received 

Iroso payilt ef the grade and Mr. O’Connell urgently invites alt pavochtal schnol,, the latter sendrng civic, fraternal, religious sod cornre by far tho larger nawbnr. Essays mernial groups in the villagr to lend brie g 

restricted to high schools, sty- a band ia plaoing the Wilmrtse post dents vi Mallinchrods, else ovly high slime iv the first raah of nefebraots school in the village, sabmitled thirty si She 211th 000icessary of air nail 

essays in thy comyrtitiurs. Is is seder- service stood shot the awards mill he made — 


in odvarce of Air Mail wrrh Amerig  

the postrrn, especially, thc’rmvvrrr  

several esoeplinoally fine renderings  

of orrgieat ideas.  

D.e..n. Cnlset  

The aconmpasryirrg illostrasion  

uhomsanesclssicc caches to be used  

on all air snail sent out from nbc  

Wilmettr post offics dorrng Air Mart  

week. It shown the dome of Baha’i  

temple is Wifmrttr, mitts a mail place  

The design is sserntly orrgrrral,  

ts created by local tairvi.  

Federal 5oct01 drparlmrrlt has  

rd a special air snail stansp  

will hr placed ua sale en the 





Mailed at 


















(niteb tatt ot Wce 




kiilhotte, flhiooio, optflber ?th,, 3O. 


Nrten!1 S;iritzzc Assembly of thd  



Eliot1 Moiae  

Your letter of the 2nf fm Mr. !Tolley xr.ieasiaf  

oppreotat{pn to 

us for 

the roe o.t the bths*i Temple for the  

Wilmette ieeigzi for At r Mail 


rermiwe4 ao we are elwoyo plfled to yet lotion of this nrtume Wø tnt that in ohoesing this far 

oqr àesise, 

we were 

toling the eutoiaadtn building met only of Wilatte1but of the World, seeing thet there to 


other to ooswtre I3*h 

it in arohiteottte,  

1e aloe wish to thank you and your foilewer for the  

intoreet ohon by tbe in milling theos orohots to theirjriende  


Air UaiTWflki  

Respeotfully yours,  




Letter of the Postmaster of Wilmette, Illinois, to The National Spiritual Assembly of  

the Bahá’Is of the United States and Canada. 










man in time of storm and trouble sought comfort and refuge in appealing to an unseen power, which as 

time went on grew into the proportions of a deity. To propitiate this great power, he set up altars on the high places and 

offered up sacrifices of animals and even of human flesh. In the plains countries, ancient so- called civilizations built 

great pyramid- shaped structures, on the tops of which the priests performed the rites of sacrifice. Thus the earliest 

temples resembled the Tower of Babel, and their remains have been found in the jungles of Yucatan and Peru and in 

the valleys of Egypt and Mesopotamia.  

The children of Israel, on their wanderings from bondage into the Promised Land, carried their place of worship—a 

portable tent-like structure—with them. Hundreds of years later their temple was set up in permanent form by Solomon 

in Jerusalem. This temple was similar in form, style and construction to the temples erected as early as 


n. c. by the 

Pharaohs on the banks of the Nile in Egypt. Rectangular in form and consisting of several rooms or courts, the roofs of 

which were supported by rows of columns, these buildings were of great size. Blocks of stone weighing many tons 

each were used for the columns and lintels, and many centuries were required for the building of these structures. The 

temples were not houses of worship for the people, but the habitation of the deity, whose statue was placed generally in 

an inner court, where the priests performed the sacred rites.  

This form of Temple reached its highest development in Greece about 


years before the time of the Christ. The 

Parthenon, erected to Athena Parthenos, is still considered one of the finest examples of the temple structures of the 

ancient civilizations.  

During this early period, the Romans were developing a wide range of buildings adapted to their complex civilization 

and available materials. They made the arch and vault the basic elements of their construc tion 


and used a native material from the slopes of Vesuvius to form a plastic material which hardened on setting—the precursor of our 

modern concrete. The rectangular form of temple structure was followed early by the circular building, the noblest example of which 

was the Pantheon built in the early part of the second century after Christ. This building was unique in its massive dome rising to a 

height of 140 feet and furnishing light and air through a circular opening 28 feet in diameter at its 


The official recognition of Christianity in the year 328 

A. U. 

by Constantine legalized an institution which for three centuries had been 

growing in power and influence toward its conquest of the ancient world. With this civilization of the West came an artistic awakening 

in the arts, which was exemplified by the building of the basilica type of church, a rectangular shaped structure comprising a lofty 

nave separated by rows of columns from the single or double side- aisles. At the far end of the nave was the sanctuary with seats for 

the clergy, who performed the rites on the altar in front of the raised platform of the apse. Projections of the main building to the right 

and lef 


known as transepts—sometimes were extended before the altar and covered the shrine of the saint or martyr. Many 

basilicas were built in Italy and in the Holy Land during the early days of the Christian era, but the largest and finest were built by 


With the fall of Rome in the West, there arose in the East, especially in the capital founded by Constantine in ancient Byzantium, 

located at the natural highway of commerce between East and West, a new form of church architecture. The first emperor of 

Christianity had a predilection for circular buildings and built a number of tombs and baptisteries in this form—notable of which was 

the baptistery for his sister Constantia in Rome. Byzantine architecture evolved from the Roman, using the arch 





Front Elevation of the Church of Church of Notre Dame in Paris.  

St. John Lateran, Rome. 




Amiens Cathedral, France. Interior. 


The Mosque of Omar, Jerusalem. 













and dome as the principal structural elements. The dome was applied early to square forms, resulting in the use of triangular spherical 

surfaces to carry the load from the dome to points of support at the corners of the square. Side domes extended the space around the 

central dome. Thus was developed the principle of carrying the roof loads down through vaults to the supporting piers and columns, a 

principle which reached its highest development in the Gothic architecture of the Middle Ages.  

Hagia Sophia (Divine Wisdom) built about 500 

A. D. 

at Constantinople is the outstanding example of the Byzantine church, with its 

imposing masses of brick and stone masonry and its elaborate interior ornamentation of marble paneling, mosaic, wall decorations and 

hangings. The influence of this art was widespread, extending through Europe and Asia and manifesting itself in such later structures 

as St. Mark’s at Venice, a monumental building with five domes and richly ornamented both externally and internally with colored 

marble and mosaics.  

While the Byzantine Empire was at its zenith, the new faith of Islam was spreading rapidly through western Asia and the lands along 

the Mediterranean Sea. The followers of Muhammad in the construction of their churches followed, in a general way, the plan and 

style of the contemporary Christian structures; in the smaller room or outer court the followers of the faith performed the requisite 

ablutions and ceremonies preparatory to entering the inner room of worship with its central dome. The mosques of the Moslem world, 

however, were distinctive in the use of a bulbous form of dome, in emphasis on exterior entrances and doorways, in minute surface 

ornamentation of a geometric pattern, and in the absence of pictures and sculpture which were predominant in later Byzantine 

churches. Climatic conditions of the East were favorable to the use of tile for exterior walls, and afforded an opportunity for the wide 

use of color. In southern Spain, the Moorish civilization was marked by the extraordinary development of a unique and beautiful 

architecture, which has had its influence to this day in the 


synagogues of the Jews throughout the world. The Great Mosque at Cordova, the Alcazars of Seville and Malaga, the 

Giralda at Seville, and the Alhambra at Granada are famous buildings of this great civilization, which may be destroyed 

during the tempestuous conflict, which is casting its devastating blight over this land.  

The so-called Dark Ages, which followed the fall of the Western Empire in 476 A.D. marked the beginning of a new 

epoch in church architecture. The Roman monuments covering the soil of southern Europe were a constant object 

lesson to the builders of that time and served as the basis for the early evolution of the Romanesque styles which 

formed the transitional stage between the basilica of the early Christian era and the Gothic cathedral of the Middle 

Ages. Basilica in plan, the churches of the tenth to twelfth centuries, especially in southern France and northern Italy, 

were distinguished by the round arch, towers and occasional spires and exterior ornamentation of gabled porches, 

arcades and galleries, and sculptured doorways.  

With the gradual development of the vaulting, which formed the ceilings of the naves and aisles of the churches, the 

craftsmen of these days carried their buildings to a greater height, concentrating the roof and wall loads on piers and 

columns made up of clustered rihs and posts within and transferring the loads to buttresses on the exterior. Thus the 

cathedrals became lovely, lace-like structures with great windows filled in with stained glass and stone tracery, 

surmounted with graceful pointed arches. Structurally these builders evolved the principle of balanced thrusts, which 

made possible the beautiful, towering churches, which were the fruits of the labor of generations of worshipers and are 

enduring monuments to the faith and skill of architects, builders and sculptors of this age.  

With the passing of mediaeval monasticism and asceticism, and the spread of the intellectual awakening known as the 

Renaissance, came the revival of interest in classic styles. This revival manifested itself in the early part of the fifteenth 

century in the dome of the cathedral at Florence and culminated in the stupendous church of St. 





The Church of Santa Sofia, Istanbul. 


Hall of Ablutions, Mosque of Sultan Hasan, Cairo, Egypt. (Interior view.) 


The Parthenon, Athens, Greece. 























Peter at Rome. These churches were distinctive for the wealth of external ornamentation and the richness of interior 

decoration. Barrel vaults and ribbed domes were outstanding structural features of the church buildings of this period.  

After the Renaissance came the Reformation with its period of pillage and destruction of church edifices. Religion 

became the sport of political factions, and religious arts ceased for about a century.  

England settled her feudal disputes early. The awakening of church architecture was manifested in outstanding 

examples of the Palladian style—the best known of which was St. Paul’s in London. In this and other similar structures 

of this period, the scientific method was emphasized to secure efficiency in design and economy in the use of materials. 

Somewhat later, on the Continent, came the revival of Graeco-Roman building methods as expressed in the Madeleine 

and Pantheon in Paris.  

Following the classic revival came the Gothic revival which spread from France to England and a century later to the 

New World. In England, the Byzantine influence was introduced in the design of several religious buildings, the most 

notable of which was Westminster Cathedral.  

In America, early church architecture was inspired by the contemporaneous work of the Mother Country, and produced 

the so-called Colonial style of New England and the Southeastern States. The first Gothic revival was of short duration 

and was followed by the vogue of Romanesque which had a strong influence on church building for a generation. Since 

the turn of the twentieth century, the larger churches of both the United States and of Canada have been in the Gothic; 

the Cathedral Church of Christ at Victoria, British Columbia, the Washington Cathedral and the Cathedral of St. John 

the Divine in New York City are probably the best known of these modern structures.  

Considerable comment has appeared in the public press, in technical journals and in popular magazines since the 

selection of a design for a Universal House of Worship which is being erected in the heart of the American continent on 

the western shore 


of Lake Michigan near Chicago. As he gazed upon a plaster model of “The Temple of Light”—the design of Louis Bourgeois— on 

exhibition in the Engineering Societies Building in New York City, in June, 1920, a distinguished architect remarked, “This is the first 

new idea in religious architecture since the Middle Ages.”  

The spirit of the design, which apparently sums up and integrates into one harmonious whole the architectural motifs and structural 

elements of the temples and churches of the past, is given in the words of the architect, Louis Bourgeois: “The history of this Temple, 

as step by step it unfolds, is so unique that already the story will fill a book. Its inception was not from man for, as musicians, artists, 

poets receive their inspiration from another realm, feel themselves to be a receiver by whose means a heavenly melody, a new idea, is 

given to the world, so the Temple’s architect through all his years of labor was ever conscious that Bahá’u’llah was the creator of this 

building to be erected to His glory. 

. . . 

When the manmade creeds are stripped away from all the religions we find nothing left but 

harmony. Today, however, religion is so entangled in the superstitions and hypotheses of men that it must needs be stated in a new 

form to be once again pure and undefiled. Likewise in architecture those fundamental structural lines which originated in the faith of 

all religions are the same, but so covered over are they with the decorations picturing creed upon creed and superstition upon 

superstition that we must needs lay them aside and create a new form of ornamentation. Into this new design, then, of the Temple, is 

woven, in symbolic form, the great Bahá’i teaching of unity—the unity of all religions and of all mankind. There are combinations of 

mathematical lines, symbolizing those of the universe, and in their intricate merging of circle into circle, of circle within circle, we 

visualize the merging of all the religions into one.”  

“Structurally,” stated Allen B. McDaniel, supervising engineer, in an article in 

The Technology Review

“the temple is remarkable 

in that it will comprise a steel, reinforced concrete and glass framework, on which will be placed the highly ornamental 






surface material. It is a nonagon, or nine- sided structure; each side having the form of a circular arc, with a large doorway in the 

center; and the whole edifice giving the appearance of extending welcoming arms to the people approaching from every direction. 


forty-five feet in height stand like sentinels at the corners of the first story. Above the gallery, the clerestory and the dome are 

also nine-sided but with the ribs rising from midway of the first story sides.  

“To get a mental picture of the Temple, imagine a lofty cylindrical room topped with a hemispherical dome of 


feet interior 

diameter and extending to a height of 


feet in the center, formed of glass supported in a metal framework. The glass roof and sides 

protect the interior of the building from the weather. When completed, the glass will be concealed within the exterior and interior 

surface ornamental material, which will act as perforated screens through which the hght will pass.  

“The weight of the structure and the dome is carried principally at nine points equally distant from the center, and the super-structure 

is supported on a circular platform or foundation, 202 feet in diameter at the ground surface, and rising by 18 concentric steps to the 

main floor of the Temple, which is 


feet in diameter.  

“Entering any one of the nine doors, one will pass through a hallway into the central circular room or auditorium. Out of this main hall 

open radially (and separated by the hallways) nine smaller rooms, comparable to chapels in a cathedral. Looking upward toward the 

dome, will be seen a gallery 


36 feet above the main floor, and above this a second (or singers’) gallery 61 feet above the floor level. Above the second gallery is a 

19 foot clerestory from which springs the dome. The galleries project 10 feet into the central hall, giving the latter a clear interior 

diameter of 


feet. The dome will be in three parts; the outer dome of perforated concrete or metal, the concealed wire glass weather-

proof dome, and the inner dome of perforated material, decorative in character. The central domed hail will have an area of about 

4,000 square feet and seat about 700 people. The nine small rooms opening out of the main hall are about 20 feet wide, 24 feet deep 

and with ceilings 33 feet high. These auxiliary rooms will seat about 100 persons each.  

“The construction of the ornamental surface structure involves new materials and a new technique of construction. The completed 

external ornamentation of the dome unit, carried out by the John 


Earley Studios, reveals an entirely new quality of textural surface, 

made possible by the plastic medium employed. Hand-carved models were made of all the different sections, and from the resulting 

molds each completed section has been individually cast and then gone over by expert craftsmen. The material selected was quartz, 

with a medium of white cement. The result is a surface harder and more enduring than rock, and at the same time carrying an intricate 

design as delicate as lace. The color scheme shades from pure white on the dome to light buff at the base. An unusual plan of 

illumination will later be installed.” 



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