Traces That Remain:
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Miss Alexander and Mrs. Finch were in their little house when it happened. They managed to get outside in time to see the front wall of the house fall out. However, they could still use the house.
Many survivors were left homeless; especially pitiful were the lost children. The small group of Bahá'ís started an orphanage and joined with others to care for the children. Mrs. Finch, who had left Tokyo for her home in Seattle shortly after the earthquake, started to collect clothing and money from the Americans which she sent to Miss Alexander for the children. The Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, and other members of the Holy
Besides the efforts made by Miss Alexander and Mrs. Finch, worthy of note were those made by three other Bahá'í women, Miss Murakami, Mrs. Takeshita, and Miss Hide Tanaka.
Miss Murakami and Mrs. Takeshita are mentioned again in 1932 and 1933 as being members of the first Local Spiritual Assembly of Tokyo.
Miss Alexander wrote an account of the great Kanto earthquake to the Bahá'ís of India. She often wrote to Bahá'ís of other countries because the Guardian had encouraged such communication. This letter, printed in the Bahá'í News of India, is perhaps more revealing about that dear soul, Miss Alexander.
Most beloved friends of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, September 26, 1923
Many days have passed since the great catastrophe of September 1st. That day our beloved Lord protected His servants in these parts. A week before, Mrs. Ida Finch had come from Peking on her way to America and was with this servant in the little Bahá'í home. When the earth began suddenly to shake, we two were sitting in the parlour, which His Love had blessed so many times and where peace can be found. The little house is back from the street in Ukyomachi. This servant had been
along the coast.
Evening came and we laid ourselves down to rest in the little parlour to escape, if necessary. Beside His portrait this servant found a place to rest. During the night we were called to escape, as the fire was drawing near, but it proved not to be necessary. The next two days we remained by the house, as safety was not assured when the earth continued to shake. On the morning of the third, the fire had ceased to burn. The glare no longer was seen in the sky. For days after the great quake and fire, masses of humanity passed along the broad roadway into which Ukyomachi leads, coming from the burned districts where they had been driven out by fire. Oh, that mass of humanity!
When this servant went to the street, she was dazed, it was too overwhelming to comprehend. Along the roadway there was scarcely anything to be found. Everything had suddenly come to a standstill, but with tremendous energy the government took hold and food was brought in from outer provinces. From the moment of the earthquake everything had stopped. The trains and trams were stopped, similarly gas, electric lights, telephones, etc. On the fourth day, with the help of a kind student friend, I found my way to what had been the American Embassy, but only a few pillars remained. The only center remaining in Tokyo was the new Imperial Hotel. It seemed to be the only place to
Miss Alexander surrounded by the homeless children.
On the tenth Mrs. Finch left Tokyo to be taken by the U.S. government on a steamer going to Seattle ... The afternoon of her departure, the way opened for me to have a boy and his mother who had lost everything in the fire, come to stay with me. They are very happy to find a home.
In the district of Fukagawa, one of our Bahá'í brothers had his home and also a dear young sister, Otoe Murakami, worked there in an office, but they were protected by His Love. Miss Murakami escaped with two young friends dodging the fire, here and there, seeing the terrible sights until she reached her home in the suburbs. Mr. Tanaka, our dear brother had started that morning with his little boy of nine years to travel. He said he thought to spread the Bahá'í spirit that way, but they were caught
BAHÁ'Í ORPHANAGE AT TOKYO (EARTHQUAKE ORPHANS). NO ONE CAN STUDY THESE EARNEST AND STRONG FACES OF JAPANESE CHILDREN WITHOUT REALIZING THE MARVELOUS FUTURE THAT AWAITS THIS GIFTED RACE.
Miss Alexander sent this photograph to be published in the "Star of the West." It is seen here with the original caption [typed in because font on card too small to scan. -J.W.]. It was taken in front of Mrs. Takeshita's house. She is in the last row holding the baby.
Many little children have lost their parents and families in the catastrophe. This servant has sought out these little ones which are being cared for by kind people. In one group there are 110.
To all the friends of God, this servant sends her heart's love, and now she trusts in His Guidance and knows prayers are being uttered on her behalf that she may serve as He wills.
Agnes B. Alexander
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