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- —DR. FREDERICK
- INTERNATIONAL BAHA’I CONGRESS DAY AT THE PANAMA-PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION
5th; but the culminating episode of the week was the official
reception on April
Day—tendered by the Ezposition Directorate, and the presentation of a
commemorative medallion, in recognition of the Bahá’i program for Universal Peace.
Festival Hall, scene of the exercises, was set like a gem amidst the lavishly planted South Gardens of the Exposition. The myriads of
sweet-scented flowers in their witchery of color, the masses of exotic shrubbery, the cool fountains and pools, the avenues of palms,
the trees of many lands, the velvety green hills of the Presidio, and the mountains beyond the sparkling blue waters of the bay, made a
picture of incomparable beauty in the bright California sunshine on that memorable morning.
The delegates and friends were met by a deputation from the Exposition Directorate and escorted to the meeting-place.
Impressive, though brief, were the ceremonies that followed—the presentation and acceptance of a “symbol,” the bonds of mutual
understanding and goodwill strengthened—and the first
International Bahd’i Congress Day
had passed into history.
But so inseparably linked with the Exposition had been the days of the Congress, and so compatible with Bahá’i aspirations were the
motivating aims of the Exposition builders, there is due them—and here proffered—an appreciative acknowledgment of their high-
minded objectives and enviable accomplishment. Perhaps no encomium more felicitous could be set forth than the oft-quoted
interpretation from the pen of the distinguished architect, Louis Christian Mullgardt, F.A.I.A., member of the Architectural
Commission of the Exposition:
“Millions of people from all parts of the world have made pilgrimage to this realm of phantasy, but many thousands more are
THE BAHA’T WORLD
Panama-Pacific International Exposition
San Francisco, 1915
First International Bahã’i Congress
Photographed and prepared for reprodurtion by Gabriel Moulin, San Franrisco, California.
BAHA’I CONGRESS DAY
on their way, determined to bask in the radiance of Good Will toward All Mankind, which this Mecca of Peace,
Enlightenment, Beauty, and Inspiration for a better and greater future gives forth. Its purposeful in-
fluence is destined to serve perpetually a beneficent cause in the furtherance of unified international humanitarianism
after the ephemeral vision of this Phantom Kingdom has vanished.”
INTERNATIONAL BAHA’I CONGRESS DAY
PANAMA-PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL EXPOSITION
FESTIVAL HALL, EXPOSITION GROUNDS SATURDAY MORNING,
APRIL 24, 1915, AT 10 O’CLOCK
President of the Congress Dr. Frederick W. D’Evelyn
Dr. Frederick W. D’Evelyn,
Mrs. Helen S. Goodall
Mrs. Ella Goodall Cooper
Mrs. Georgia Grayson Ralston
Mr. William C. Ralston,
Miss Bijou S. Straun,
Assistant Secretary and Reporter
Chairman of the Day
Mr. Charles Mason Remey of Washington, D. C.
(Hon. John A. Britton
Hon. A. W. Scott, Jr.
We have assembled this morning by invitation of the President and Directors of the Panama-Pacific International
Exposition, who have honored us by designating this as
“International Bahã’i Congress Day” in their official program. The Honorable John A. Britton and the Honorable A. W.
Scott, Jr., representing the Exposition Directorate, are here to welcome us.
I have the honor to present the Honorable John A. Britton.
One of the particularly pleasant things we Directors have to do is to recognize true worth wherever we find it to exist.
It may be accepted as a truism that those who are building foundations for the betterment of the human race, and
dealing with the social and economic problems that confront the world, are doing quite as much for the perpetuation of
the betterment of
mankind as do those who construct their monuments of steel, of granite, or of marble.
We of the Exposition “family” havç been hard at work for the past three or four years erecting on these beautiful
grounds monuments that represent the handiwork of man in the arts, the crafts and the sciences. These we have builded
not so much for their artistic and architectural beauty as for their
THE BAHA’i WORLD
lasting effects upon the human race; primarily, however, to direct the attention of those who will gather here, from the four corners of
the earth, to the educational advantages, for the masses, to be derived from an exposition like this; and, more especially still, for the
benefits to be gained from the coming together of groups such as yours, whose whole-souled purpose, as I read it, is the unification
and solidarity of the peoples of the world; and, further, to produce an effect far-reaching, not for today, but for all time to come.
Here on the peaceful western shores of the United States looking out into what might be termed the vast eternity across the Pacific to
the Orient, we are mindful, and very mindful, of the horrible devastation that this day is witnessing in the Old World, where
civilizations of many centuries’ duration are being wiped away, where men are clutching at one another’s throats and destroying the
last vestiges of that love of humanity which should concern us all.
And to you who represent that great propaganda of peace—that peace which the Master of the world, whoever He may be to each of
us, has enjoined upon us as a
part of true education, true refinement, and true growth within this universe
—to you who have that solemn duty in hand, and who so seriously and full-mindedly and intelligently are seeking to impress it upon
your fellow-men—to you, we of the Exposition “family” extend a welcome into our “family,” inasmuch as we are trying in our
modest way, on this western rim, to be the proponents of every endeavor that contributes toward the elevating and betterment of
We have lived and worked in vain, ladies
and gentlemen, if the marvels you will see in this Exposition—our palaces, our gardens, our illustrative sculptures, our exhibits—are
to count for naught but the mere passing of a dream; and if they shall not accomplish the helpfulness to mankind that we expect, then
we shall have labored absolutely in vain.
But I have that faith in the intelligence of the human race, and in the ultimate goodness to be achieved by earnest and diligent work,
that what we have been doing, and what you are striving to do, that the seed sown, and the foundation laid, such as you have laid, will
some day—it may not be for years—evolve that supertype of men and women who will have but one ideal in life: that the race which
is come shall be a better one than ours because of your efforts to make it so.
Therefore, in that recognition which we desire to give for your universal efforts, I have the proud privilege and honor, on behalf of the
Panama-Pacific International Exposition Company, of presenting to you a symbol’ of that appreciation. And let me say to you, in all
honesty and candor of mind, that of the many times I, in my official capacity, have given recognition to those who have participated in
our affairs, none has ever afforded me the extreme pleasure that is mine today in conferring it upon you who represent so much to
I feel, friends, that everyone here has been profoundly moved by the wholehearted manner in which we have been
welcomed and honored by Mr. Britton on behalf of the Exposition Company.
The response will be made by the President of the Congress.
I present Dr. Frederick W. D’Evelyn.
ADDRESS OF ACCEPTANCE
Were I to yield to the instinctive promptings of the moment I would dismiss this meeting that we might disperse in
silence, cherishing the words Director Britton has uttered. That which comes from the heart goes to the heart, and I
know I voice but feebly the thoughts of all present when I
say that a sympathetic chord has been touched in the heart of each one of us. Your words, Director Britton, shall re-echo over a greater
arena than you can imagine.
On behalf of the Bahá’is here assembled, and of the Bahá’is throughout the world, on
The Exposition commemorative medallion.
BAHA’ CONGRESS DAY
Presented to the
First International Bahá’I Congress
Phoeographecl and prepared for reproduction by Gabriel Moulin, San Francisco, California.
THE BAHA’I WORLD
behalf of that humanity which is looking upward, I accept this “symbol” with deep appreciation and sincere gratitude.
I regret my inability to amplify the text Director Britton has so aptly outlined for us. But the more frequently we visit this Exposition,
the more persistently and irresistibly will the truth be borne home that its dominant appeal is for a recognition of the intercommunion
and the interdependence of the peoples of the world.
Today these facts are crystallized with an urgency and a significance before which speech itself is dumb, and silence is the only tribute
it appears meet to offer. This simple ceremony, so interpreted, carries with it a relationship to the oncoming future that we, bound by
the fretted limitations of the present, seem reluctant even to concede.
Within a few days our western eyes will be privileged to gaze upon that hallowed relic, the Liberty Bell, whose sounding notes awoke
the dawn of the natal day of this nation.
Time has enshrined those memories as a sacred heritage. No one people, however, expresses the fulness of humanity.
Symbolic of a broader measure is this humble “bronze,” the token of the birthmark divinity has predestined to herald, not merely the
birth and the growth of a nation, but that universal manhood which a unified humanity alone can consummate.
Thus dedicated, this token shall start upon its mission.
It will travel to the land of the cradle song where shepherds watched their flocks by night. Carmel will learn of it. Nazareth will hear
of it. And, as the courier speeds onward, the rippling waves of the “Tideless Sea” shall sound in his ears, and his feet shall be
moistened with the dews of Lebanon.
It will halt—aye, halt in the Most Great Prison,’ and there in its triumph the forty years of servitude will become as a dream in the
It will voyage to India, where the mysterious Parsi, the haughty Brabman, the devout Buddhist, will become one as they harken to its
To China, to Japan, to Africa, to the Isles of the sea, to far-away ‘Ishqábád, it will be even as a star to the caravan.
To the broken brotherhood of Europe, to the Slav and the Teuton, the Muslim and the Allies, it will bespeak a better and a brighter
day, a kindlier and a nobler kinship.
And, Sir, when at last its mission shall have been completed, it will return—to rest beneath that dome where humanity, unified, shall
make mention of God: the Mashriqu’l-Adhkãr.2
The Liberty Bell in its mission sounded the liberty of a nation. This token in its larger mission heralds the freedom of a world. That
may seem an assertion too broad, a pronouncement too great; but it could not be otherwise, for its bears the Bahá’i message of unity—
not that human beings are equal, but that the crown of humanity is vouchsafed to all alike. In that birthmark there is nothing inferior,
nothing superior. It is the reality of man, the reality that is the throne of the divine Manifestation.
To every man it is granted to look within himself and to see that reality powerful, mighty, supreme.
The Bahá’i teaching is that such is man’s right of self-appraisement; moreover, to allow that right to his fellow-man is to admit the
possession of a common reality which connotes the divinity of unity and the unity of divinity.
Seek not, accept not, any compromise for this attitude, and there is established at once and forever that relationship which shall annul
geographical boundaries, technical barriers, racial prejudices, tribal theologies, and the many expedients that have been and are
deterrents of human solidarity.
This is the Bahá’i message in the concrete. In the oneness of unity, in the divinity of reality, it shall make for the healing of the
I know you rejoice with us, Director Britton, that on this occasion we are able to send forth, from the “City of the Golden Gate,” this
token, the symbol of that unity which shall be effective when the reality of man shall have been acknowledged as the throne of the
divine Manifestation. This is the sole
a The Bahá’i Universal House of Worship being erected in Wilmette, Illinois, U. S. A.
BAHA’! CONGRESS DAY
resource of the world; the honor and continuity thereof depend upon it.
Director Britton, it is impossible to convey to you how keenly we value your f avorable comparison of our “title deeds” in the
recognition you have conferred upon us. In our parallel endeavors toward the enduring betterment of the human race I pray we may
not fall short of your high estimate.
Friends, as we have now become members of the Exposition “family,” I trust that while fully sensible of the honor
we shall not be forgetful of the responsibilities.
The acceptance of the commemorative medallion by our President brought to a close the formal part of these
ceremonies. I should like, however, to call upon Mrs. Mary Hanford Ford to address us informally. As a Bahã’i, Mrs.
Ford has for many years tirelessly served our Cause. She is a well-known art critic and lecturer, and is visiting the
Exposition in a professional capacity.
I take special pleasure in presenting Mrs. Ford of New York City.
THE SPIRIT OF THE EXPOSITION
Mns. MARY HANFORD FORD
I cannot tell you how it thrills me to stand before you in this wonderful moment and try to accentuate a little the suggestion made in
the inspiring words already spoken, as to why we should be gathered in this beautiful place, which today is the most beautiful in
America, and I am not sure but that it is the most beautiful in the world!
I came to this Exposition from long wanderings on the other side of the water, where I had studied the masterpieces of art and
sculpture, and had stood under the arches of famous cathedrals, and had asked myself:
Is there anything left to be done in the realm of architecture? Then I remembered that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in speaking of the divine
civilization that is to be, had said there would be a new art and a new architecture
—a fusion of all the beauty of the past, but
Now, what do I find here? A
architecture—a blending of ancient styles, but
for the Byzantine and the Romanesque, the
Gothic and the Moorish, have clasped hands with the classic Greek and Roman, and have been transmuted into forms of such beauty
as to convey to every observer an inkling of the glories of the architecture of the future.
Let me ask you: Is not the very creation of this magnificent Exposition—by a city that only nine years ago had been razed to the
ground by earthquake and fire—the most convincing evidence of the mighty
spiritual force that is today undeniably penetrating and transforming all the physical forces of life? I know of no greater miracle than
that a city which had been destroyed should within nine years create the most enchanting spectacle of the entire world!
For a moment let us reflect upon our vaunted modern progress and what it means.
The rapid and momentous changes of the last sixty or seventy years perhaps find their beginning in the Cause we represent. We of the
West pride ourselves on our advanced theories, on our democracy, on our governmental reforms, on our insistence upon equal rights
for men and women. We believe that these are western ideas and we say to the East: Why do you not learn from us? Why are you
sleeping in your dreams of the past? Why do you not awaken and emulate our energy?
Yet as long ago as 1844, when there was no discussion of brotherhood, nor any movement for equal suffrage, a young Persian, known
as the Báb, began to preach in the city of Shiráz—think of ill—to Muliammadans who in their fanatical prejudice believed that there
was only one true religion, and that Mu5ammad was the only true Prophet of God. The Báb announced to them the dawn of a New
Day, and exhorted them to prepare for the advent of a divine Messenger who would be the founder of a new civilization. He taught
them that Religion is one, that the different religions
THE BAHA’I WORLD
have sprung from the same Source; that mankind is one; that men and women should be regarded as equal; that the women of Persia,
who for centuries had been enslaved, should come out of their seclusion, take off their veils, and demand and be entitled to the same
prerogatives possessed by the men.
Is it any wonder that they could not comprehend Him? Is it any wonder that He was persecuted? When we study His dramatic and
astonishing career, and consider His youth, we marvel how He dared do it.
The Báb was but twenty-five years of age when He began His ministry. In those days there was no wireless, no telegraphic system, no
railway. Nevertheless, during the six years preceding His martyrdom, His words had spread throughout the length and breadth of
Persia, and the soil of that country was drenched with the blood of thousands of His adherents who had suffered death rather than deny
Whenever I speak of progress and the equality of men and women I am impelled to relate the story of the first martyr in the path of
equal suffrage, who was the most notable feminine disciple of the Báb— the immortal poetess Qurratu’l-’Ayn. Lovely beyond
compare, one of the most gifted and brilliant women of Persia, she removed her veil and publicly went about expounding the dottrines
of the Báb. It is easy to understand how this heresy alarmed the Mullás, and they remonstrated and pleaded with her; but failing in
their attempt to dissuade her from pursuing such an unorthodox course they then threatened her with death. Scornfully she defied
them. Finally they determined to do away with her, and secretly one night she was taken to a garden in the suburbs of the city and
strangled. Her body was hastily thrown into a dry well and covered with stones to conceal the crime. Today that spot is sacred to the
memory of Qurratu’l-’Ayn, not only on account of the beauty of her face, her rare intellectual attainments, the fervor of her eloquence,
and the nobility of her character, but perchance because of the peculiar signification of her name—Consolation of
pilgrims walk many miles to her burial-place, believing that their ailments, especially if their eyes be afflicted or
blinded, will be healed as they pray near the dust of her grave.
But I must not dwell upon the tragic tale of this heroic woman.
Nor shall I recount the details of the appearance of Bahá’u’llah as the Promised One of the Báb, since the main incidents of His life
are doubtless familiar to you. His was a message of peace and brotherhood:
Ye are all leaves of one tree and drops of one sea.
This handful of dust, the world, is one home: let it be in unity.
Bahá’u’llah passed away in 1892 after forty years of exile, imprisonment and bitter persecution, but notwithstanding prison walls His
declaration had been made to the world. You will recall it was from the prison fortress of ‘Akká that He had sent the now famous
to the crowned heads and rulers of the earth, admonishing them to be concerned with the welfare of their
subjects, to free from their fetters the slaves and the oppressed, to adopt justice for their standard, and to estabhsh the Most Great
Have you ever pondered over the many surprising political upheavals that occurred in the nineteenth century? Do you think it was an
accident that in 1861 the Czar emancipated the serfs? That from 1861 to 1865 the United States was in the throes of the Civil War,
which resulted in slavery being abolished and forever prohibited within our boundaries? Do you think it was an accident that in 1848
began that long and tremendous struggle terminating in the freedom and unity of Italy? Remember, too, that Persia—tyrannized and
tormented Persia—secured a constitution in 1907; that Turkey in 1908 won a constitutional government; and China, that stronghold of
the oldest regime, is now a republic!
What lies behind these happenings?
Friends, there is always a reason for such stupendous events. Do we not find it in the successive counsels of the Báb, Bahã’u’lláh, and
‘Abdu’l-Bahá? Their utterances, subjectively, have quickened the heart of humanity.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, while visiting in America a few years ago, commented on the fact
BAHA’I CONGRESS DAY
Frederick W. D’Evelyn, M.B.C.M. (Edin.)
Member of the Ways and Means Committee of the
Panama-Pacific International Exposition
President of the First International Bahi’i Congress
that between 1860 and 1865 we had instituted a splendid reform when we knocked the shackles from chattel slavery. But in this day
there is need for another vital reform: we must destroy industrial slavery.
Does not that thought naturally ally us with this unique Exposition which so palpably portrays the progress of the age?
You have seen at the Scott Street entrance the huge Fountain of Energy symbolizing the victory of man’s directed strength over the
difficulties of nature. Opposite, and dominating the Esplanade, rises the slender shaft designed by the architect Symmes Richardson—
the Column of Progress’— surmounted by the figure of the Adventurous Bowman shooting across the Pacific to the shores of the
Orient. What is it the archer typifies? Is it not the incredible wireless that is permeating the universe, not alone by the outer medium of
the ether, but
by the mysterious inner mechanism of mind to mind, and heart to heart, and unquestionably uniting mankind despite the war?
Before you leave these grounds I wish you would walk through the Peristyle Promenade of the Palace of Fine Arts. The master-
architect of that ensemble, Bernard K. May- beck, undoubtedly was inspired, for the edifice he created, while classic Roman-Greek in
simplicity, is at the same time altogether original in conception—a peerless temple of unrivaled loveliness. In its stately Colonnade
hovers the breath of the cloisters of old— the exquisite cloisters of Italy, the heavenly inclosure of Monreale in Sicily. You will sense
the quiet converse of Plato’s Academy, the wisdom of Confucius, the purity of Zoroaster. You will call to mind the Moorish and
Christian civilizations of the eleventh and twelfth centuries that produced
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