Years in the making!–this the much-anticipated volume of local Bahá’í histories provides new insight into the unfoldment of community life. The authors challenge many commonly held assumptions about Bahá’í history and demonstrate the diversity of Western Bahá’í communities.
Each essay carefully documents the internal dynamics of a particular community, from the early days of the Faith to the present, and includes six essays by different Bahá’í scholars on the history of the Bahá’í communities in: Kenosha, Wisconsin; Baltimore, Maryland; Sacramento, California; St. Brunswick, Nova Scotia; Kansas; and Great Britain.
Richard Hollinger’s introduction is a full additional essay on critical periods in the evolution of the national Bahá’í community of the United States. Also included are details of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s visits to Baltimore, Kenosha, and Sacramento.
This is the sixth volume in the scholarly series on the Babi and Bahá'í religions. Seven Bahá'í historians explore the histories of selected local Bahá'í communities in the United States, Britain, and Canada. Each author's research has uncovered aspects of Bahá'í history which have never before been discussed in print.
Richard Hollinger begins the volume with a sociological survey of major trends in the American Bahá'í community from the nineteenth century to the present. He provides the reader with a broad framework in which the history of local communities can be understood.
The next three authors turn their attention to some of the oldest Bahá'í communities in America. Roger Dahl recounts the long history of the Bahá'ís of Kenosha, Wisconsin, visited by Abdul-Baha in 1912. Duane Herrmann discusses Bahá'í communities in Kansas, with unique insight into their patterns of growth and inactivity. Deborah Clark traces the fascinating story of the Bahá'ís in the Baltimore area, who also hosted Abdul-Baha during his travels in America. All authors bring their histories up to the present.
Phillip Smith's essay on Britain focuses on the deep changes brought about in the Bahá'í community with the gradual establishment of the Administrative Order. He explains the necessary, and sometimes difficult, adjustment of attitudes and practices among the English Bahá'ís.
Next, Will. C. van den Hoonaard, a Canadian Bahá'í, explores the brief early history of the Saint John Bahá'ís. Established in 1910, the Bahá'í community struggled in the hostile environment of New Brunswick. In 1925, the community disappeared, to be reestablished only in recent times.
Finally, Peggy Caton writes about the Bahá'í community of Sacramento, California, including a detailed account of Abdul-Baha's visit there. She also discusses the rapid expansion of the community during the 1960s and 1970s.
This book is an impressive collection of historical information and interpretation. It is the first serious and scholarly attempt to delve into the histories of local Bahá'í Communities. The volume is an indispensable addition to the library of anyone interested in the study of Bahá'í history.