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from the chronology

date event locations tags see also
1893. 23 Sep First public reference in North America to the Bahá'í Faith.
  • Reference was made to it in a paper entitled `The Religious Mission of the English Speaking Nations' by Rev. Henry H. Jessup, a retired missionary from north Syria, read by Rev George A. Ford at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. [AB63–4; BBD2412; BBR57; BFA1:323; BW2:230; GPB256; SBBH1:76, 88, 202]
  • See AB63–4, BW2:169 for text.
Chicago; United States Henry H. Jessup; World Parliament of Religions; Interfaith dialogue
1894. Feb Ibrahim George Kheiralla settles in Chicago. [BFA1:XXVII]
  • Owing to his work, the first Bahá'í community in North America is soon formed in Chicago. [BBRSM:100; BW10:179]
Chicago Ibrahim George Kheiralla
1894. 5 Jun Thornton Chase becomes a Bahá'í in Chicago. [BBD53; BFA1:35–6]
  • He is designated by `Abdu'l-Bahá the first American believer. [BBD53; GPB257]
  • See BFA1:35 for his own account of how he became a Bahá'í.
  • See BFA1:33–7 for other Americans who became Bahá'ís around the same time.
  • He was given the name Thábit (Steadfast) by `Abdu'l-Bahá. [BBD53; GPB257]
Chicago Thornton Chase Thornton Chase in the newspapers (series of mentions especially 1893-7)
1897. 21 May Lua Getsinger becomes a Bahá'í in Chicago. [BFA1:XXVII] Chicago Lua Getsinger
1899 The Serpent by Thornton Chase, an 18-page pamphlet on the image of the serpent in the Bible, is published in Chicago. This is probably the first published essay written by an American Bahá'í. [BFA2:26] Chicago
1900 Tablets, Communes and Holy Utterances, a collection of writings by Bahá'u'lláh, is published in the United States. [BFA2:26]
  • It is the first prayer book and first compilation of Bahá'í writings published in the West. [BFA2:26]
  • It was probably translated by Anton Haddad and published by the Behais Supply and Publishing Board. [BFA2:26]
Chicago Tablets; Communes and Holy Utterances; Anton Haddad; Behais Supply and Publishing Board; Sarah Farmer; Green Acre; Baha'i summer school; Publishing Trust
1900 Jan The Behais Publishing and Supply Board is created in Chicago. [BFA1:XXIX] Chicago Behais Publishing and Supply Board; Publishing Trust
1900 c. 16 Mar The Chicago community re-organizes by selecting a ten-member Board of Council. Neither Kheiralla nor any of his supporters are on the Board. [BFA1:XXIX, 170] Chicago Board of Council; Kheiralla
1901 15 May The Chicago Bahá'ís elect a nine-man Board of Council for a term of five years. [BFA2:XXV, 44–7] Chicago Board of Council
1901 20 May The number of members on the Board of Council is raised to 12. [BFA2:47] Chicago Board of Council
1901 24 May The name of the Chicago Board of Council is changed to the House of Justice. [BFA2:48]
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá requests that this name be changed a year later. [BFA2:49]
Chicago; United States Board of Council; House of Justice; Spiritual Assemblies
1901 29 May The Bahá'í women of Chicago elect their own Board and hold the first business meeting of the `Women's Auxiliary Board'. [BFA2:XV, 49–50] Chicago; United States Women
1902 10 May The Chicago House of Justice changes its name to the House of Spirituality. [BFA2:XV] Chicago House of Justice; House of Spirituality; Spiritual Assemblies
1903 7 Mar Inspired by the news of the `Ishqábád Temple project, the Chicago House of Spirituality asks `Abdu'l-Bahá for permission to construct a Mashriqu'l-Adhkár. [BFA2:XVI, 118; BW10:179; GPB348] `Ishqabad; Chicago Temple; House of Spirituality; Mashriqu'l-Adhkar
1903 30 May A letter from `Abdu'l-Bahá is received by the Chicago House of Spirituality giving His approval for the building of a Mashriqu'l-Adhkár in North America. [BFA2:119] Chicago House of Spirituality; Mashriqu'l-Adhkár
1903 7 Jun Eight days after `Abdu'l-Bahá's first Tablet arrives, a second Tablet arrives from Him approving the project. [BW10:179; CT41; GPB262, 349; MBW142] Chicago House of Spirituality; Mashriqu'l-Adhkar
1907 19 Jul The Chicago `Bahai Assembly' files an affidavit of incorporation, the first Bahá'í community to acquire legal status. [BFA2:278]
  • The incorporation is in the name of the community rather than the governing body. [BFA2:278–9]
Chicago Bahai Assembly; incorporation
1907 26 Nov The first national Bahá'í conference is held in America. [BFA2:XVI; BW10:179]
  • At the invitation of the House of Spirituality of Chicago, nine Bahá'ís from various communities join some ten from the Chicago area at a one-day conference to foster national cooperation on the Temple project and to choose a suitable site for the Temple. [BFA2:280; CT78; GPB262, 349]
Chicago national conference; House of Spirituality; Temple; Mashriqu'l-Adhkar
1908 Sep The Bahá'í Publishing Society is founded in Chicago. [BW10:179] Chicago Baha'i Publishing Society; Publishing Trust
1909 21 Mar `Abdu'l-Bahá lays the sacred remains of the Báb in their final resting place at the Shrine in Haifa. [AB126; BBD210; DH138; GBF103; GPB276]
  • See AB126–30, CT84 and GPB273–8 for details of the occasion and its history.
  • The Shrine is a simple rectangular structure of six rooms. [DH71, ZK284]
  • The marble sarcophagus used for the remains of the Báb is a gift from the Bahá'ís of Rangoon. [AB129; MC155]
  • For details of the sarcophagus see RB3:431.
Mount Carmel; Rangoon; Chicago Shrine of the Bab; marble sarcophagus; Baha'i Convention; Corinne True; Baha'i Temple Unity; Temple
1909 21 Mar The first American Bahá'í Convention opens in Chicago. [BFA2:XVII, 309; BW13:849; MBW142–3; SBBH1:146]
  • It is held in the home of Corinne True. [CT82–3]
  • It is attended by 39 delegates from 36 cities. [GPB262; SBBH1:146]
  • The Convention establishes the 'Bahá'í Temple Unity', which is incorporated to hold title to the Temple property and to provide for its construction. A constitution is framed and an Executive Board of the Bahá'í Temple Unity elected. [BBD39; BBRSM:106; BW10:179; GPB349; PP397; SBBH1:146]
Chicago; American Baha'i Convention; Corinne True; Baha'i Temple Unity; Mashriqu'l-Adhkar
1909. 21 Mar The first printing of Volume 1 of Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá by the Bahá’í Publishing Society in Chicago. Chicago Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha find reference
1909 20 Aug Birth of Paul Haney, Hand of the Cause of God, in Chicago.
  • His given name is `Abdu'l-Bahá, bestowed upon him by `Abdu'l-Bahá Himself at his birth.
Chicago Paul Haney; Hand of the Cause of God
1910 21 Mar The first issue of the Bahá'í News is published in Chicago. [BFA2:XVII; BW10:179]
  • See BFA2:320–2, BW8:927 and SBBH1:116–17 for the magazine's development.
  • It is the first Bahá'í magazine published in the West. [BBD2 14]
  • Star of the West is published as Bahá'í News (Volume 1, Issues 1-19 from 21 March, 1910 until 2 March, 1911) and later under Star of the West /The Bahá'í Magazine (Volume 2 to Volume 25, 21 March, 1911 until 25 March,1935).
  • Its editors were Albert Windust and Gertrude Buikema. Others involved with its publication over its history were Albert and Emily Vail, Dr. Zia Bagdadi, Ahmad Sohrab, Edna M. True; with Horace Holley and Stanwood Cobb being singled out as early contributors. [Duane Troxel]

Star of the West Published March 1910 to April 1935
          URL   (For cut 'n' paste)  
         Volume # / Dates (links)   
Vol 1 (Mar 1910) - Vol 10 (Mar 1920)
Vol 11 (Mar 1920) - Vol 20 (Mar 1930)
Vol 21 (Apr 1930) - Vol 25 (Apr 1935)

For an access to the Star of the West archives see http://www.starofthewest.info/. This site is not searchable.

Chicago; IL; Star of the West; Baha'i News; Baha'i Magazine
1912 The publication of The Brilliant Proof by Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl Gulpáygání in Chicago by the Bahai News Service, 1912. The first edition notes state that it was written December 28, 1911, in Syria, "by the pen of Mirza Abul Fazl Gulpaygan."
  • The publication of this book marks the end of an early era of Bahá'í teaching in the West. As 'Abdu'l-Bahá continued his journeys in the United States and Canada, He delivered hundreds of public talks and private addresses which were tailored to Western audiences. The fresh outpouring of teachings which resulted from these encounters produced a new Bahá'í literature of the words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the West. Examples include the following: The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by `Abdu'l-Bahá During His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912, compiled by Howard MacNutt, (Wilmette, Ill.: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1922-25); Paris Talks: Addresses Given by `Abdu'l-Bahá in Paris in 1911-1912 (London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1912); 'Abdu'l-Bahá in London..
Chicago Brilliant Proof (book); Mirza Abul-Fadl Gulpaygani; Promulgation of Universal Peace (book); Paris Talks (book); Abdul-Baha in London (book)
1912 28 Apr `Abdu'l-Bahá give private interviews in the morning then calls on the Turkish Ambassador. [APD56-59]

`Abdu'l-Bahá leaves Washington for Chicago. [239D:46; AB184; SBR81]

`Abdu'l-Bahá arrives in Chicago. [239D:47]

Washington; DC; Chicago `Abdu'l-Baha's second Western tour
1912 30 Apr Talk at Public Meeting Concluding Convention of Bahá’í Temple Unity, Drill Hall, Masonic Temple, Chicago, Illinois. [PUP65,]

Talk at Hull House, Chicago, Illinois. Hull House was a community centre, one of the earliest in Chicago, founded by the National American Woman Suffrage Association [PUP67, MD70]

Talk at Fourth Annual Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Handel Hall, Chicago, Illinois. [PUP69, MD71]

Chicago; `Abdu'l-Baha's second Western tour; Public Meeting Concluding Convention of Baha’i Temple Unity; Hull House; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Handel Hall; NAACP; National American Woman Suffrage Association
1912 1 May `Abdu'l-Bahá lays the cornerstone of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkár in Wilmette. [239D:51; AB186; GPB288, 349; MBW143]
  • Talk at Dedication of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár Grounds. [PUP71]
  • The cornerstone has been offered by Mrs Nettie Tobin. [AB186]
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá asks delegates from the various Bahá'í communities and Bahá'ís from different backgrounds each to dig the earth to lay the stone. [AB186–7]
Chicago; United States Mashriqul-Adhkar (House of Worship); Nettie Tobin; Travels of Abdul-Baha
1912 2 May Talk at Hotel Plaza, Chicago, Illinois, [PUP72]

Talk to Federation of Women’s Clubs, Hotel La Salle, Chicago, Illinois. [PUP74]

Talk at Bahá’í Women’s Reception, Hotel La Salle, Chicago, Illinois. [PUP77]

Talk at Hotel Plaza, Chicago, Illinois. [PUP78]

Talk at Hotel Plaza, Chicago, Illinois. [PUP79]

Chicago; `Abdu'l-Baha's second Western tour; Plaza Hotel; Federation of Women's Clubs; Baha'i Women's Reception
1912 3 May Talk at Hotel Plaza, Chicago, Illinois. [PUP83]

Talk at Hotel Plaza, Chicago, Illinois. [PUP84]

Chicago; `Abdu'l-Baha's second Western tour; Hotel Plaza
1912 5 May Talk at Children’s Meeting, Hotel Plaza, Chicago, Illinois. [PSBW134–5, PUP91]

Talk at Plymouth Congregational Church, 935 East Fiftieth Street, Chicago, Illinois. [PUP93]

Talk at All-Souls Church, Lincoln Center, Chicago, Illinois. [PUP97]

Chicago Abdu'l-Baha's second Western tour; Plymouth Congregational Church; Talk at All-Souls Church; Children’s Meeting; Hotel Plaza; Lincoln Center
1912 6 May `Abdu'l-Bahá leaves Chicago, arriving in Cleveland the same day. [239D:57; AB189]

Talk at Euclid Hall, Cleveland, Ohio. [PUP101]

Talk at Sanatorium of Dr. C. M. Swingle, Cleveland, Ohio. [PUP104]

Chicago; Cleveland `Abdu'l-Baha's second Western tour; Euclid Hall; Sanatorium of Dr. C. M. Swingle
1912 12 Sep `Abdu'l-Bahá leaves Buffalo for Chicago, arriving the same day. [239D:142]
  • He stays at the home of Corinne True. [239D:142; AB266]
Buffalo; Chicago Corinne True; `Abdu'l-Baha's second Western tour
1912 15 Sep `Abdu'l-Bahá leaves Chicago for Kenosha, Wisconsin. [239D:145; AB267]
  • He misses His train and tells the Bahá'ís not to be concerned over this, as there is a good reason for it; travelling on the next train they come across the wreckage of the first, which has been in a collision. [239D:145; AB267]
Chicago; Kenosha; Wisconsin `Abdu'l-Baha's second Western tour
1912 16 Sep Talk at Home of Mrs. Corinne True, 5338 Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. [PUP320]

`Abdu'l-Bahá leaves Chicago for Minneapolis, arriving the same night. [239D:146; AB273]

Chicago; Minneapolis `Abdu'l-Baha's second Western tour; Corinne True
1912 30 Oct `Abdu'l-Bahá leaves Denver for Chicago. [239D:175] Denver; Chicago `Abdu'l-Baha's second Western tour
1912 31 Oct `Abdu'l-Bahá arrives in Chicago. [239D:176]

Talk at Hotel Plaza, Chicago, Illinois. [PUP381]

Chicago `Abdu'l-Baha's second Western tour; Hotel Plaza
1912 1 Nov Talk at Home of Mrs. Corinne True, 5338 Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. [PUP383] Chicago; Corrine True; `Abdu'l-Baha's second Western tour
1912 4 Nov `Abdu'l-Bahá leaves Chicago and arrives in Cincinnati the same day. [239D:179] Chicago; Cincinnati `Abdu'l-Baha's second Western tour
1912 5 Nov Talk at Grand Hotel, Cincinnati, Ohio. [PUP388]

`Abdu'l-Bahá leaves Cincinnati for Washington DC. [239D:179]

Chicago; Washington; DC `Abdu'l-Baha's second Western tour; Grand Hotel
1916 Apr or May The first Chinese Bahá'í in China, Chen Hai An (Harold A. Chen), becomes a Bahá'í in Chicago through the efforts of Dr Zia Baghdádí. [PH29-30]
  • PH30 says this was 1919 but this is clearly a typographical error.
  • He returns to China in December 1916.
China; Chicago Chen Hai An (Harold A. Chen); Dr Zia Baghdadi
1916 8 Sep The first five Tablets of the Tablets of the Divine Plan are published in Star of the West. [BBD219; 5w7, 10:87-91]
  • For editorial comment see SW7, 10:86.
  • After this, communication is cut off with the Holy Land. [BBD219]
Chicago Tablets of the Divine Plan; Star of the West
1920 Apr Louis Bourgeois is selected as the architect for the Chicago House of Worship. [DP94; GPB303; SBBH1:145]
  • For details of the designs and selection process see DP76-100.
  • See CT159 for the source of inspiration for the design.
Wilmette Louis Bourgeois; House of Worship; Wilmette Temple; Chicago Temple; Mashriqu’l-Adhkar
1922 in the year The publication of The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Compiled by Howard MacNutt.
  • From the preface to the 1922 edition..."This treasury of His words is a compilation of informal talks and extemporary discourses delivered in Persian and Arabic, interpreted by proficient linguists who accompanied Him, and taken stenographically in both Oriental and Occidental tongue."
  • From the same preface is a letter from 'Abdu'l-Bahá to Howard MacNutt dated 13 April, 1919 approving his idea to publish the compilation of His talks in America and urging him to be most careful to reproduce the exact text as well as promising an "effulgent face" in the Abhá Kingdom as well as the praise and gratitude of the friends.
  • And again from the same source is a letter from 'Abdu'l-Bahá to Albert Windust written on the 20th of July, 1919 asking him to name the book The Promulgation of Universal Peace and to direct that the Introduction must be written by Howard MacNutt. Prior to His coming to America the friends were unclear about His station and their differences in understanding was a major source of disunity. On one extreme were those that believed that 'Abdu'l-Baha was a man who, through the application and complete obedience to the Faith, had earned a high station, like the Christ's disciple Peter, implying that others could do the same. In the other camp were those who insisted that He was the return of Christ. Little wonder that they were confused because never in religious history had there been someone like 'Abdu'l-Bahá, one Who held the station of "The Mystery of God". Howard's failure to understand 'Abdu'l-Bahá's station and disobedience to Him and taken him precariously close to the company of Covenant-breakers but through 'Abdu'l-Bahá's unfailing love and guidance he was able to come to a true understanding. The Introduction to the 1922 edition was his testament to the station of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. [DJT369-372]
  • The Promulgation of Universal Peace, although not "scripture", could be compared to Some Answered Questions in that it is a carefully transcribed record of His talks. Unlike that publication where He answered questions, in The Promulgation of Universal Peace it was 'Abdu'l-Bahá who chose the subject. Upon arrival in New York He said, "It is my purpose to set forth in America the fundamental principles of the revelation and teachings of Bahá'u'lláh." [PUPxii]
Chicago; New York,NY The Promulgation of Universal Peace; Howard MacNutt
1927 Oct Shoghi Effendi entrusts Dr William Slater and his wife Ida Slater, who are visiting Haifa on a 19-day pilgrimage, with carpets from the Shrines of the Báb and 'Abdu'l-Bahá for the House of Worship in Chicago. [SETPE1p149] Haifa; Chicago Dr William Slater; Ida Slater; Mashriqu'l-Adhkar; Shrine of the Bab
1932 17 Feb The Chicago Bahá’í Assembly incorporates, the first local spiritual assembly in the world to do so. This set the pattern for other Assemblies. [GPB336, Century of LIght p57] Chicago LSA; incorporation
1938 1 May At the National Convention in Chicago, Grace Roberts Ober, who had just given a report on a travel teaching trip to Louisville Ky and on her work in Toronto where she had been the previous Fall, collapses into the arms of the Convention chairman, Harlan Ober in view of the assembled delegates while ending her address. She is removed from the convention hall and passes away shortly thereafter. See TG75-76 for the background to this story.
  • Born in Thorold, ON of Sarah E. Wilson and the Rev Thomas Tempest Robarts, a cannon in the Anglican Church her life's work was that of a teacher.
  • During 'Abdu'l-Baha's tour of America she served as his household manager, going ahead to secure an apartment for him and acting as His housekeeper and hostess.
  • On July 17, 1912 she married Harlan Ober at 'Abdu'l-Bahá's suggestion. The legal marriage was conducted by Howard Colby Ives. [BW8p656-660]
Chicago Grace Roberts Ober; In Memoriam
1943 Margot Vandenbroeck-Levy (Galler) becomes a Bahá’í in Chicago, the first native Luxembourger to accept the Faith.
  • She returns to Luxembourg in 1948.
Chicago Margot Vandenbroeck-Levy
1953 3 – 6 May The All-America Intercontinental Teaching Conference is held in Chicago. [BW12:133]
  • For the texts of Shoghi Effendi’s messages to the conference see BW12:133–41 and MBW142–6.
  • Twelve Hands of the Cause are present. [BW12:143]
  • At the conference, five members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States resign from that body in order to go pioneering: Elsie Austin, Dorothy Baker, Matthew Bullock, Mamie Seto and Dr William Kenneth Christian. [ZK102]
  • Extract from the cecond message to All-American Intercontinental Conference from Shoghi Effendi... [MBW150]
    .....the lands contributed in Latin America for a similar purpose approximate one-half of a million square meters, ninety thousand of which have been set aside near Santiago, Chile, for the first Mashriqu’l-Adhkár of South America..
Chicago; US All-America Intercontinental Teaching Conference; Hand of the Cause; pioneer; Elsie Austin; Dorothy Baker’ Matthew Bullock; Mamie Seto; Dr William Kenneth Christian; Intercontinental Teaching Conference; Conference; Baha'i House of Worship; Mother Temple of South America; Continental Mashriqu’l-Adhkar; Mashriqu'l-Adhkar
1961 3 Apr Corinne True, Hand of the Cause of God, passes away in Chicago. [BW13:846]
  • For her obituary see BW13:846–9.
  • For cables from the Custodians see MC257.
  • Shoghi Effendi had appointed her among the second contingent on the 29th of February, 1952. [MoCxxiii]
  • See also Rutstein, Corinne True.
Chicago; US Corinne True; Hand of the Cause; In Memoriam; Appointment Hand - Second Contingent
1995 Jan By decision of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United State the Wilmette Institute is established as an agency of the National Assembly. "The Wilmette Institute is a center of Bahá’í learning. Its programs aim to facilitate study and dialogue on the teachings and principles of the Faith to help individuals and communities apply learning and advance human civilization." In 1998, the Wilmette Institute moved to a largely online study approach in order to provide educational classes to a broader student body. [Wilmette Institute] Chicago; United States Wilmette Institute
2008 6 – 7 Dec Regional Conferences held in Portland, United States, Chicago, United States, Atlanta, United States and Almaty, Kazakhstan. [ Portand, Chicago, Atlanta, Almaty] Portland; United States; Chicago; United States; Atlanta; United States; Almaty; Kazakhstan Regional Conferences

from the main catalogue

  1. 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Encounter with Modernity during His Western Travels, by Wendi Momen, in Lights of Irfan, 13 (2012). Abdu'l-Baha's responses to the West's technology and innovations on the one hand, vs. its archaic racist and sexual philosophies on the other. [about]
  2. Chicago the Pagan, by Weimar Port (1953). 2-page description of the Baha'i Temple in Wilmette, with a poem about it by Charles Collins published in the Chicago Tribune. [about]
  3. Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-86, by Universal House of Justice (1996). [about]
  4. Part of the Baha'i History of the Family of Charles and Maria Ioas, by Viola Tuttle and Margarite Ioas Ullrich (1978). Biographies of Charles and Maria: from his birth in 1859, their introduction to the Faith in 1898, experiences with 'Abdu'l-Bahá in 1912, and four Tablets from 'Abdu'l-Bahá. [about]
  5. Rabindranath Tagore: Some Encounters with Bahá'ís, by Peter Terry (1992). 'Abdu'l-Baha is alleged to have met India's poet laureate Tagore in Chicago in 1912. This article examines the historical sources for that story. [about]
 
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