Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression. Bahá’u’lláh
A 1908 postcard showing the Michigan Avenue street view with the Chicago Athletic Association where Abdu’l-Baha gave a talk on November 1, 1912. This building is now closed to the public. It maybe that someday we can visit the rooms where Abdu’l-Baha talked in all their 1912 splendor.
This glorious street of buildings representing the best of Chicago more than 100 years ago remains active and busy today, with huge modern towers just a block to the west and now lush and lovely parks on the lakefront, where before there were miles of train tracks.
The very first Baha’i House of Worship in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, from a photo set that’s been making the rounds on Facebook. It looks like a postcard. It looks like a colorized postcard. Does anyone know if the dome of this building really was green and the pillars blue? All I have ever seen are black and white photographs. This building was destroyed in an earthquake.
An interior view of the Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, postmarked 1982.
One can’t mention Baha’i History in Postcards, without sharing an image of one of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, sent by Abdu’l-Baha to the Baha’is in America on postcards the first few days after WWI when mails could be sent after years of isolation. Two postcards were sent, one in English and the other in Persian. I’m hopeful that in 2016 when we will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Tablets of the Divine Plan that more photographs of these postcards will be made available.
The High Bridge in Lincoln Park in Chicago, where in 1912 visitors could gaze over the city and its tall buildings to the south. When Abdu’l-Baha stayed at the Plaza Hotel, he often took walks in Lincoln Park with visitors, mostly to give the overworked staff the opportunity to take a break from the crush of visitors.
The Masonic Temple on State and Randolph was tallest building in Chicago at one time. However, the architects, still learning about elevators, didn’t build enough of them and it took too long for people to go up and down to attend the meeting in the large halls at the top of the building. Despite the very popular lower floors of shops and middle floors of offices, the building was demolished in 1939.
The memory of this building remains strong in the Baha’i History of Chicago. The first classes that taught about the Baha’i Faith were given here, some of the earliest members of the Baha’i community has offices here, early meetings of those Baha’is were held here, as well as a meeting where ‘Abdu’l-Baha spoke during his first visit in 1912.
A postcard mailed on October 30, 1913, shows the Market Square in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the only city in Wisconsin visited by ‘Abdu’l-Baha in 1912 traveling by train from Chicago on Sept. 15 and returning Sept. 16.
Kenosha was one of the earliest Baha’i Communities in the U.S., having been established in the 1890’s.
Sunday, September 15, 1912 From Mahmud’s Diary
[Chicago — Kenosha]
This is the Grand Ballroom for the LaSalle Hotel, at 10 N. LaSalle Street in Chicago, around 1912. ‘Abdu’l-Baha spoke here on May 2, 1912, to the Federation of Women’s Clubs. From his talk:
"To accept and observe a distinction which God has not intended in creation is ignorance and superstition. The fact which is to be considered, however, is that woman, having formerly been deprived, must now be allowed equal opportunities with man for education and training. There must be no difference in their education. Until the reality of equality between man and woman is fully established and attained, the highest social development of mankind is not possible. Even granted that woman is inferior to man in some degree of capacity or accomplishment, this or any other distinction would continue to be productive of discord and trouble. The only remedy is education, opportunity; for equality means equal qualification. In brief, the assumption of superiority by man will continue to be depressing to the ambition of woman, as if her attainment to equality was creationally impossible; woman’s aspiration toward advancement will be checked by it, and she will gradually become hopeless. On the contrary, we must declare that her capacity is equal, even greater than man’s. This will inspire her with hope and ambition, and her susceptibilities for advancement will continually increase. She must not be told and taught that she is weaker and inferior in capacity and qualification. If a pupil is told that his intelligence is less than his fellow pupils, it is a very great drawback and handicap to his progress. He must be encouraged to advance by the statement, “You are most capable, and if you endeavor, you will attain the highest degree.” Promulgation of Universal Peace