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TAGS: Green Acre; Sarah Farmer; World Parliament of Religions
LOCATIONS: Eliot; Maine; United States
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Background of the first parliament and Chicago Columbian Exposition and the role of Sarah Farmer and other Bahá'ís in bringing it to fruition, written from an unsympathetic outsider's perspective. Not yet proofread.
See also a contemporary overview Introduction to Green Acre Bahá'í School, an excerpt from Neely's History of the Parliament of Religions, and an unsympathetic earlier letter to the editor about Sarah Farmer. On the Chicago Exposition, see wikipedia.

Also available in Microsoft Word format prepared by E. Jones (2023). This document is online in a variety of formats at

The Rise and Fall of the Parliament of Religions at Greenacre

by Robert P. Richardson

published in The Open Court, 45:3, pages 129-166
Chicago: 1931-03

1. Background

This is an interesting article because it covers, from a non-Bahá'í perspective, the process by which Greenacre became a purely Bahá'í facility. Richardson did not approve. He was a frequent contributor to The Open Court magazine, which was "Devoted to the Science of Religion, the Religion of Science, and the Extension of the Religious Parliament Idea." He saw the conversion of Greenacre to a Bahá'í facility a failure to fulfill the ideal of the Parliament of Religions. The following selections from Wikipedia give more background:
Open Court was founded in 1887 by Edward C. Hegeler of the Matthiessen-Hegeler Zinc Company, at one time the largest producer of zinc in the United States. Hegeler intended for the firm to serve the purpose of discussing religious and psychological problems on the principle that the scientific world-conception should be applied to religion. Its first managing editor was Paul Carus, Hegeler's son-in-law. For the first 80 years of its existence, the company had its offices in the Hegeler Carus Mansion. Open Court specializes in philosophy, science, and religion, and was one of the first academic presses in the country. It was one of the first publishers of inexpensive editions of the classics. It also published the journals The Open Court and The Monist — the latter is still being published as of 2010. (from

In February 1887, Hegeler founded the Open Court Publishing Company, intended to serve the purpose of discussing religious and psychological problems on the principle that the scientific world-conception should be applied to religion. Hegeler believed in science, but he wanted to preserve the religious spirit with all its seriousness of endeavor, and in this sense he pleaded for the establishment of a religion of science. He recognized, for instance, that man with all his complicated psychical activity was a mechanism, but to him this truth was not derogatory to man, but an evidence of the great significance of machines. The mechanism of thinking is language, and so the speaking animal becomes the rational being. He maintained that through investigation and scientific criticism, religion must be purified, and the result would be a closer approach to truth on the path of progress. Hegeler rejected dualism as an unscientific and untenable view and accepted monism upon the basis of exact science, and for the discussion of the more recondite and heavier problems of science and religion he founded a quarterly, The Monist, in October 1890. (from

2. PDF generated from proofread Word document (see image scan below)

3. PDF of images and text (uncorrected OCR)

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