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1898 Jul or Aug Phoebe Hearst became a Bahá'í in California through the efforts of Lua and Edward Getsinger. [BFA1:XXVIII 139; LDNW14-15]
  • SBBH1:93 says this was July, based on Kheiralla's autobiography; BFA1 is based on a letter from Phoebe Hearst.
  • California Phoebe Hearst; Lua Getsinger; Edward Getsinger
    1900 26 Nov Agnes Baldwin Alexander wrote to `Abdu'l-Bahá declaring her belief in Bahá'u'lláh. [BFA2:159; SBR176]
  • She had heard of the Bahá'í Faith from Charlotte Dixon while staying in a pension in Rome. She stayed in Rome for three months studying prophecies then travelled to Paris for further study with May Bolles for another three and one half months. [BFA2:159; SBR176]
  • She left Paris in the Spring of 1901 for London, New England, Oakland, Ca and finally Honolulu. On returning to Hawaii in December 1901 she became the first Bahá'í to set foot in Hawaii. [BFA2:159–60; SBR177]
  • Rome; Italy; Paris; France; Oakland; California; London; United Kingdom; Honolulu; Hawaii Agnes Alexander; May Maxwell (Bolles); Charlotte Dixon
    1909 (In the year) The passing of Robert Turner (b. 15 October, 1855 or 1856, Virginia d. 1909 California)
  • the first African-American Bahá'í and a member of the first Western Pilgrimage to Haifa in 1898, led by his employer Mrs. Phoebe Hearst. He was a butler in her household for more than 35 years. He was taught the Bahá'í Faith by Lua Getsinger in the process of serving tea and remained a devoted believer his entire life. "Such was the tenacity of his faith that even the subsequent estrangement of his beloved mistress from the Cause she had spontaneously embraced failed to becloud its radiance, or to lessen the intensity of the emotions which the loving-kindness showered by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá upon him had excited in his breast." (GPB259) [A Vision of Race Unity, Ving p101, AZBF475, An Early Pilgrimage by May Maxwell]
  • He received a Tablet from 'Abdu'l-Bahá while on his deathbed and a tribute after his passing. [AY60, 61, 339, AB72]
  • He was one of the nineteen Western Bahá'ís designated as a Disciple of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
  • A Tablet to him from 'Abdu'l-Bahá can be found in SWABpg114 #78 and 'Abdu'l-Bahá in America (website).
  • See also Bahaipedia, Bahá'í Chronicles.
  • Find a Grave.
  • Virginia; California; United States Robert Turner; Disciples of Abdul-Baha; Firsts, Other; Phoebe Hearst; In Memoriam; Births and deaths
    1911 10 Mar 'Abdu'l-Bahá sent Lua Getsinger and Dr Ameen Farid to California where they spoke to some 5,000 people delivering lectures on "Bahá'í Reformation" or referring to it in the course of lectures on other subjects. She spent two weeks visiting friends in Chicago and then departed for California on the 10th of March. [LGHC123]
  • Among the groups contacted were the Scottish Rite Masons, the Knights Templar, the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, some literary clubs, a Unitarian congregation in Almeda, a large group of Japanese, the "World's Spiritual Congress", the Church of the Golden Rule, the Auxiliary of the Juvenile Court, with Persian, Turkish, Egyptian and Jewish ladies, the Federation of Women's club, the faculty members of the University of California and of Stanford University, the crew of the battleship S.S. California, and prisoners in San Quentin. They also went to Tijuana, Mexico, where a civil war was in progress, and where she served as a volunteer nurse for the Red Cross while Dr Fareed served as surgeon to the wounded. [LDNW25; SBBH1p126; SoW Vol 2 No 13 p6-7; SoW Vol 2 No 14 p13-14; SoW Vol 2 No 16 p12-13]
  • Dr Fareed met President Taft at a luncheon of the Union League Club, and also at the dedication of the ground for the 1915 Panama Exposition. He had an opportunity for a few minutes to speak privately to the President when, as a Bahá'í, he congratulated him upon his efforts for Arbitration Treaties and promotion of Peace between nations. Thus the President was informed of the goal of the Bahá'í Movement, and its sympathy with all efforts far the Unity and Peace of the world. [SoW Vol 2 No 14 p13]
  • Some time before the end of 1911 Dr. Fareed returned to Egypt. See the same reference for a report from Ella Goodall Cooper on the progress of the teaching work in California. [SoW Vol 2 No 16 p12-13]
  • Some of Lua's talks were:
    • December 17th, 1911 at the California Club Hall in San Francisco. [LGHC358]
    • January 6th, 1912 at the Bellevue Hotel in San Francisco. [LGHC373]
    • January 16th, 1912 at the Bellevue Hotel in San Francisco. [LGHC375]
  • Lua Getsinger travelled to Chicago to meet Him and to attend the dedication of the land for the Temple. 'Abdu'l-Bahá asked her to participate in the ground-breaking ceremony by turning over a shovelful of earth. [LDNW26-27] iiiii
  • California; United States; Tijuana; Mexico; San Quentin Lua Getsinger; Teaching; Ameen Fareed (Amin Farid)
    1912. 6 Jul In obedience to 'Abdu'l-Bahá Lua Getsinger departed New York for California to prepare for His coming or as "just a bugler in the army of the Lord" as she stated her mission. [LGHC161-162] California; New York Lua Getsinger; Teaching, California
    1912 30 Sep Thornton Chase, the first American Bahá'í, Disciple of `Abdu'l-Bahá, passed away in California before 'Abdu'l-Bahá'í and His retinue arrive. He was buried at Inglewood. He had been named Thábit (Steadfast) by the Master. [BBD71; BFA2:XVII]
  • See SoW Vol 3 No 12 16 October, 1912 p1-7 for a tribute to him upon his passing.
  • For a brief biography see Bahá'í Chronicles.
  • See as well Bahá’í Encyclopedia.
  • See "Disciples of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá" . [BW3p84–85; BW4p118–119]
  • See the article Chase, Thornton: The First Bahá'í from the Western Hemisphere by Richard Francis.
  • For a biography see Thornton Chase: First American Bahá'í by Robert H Stockman, Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, 2002.
  • During the early years of the Faith in North America the Bahá'ís were unclear about the station of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. There were those who thought Him an ordinary man who had applied the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh flawlessly through His effort. Others believed Him to be the return of Christ. See ABF244-246 for his letter to Wellesly Tudor-Pole on the station of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
  • And a draft of a portion of the Stockman book, Love's Odyssey: The Life of Thornton Chase.
  • Upon hearing of his passing 'Abdu'l-Bahá is reported to have said, "This revered personage was the first Bahá'í in America. He served the Cause faithfully and his services will ever be remembered throughout ages and cycles." [SoW Vol 4 No 11 p.189]
  • Photos of the grave of Thornton Chase in Inglewood Park Cemetery.
  • Directions to his grave.
  • His publications:
    • A number of pamphlets, See Bibliography of English-Language Works on the Bábí and Bahá’í Faiths, 1844–1985 by William Collins, George Ronald, Oxford, 1990 page 66-67.
    • In Galilee and In Spirit and In Truth, first published in 1908. This was a record of his pilgrimage. [BEL7.634]
    • The Bahai Revelation, first published in 1909. This book was an introduction to the Faith intended for a Christian audience. [BEL7.629]
  • See the trailer for a film entitled Steadfast-The Thornton Chase Story by Mithaq Kazimi and produced by Sam Baldoni.
  • Los Angeles; California; United States Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Abdul-Baha, Second Western tour; Thornton Chase; Disciples of Abdul-Baha; Births and deaths; In Memoriam; Cemeteries and graves
    1912 1 Oct `Abdu'l-Bahá arrived in San Francisco about midnight. [239D:165; AB286] San Francisco; California; United States Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Abdul-Baha, Second Western tour
    1912 7 Oct Talk to Japanese Young Men’s Christian Association, Japanese Independent Church, 576 Sycamore Street, Oakland, California. [PUP343] Oakland; California; United States Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Abdul-Baha, Second Western tour; Abdul-Baha, Talks other
    1912 10 Oct Talk at Open Forum, San Francisco, California [PUP355] San Francisco; California; United States Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Abdul-Baha, Second Western tour; Abdul-Baha, Talks at public places
    1912 12 Oct Talk at Temple Emmanu-El, 450 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California. [PUP361, ABF408] San Francisco; California; United States Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Abdul-Baha, Second Western tour; Abdul-Baha, Talks at churches
    1912 13 or 14 Oct `Abdu'l-Bahá visited Phoebe Hearst at her estate, at her invitation. [239D:168; AB307]
  • She was estranged from the Faith because one or two individuals had tried to extort money from her but her invitation was sincere. AB307–8]
  • California; United States Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Abdul-Baha, Second Western tour; Phoebe Hearst; Hearst estate
    1912 26 Oct Talk at Assembly Hall, Hotel Sacramento, Sacramento, California. [PUP376]
  • In His talk 'Abdu'l-Bahá said that, "the greatest need in the world today is international peace,” and after discussing why California was well-suited to lead the efforts for the promotion of peace, He exhorted attendees: “May the first flag of international peace be upraised in this state.” [The Cause of Universal Peace: 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Enduring Impact by Kathryn Jewett Hogenson]
  • `Abdu'l-Bahá left Sacramento for Denver. [239D:172; AB316]
  • Sacramento; California; Denver; United States Abdul-Baha, Travels of; Abdul-Baha, Second Western tour; Abdul-Baha, Talks at public places
    1919 (in the year) Amelia Collins, Hand of the Cause, became a Bahá'í in Pasadena, California. [PSBW74] Pasadena; California; United States Amelia Collins; Hands of the Cause
    1919 13 Apr The passing of Phoebe Apperson Hearst (b. 3 December, 1842) in her home in Pleasanton, California during the worldwide influenza epidemic of 1918-1919. She was buried at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, California. [AY49, Find a grave, Bahá'í Chronicles]
  • See AY55-> for a brief history of her life and her contribution to the progress of the Faith. She had learned of the Faith through Lua Getsinger and members of her group in the early days of the Faith in California.
  • ‘Abdu’l-Bahá called her ‘the servant of Bahá, the “Mother of the Faithful”’. He writes that she had ‘sincerely turned unto her Master... completely faced toward the Kingdom of God ... [she] shall surely have a firm and steady footing in the Cause of God, her face shall shine forth from the Horizon of Loftiness, her fame shall be spread in the Kingdom of God, and [she] shall have a ringing voice ... and the light of her glorious deeds shall beam forth during cycles and ages.’ [AY54-55; 106-107]
  • Pleasanton; California; Colma; United States Phoebe Hearst; In Memoriam; Births and deaths; Cemeteries and graves; Lua Getsinger; Names and titles
    1925. 20- 22 Mar The Palace Hotel, the city's first premier luxury hotel, was the site for the first World Unity Conference in San Francisco. The three day event was organized by Leroy Ioas, Ella Goodall Cooper and Kathryn Frankland in cooperation with Rabbi Rudolph Coffee. Dr. David Starr Jordan, founding president of Stanford University, served as the honorary chairman of the conference. Those who addressed the conference were Rabbi Coffee and Dr. Jordan but also the senior priest of the Catholic Cathedral, a professor of religion, a Protestant minister of a large African-American congregation, distinguished academics, and a foreign diplomat. The last one to address the conference was the Persian Bahá’í scholar, Mírzá Asadu’llah Fádil Mázandarání, the only Bahá’í on the program.
  • Ioas provided the National Spiritual Assembly with a report, and he suggested that similar World Unity Conferences be held in other communities. The National Assembly enthusiastically agreed and established a three-person committee, including two of its officers, to assist other localities in their efforts to hold conferences. The committee members were Horace Holley, Florence Reed Morton, and Mary Rumsey Movius. World Unity Conferences were organized for Green Acre-August, Philadelphia-September, Cleveland-October and Chicago in November.

    During 1926 and into 1927, eighteen communities held World Unity Conferences using the San Francisco model. These included Worcester, Massachusetts; New York, New York Oct 10-12; Montreal, Canada; Cleveland, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Hartford, Connecticut; New Haven, Connecticut; Chicago, Illinois; Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and Buffalo, New York. [BN No 12 Jun-Jul 1926 p6-7; The Cause of Universal Peace: 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Enduring Impact by Kathryn Jewett Hogenson; LI45-49; BN No 20 Nov 1927 p5]

  • See BA117 for Shoghi Effendi's comments and recommendations.
  • San Francisco; California Race Amity Conference; World Unity Conference; Leroy Ioas; Ella Goodall Cooper; Kathryn Frankland
    1927 1 Aug Geyserville Bahá’í Summer School, the first American Bahá’í summer school, was established on property in California donated by John Bosch. It was to operate until 1973 when a new road project divided the property. The land was sold and the funds used to purchase land in the mountains above the coastal town of Santa Cruz. The new school was named In honour of John and Louise Bosch. [BBD87; BW10:180; GPB340, Bosch]
  • BW5:28–9 says this was the second Bahá’í summer school in America but Shoghi Effendi indicates in GPB340 that Green Acre is formally established as a Bahá’í summer school in 1929.
  • Geyserville; California; United States Summer schools; First summer and winter schools; John Bosch; Green Acre
    1932 27 Feb Race Amity gatherings became an effective way promote the principle of racial equality. At one such gathering held in Los Angeles, the circle of racial amity activities was widened to include not only white and coloured but also Native Americans, as well as Chinese and Japanese. At the banquet dinner, Chief Standing Bear, who attended in full regalia with a number of his tribesmen, offered a prayer and spoke of peace as a covenant among all races. A Native American tribal dance followed as part of the programme. [Louis Gregory, ‘Racial Amity in America: An Historical Review’, in BW7p652-666.] Los Angeles; California; United States Race (general); Race Amity; Race unity; Conferences, Race Amity; Native Americans; Chinese diaspora; Japanese diaspora
    1945 24 Oct The United Nations was formally established.
  • For the relationship of the Bahá’í Faith to the United Nations see BW16:327–52.
  • See SDC64-65 for 'Abdu'l-Bahá's prophetic statement, written in 1875, "True civilization will unfurl its banner...".
  • The temporary headquarters for the United Nations was established in Lake Success, NY in a warehouse formerly occupied by the Sperry Gyroscope Company. (1946-1952).
  • San Francisco; California; United States United Nations; Secret of Divine Civilization (book); Collective security; Prophecies; World War II; War (general); Peace; History (general)
    1946 (In the year) The publication of Abdul Baha's Questioned Will and Testament. The book contains the report of Dr C Ainsworth Mitchell, the handwriting expert for the British Museum. Beverly Hills; California Ruth White; Covenant-breakers; Abdul Baha's Questioned Will and Testament
    1946 22 Jul The passing of John David Bosch (named "Núraní by 'Abdu'l-Bahá) at his home near Geyserville, California (b. August 1, 1855 at Neu-St Johann, Canton Gall, Switzerland) He had become a Bahá'í in 1905. His teachers being Mrs Beckwith, Mrs Goodall, Mrs Cooper and Thornton Chase. He was buried in the Olive Hill Cemetery, Geyserville.
  • He, along with George Latimer and Leroy Ioas, were appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly to find a location to establish a "Western Green Acre". John donated his 35 acre estate.
  • For a pen portrait and biography of John and Louise Bosch see Other People Other Places by Marzieh Gail pages 182-194 or Bahá'í News page 705.
  • For pictures of John and Louise Bosch see the Bosch Bahá'í School site.
  • For Shoghi Effendi's tribute to him see MA106.
  • Geyserville; California; United States In Memoriam; John Bosch; Louise Bosch
    1961 1 May Kanichi (Moto) Yamamoto, the first Japanese Bahá’í, passed away in Berkeley, California. [SBR185]
  • For the story of his life see SBR176–86.
  • For picture see SBR190.
  • Berkeley; California; United States Kanichi Yamamoto
    1974 13 July The dedication of the Bosch Bahá'í School north of Santa Cruz, California. (Bosch Bahá'í School site, Bahá'´News page 716] Santa Cruz; California; United States Bosch Bahai School; Bahai schools
    1983. 25 Jun The passing of Reginald "Rex" Collison (b. 3 May 1884 in Ohio). He was buried in Oak Mound Cemetery, Healdsburg, Sonoma County, California, USA. [BW19p595-596]
  • Rex accepted a position in plant research on the staff of Cornell University and held this post for thirty-three years, retiring in 1945 as Chief of Research and Professor Emeritus.
  • Rex and Mary were married in 1920 and in 1924 learned of the Faith from Howard and Mabel Ives.
  • In 1952 he and Mary pioneered to Uganda. When the Ten Year Crusade was launched in 1953, the Collisons were the first American believers to arise. Accompanied by Mr. Dunduzu Chisiza, a young Nyasaland African who served as their interpreter and shared their home for over a year, they settled in Ruanda-Urundi. (Today,known as Rwanda and Burundi.) For their service in opening Ruanda-Urundi to the Faith the trio were named by Shoghi Effendi Knights of Baha'u'llah. Returning to Kampala in 1955, the Collisons were later appointed custodians of the Mother Temple of Africa and they served the Faith in this capacity with great devotion until 1966 when they found it necessary to return home to Geyserville.
  • See CG66-67 for their services while in Uganda.
  • Find a grave.
  • On August 11, 1970, Rex lost his wife Mary (b. 13 Nov 1892 in Adelaide, Middlesex County, Ontario, Canada). [BW15p486]
  • Find a grave.
  • Healdsburg; California; United States Rex Collison; In Memoriam; Mary Collison; Dunduzu Chisiza; Knights of Bahaullah
    1990 31 Mar 31 – 1 Apr The first Bahá'í International Chinese Symposium was held in San Francisco, California; it was attended by 362 Bahá'ís from eight countries. [BINS222:6] San Francisco; California; United States Conferences, Bahai; Conferences, International; Conferences, Other; First conferences; China
    1992 18 Jun The passing of Counsellor Isobel Sabri, (b. 19 July, 1924) member of the International Teaching Centre in England. She was born in California in 1924. Letter from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada to all Local Spiritual Assemblies dated the 16th of October 1992. [VV124]
  • She was buried at the New Southgate Cemetery
  • Find a grave
  • See Bahaipedia for the message of condolence from the Universal House of Justice.
  • California; United States; United Kingdom Counsellors; Isobel Sabri; International Teaching Centre, Members of; In Memoriam; Births and deaths
    1997. 1 Oct The release of the film Crossing Frontiers: Portrait of a World Citizen - Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum by Badiyan Distribution. This video, on the life of the Hand of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, explored the frontiers she crossed in her travels to over 185 countries promoting the essential teachings of the Bahá'í Faith. In the course of her travels she gave countless lectures, met many leading dignitaries, and was interviewed on radio, television and by the press throughout the world, continually promoting the teachings of the Bahá'í Faith. [9 Star Media] Riverside; California Ruhiyyih Khanum; film
    2017 5 May The film Changing the World, One Wall at a Time was premiered in Harlem on the 5th of May and in Los Angeles on the 5th of June. The film evolved from shorter videos that were posted from the "Education is not a Crime" campaign and was made by Iranian-Canadian filmmaker Maziar Baharie. [BWNS1173]
  • The film Changing the World, One Wall at a Time.
  • Harlem; New York; Los Angeles; California; United States Persecution, Iran; Persecution, Education; Persecution; Documentaries; Education is not a Crime; BWNS
    2020. 24 Aug Wildfires caused widespread destruction in California in the summer of 2020. The National Assembly of the United States informed the Bahá'í community that “the property (Bosch Bahá'í School)sustained severe damage to a number of structures; many were a total loss, including the cabins. However, several other buildings, including most of the major structures, appear to have been spared.”

    “Bosch has for several decades served as a vital center of learning and inspiration,” the letter continued. “We have no doubt that, once the present difficulties are overcome, it will once again become a place radiating the light of the unifying teachings of our Faith and a source of spiritual power for the entire region.” [US Bahá'í News}

    Bonny Doon; California Bosch Baha'i School

    from the main catalogue

    1. 'Abdu'l-Bahá in California (1912). Over 1000 pages of notes from Abdu'l-Baha's visit to California in 1912, written between 1912-1918, some hand-written and some published in Star of the West. Includes notes by Frances Allen, Howard MacNutt, Ameen Fareed, Mirza Sohrab, et al. [about]
    2. Community Histories, in Studies in the Bábí and Bahá'í Religions, Volume 6 (1992). Essay on the diversity of Western Baha'i communities, followed by six histories of selected local communities in the United States, Britain, and Canada. [about]
    3. Daily Lessons Received at Akka: January 1908, by Helen S. Goodall and Ella Goodall Cooper (1979). Includes translations of three Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha. [about]
    4. Emogene Hoagg: Exemplary Pioneer, by Amine De Mille, in Bahá'í News, 511 (1973). Biography of travel-teacher and translator of the Writings into Italian. [about]
    5. Eshraghieh and Mahmoud Rabbani Collection, by Bosch Bahá'í School library (1998). Arabic and Persian books, tablets, and manuscripts held at the Bosch Baha'i School library. [about]
    6. Experiment in Race Relations, A, by Robert P. Powers, in Bahá'í World, Vol. 11 (1946-1950) (1952). An early program in race tolerance, preceding the Civil Rights movement, as described by a prominent Chief Law Enforcement Officer in early 20th-century California. [about]
    7. Henrietta Emogene Martin Hoagg: Short Biographical Monograph, by Peter Terry (1997). Biography of a travel-teacher, translator of the Writings into Italian, and the first pioneer to Italy. She had a great impact on her fellow believers during her lifetime, but is little-recognized today. [about]
    8. History of the Sacramento Bahá'í Community, 1912-1991, A, by Peggy Caton, in Community Histories: Studies in the Bábí and Bahá'í Religions, Volume 6 (1992). History of the Bahá'í community of Sacramento, including a detailed account of Abdul-Baha's visit to California, and the later rapid expansion of the community during the 1960s and 1970s. [about]
    9. Letter to Grace Holley, by Abdu'l-Bahá (1919). Short message of greeting and praise. [about]
    10. Promoting Peace: 100 Years of the Baha'i Faith in Santa Paula, California, 1914-2014, by Anne King Sadeghpour (2017). Detailed history of the community in southern California, including references to Marzieh Gail, Ethelwyn Drew Hall, Florence Mayberry, Molly King, the Yamamotos, Asadullah Fadil-i-Mazandarani, Guy Murchie, Isabella Brittingham, Louise Waite, et al. [about]
    11. Yamamoto, Hiroshi: Eldest son of the world's first Japanese believer, by Marion Yazdi, in Bahá'í News, 599 (1980). [about]
     
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