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1 100 years ago May 23 rd, 2012. Clark University, Worcester, MA.

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Presentation on theme: "1 100 years ago May 23 rd, 2012. Clark University, Worcester, MA."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 100 years ago May 23 rd, 2012. Clark University, Worcester, MA

2 May 23, 1912 2 As narrated in The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America

3 3 ’Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the Bahá’í faith, Bahá’u’lláh, arrived in America on April 11, 1912 aboard the steamship S.S. Cedric 'Abdu'l-Baha's Signature on the S.S. Cedric Passenger List Source: After spending a few weeks in NY giving a number of lectures, traveling to Chicago, and Boston, he visited Worcester, MA on May 23 rd 1912

4 4 Why did ’Abdu’l-Bahá come to Worcester? He was invited by Prof. George H. Blakeslee, chair of the History Dept. at Clark University. "George Hubbard Blakeslee taught history and international relations at Clark University from 1903 until his retirement in 1943. Dr. Blakeslee created and edited the first journal devoted to the study of international relations: the Journal of Race Development (it was later renamed the Journal of International Relations and in 1922 it merged with Foreign Affairs). He also founded at Clark University in 1909 a pioneering series of conferences about international relations." (Archives and Special Collections at Clark University Source: Archives and Special Collections, Goddard Library, Clark University

5 5 Prof. George H. Blakeslee was a pacifist and an orientalist. He was very likely aware of the tablet the Master presented at the First Universal Races Congress in London, July 1911. When the Master was invited to speak at The Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration on May 14-16, 1912, Prof. Blakeslee should have known about this. In the published proceedings of both conference, Blakeslee appears as a committee member or representative for Massachusetts, but not explicitly listed as attendee. Source: Worcester LSA Open Library (

6 6 May 14-16, ’Abdu’l-Bahá traveled from NYC to Lake Mohonk for the main meeting of the International Peace Society as the featured speaker. According to Mahmúd’s diary “He praised the beauty of the place and the scenic grandeur of the route as His carriage drove for about an hour amidst green valleys, wooded hills, woodlands, waterfalls and natural springs." Did ’Abdu’l-Bahá and Blakeslee connected at Lake Mohonk? Source: Wikipedia Source: 'Abdu'l-Bahá in America ( conference-lake-mohonk)

7 May 23 rd 1912 started with a visit to the Greek Syrian Relief Society hosted at the Denison House (the third settlement house founded in the US). Here he spoke to ~900 people about poverty and detachment. (R. H. Stockman. 2012. `Abdu'l-Bahá in America) 7 ’Abdu’l-Bahá visited Boston for the first time May 22-26, 1912 After lunch professor Blakeslee from Clark University “accompanied the Master to the town of Worcester, located about 50 miles from Boston.” Snapshot of a video showing the Master in NYC (source: YouTube unlisted video) Source: Harvard University Open Collections Program (

8 8 “Passing through green and verdant plains and breathing the invigorating and pleasant air, ’Abdu’l-Bahá spoke sorrowfully in remembrance of the Blessed Beauty…, saying: ‘Would that the Blessed Beauty could have come to these regions! He loved such scenery very much’. Whenever He saw the green and fragrant countryside, He asked the driver to stop”. “At one place, near the shore of a lake, the greenness of the landscape, the translucence of the water and the purity of the air so pleased Him that He instructed the driver to stop for awhile. The entire group stood and waited. No one dared say anything about the delay.” During the trip to Worcester To Boston To Worcester Which is the Master’s lake? Source: Source: natureofframingham.blogspot.c om Source: Wikipedia

9 9 “In two hours we reached Worcester. The Master accepted the professor's invitation to rest for awhile in his home.” The 1910 census reports 24 Richards St as the residence of George H. Blakeslee House @ 24 Richards St. Source: Worcester LSA Richards Map Co. 1911. Richards Standard atlas of the City of Worcester. Jonas Clark HallPresident’s house

10 10 Clark University as the Master saw it. “After tea ’Abdu’l-Bahá went to the meeting at the university, which had been arranged especially for His visit” Source: Archives and Special Collections, Goddard Library, Clark University

11 11 “More than one thousand students and faculty had assembled. Professor Hall thanked ’Abdu’l-Bahá for coming to the meeting.” ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s talk happened ~ 4 PM and it was given in the gymnasium that was locate in the basement of Jonas Clark Hall. Jonas Clark Hall ~1910 Original 1 st floor plan of Jonas Clark Hall Source: Archives and Special Collections, Goddard Library, Clark University

12 The president's house, where the current library is located). The house was torn down in the 1960's to make space for the new Goddard Library. 12 “After His address, some distinguished individuals and seekers were invited to a magnificent reception prepared for the Master. As the chancellor of the university had himself invited ’Abdu’l- Bahá, he himself served the Master.” Source: Archives and Special Collections, Goddard Library, Clark University Source: Wikipedia

13 13 “When it was time to leave, the Master took both the president's hands in His and said: ‘I am very pleased with you and delighted to see your university. You are, indeed, serving the world of humanity and expending your life for mankind. Above all, I wish for you the blessings of the Kingdom and desire that you will be a cause of the spread of sciences and arts. I will pray on your behalf that God may make you a standard of guidance and that the love of God may shine upon your heart. I have seen a great love and affection in you, as well as in the professors and scholars. I shall never forget this meeting, and I shall always remember and mention your services.’” The Master’s “Blessing” to Clark University

14 ’Abdu’l-Bahá returning to his home on Haparsim Street in Haifa, Israel. 14 “Later He returned to Boston in the automobile especially provided for Him by the chancellor. The Master went directly to the home of Mrs. Alice Breed. As that evening was the commemoration of the Declaration of the Báb as well as the birthday of ’Abdu’l-Bahá” the Bahá’ís, with the utmost happiness and joy, had arranged a magnificent feast.” Source: Bahá’í Media Bank (

15 15 This presentation was derived from The event on May 23 rd 2012 was Sponsored by the Bahá’í community of Worcester, Clark University, and the Bahá’í Campus Association of Clark University Special thanks to the following individuals from Clark University Paul Ropp, Research Professor of Asian History Jack Foley, Vice President for Government and Community Affairs Fordyce Williams, Coordinator of Archives and Special Collections, Goddard Library

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