'Abdu'l-Bahá's travels

San Francisco

In the early morning hours of Thursday, October 3rd, 1912 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and His entourage arrived at the spacious house that had been rented for Him at 1815 California Street, in San Francisco. This house became the base of operations for ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s many visitors, His speaking engagements and home visits for much of the next three weeks. In this house He gave interviews to government officials, leading members of the clergy of various faiths, university presidents, social reformers, and members of the press. Here, He also met with a multitude of individuals seeking solace and guidance, and groups of guests totalling hundreds at a time.

Among the major addresses ‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave in San Francisco, the following will give a sense of the caliber and number of His activities:

October 6, address to the congregation of the Unitarian Church at Franklin and Geary; here is a news article about the event.

October 10, address to the Open Forum in Jefferson Hall; here is the full text of His address.

October 11, address to the Theosophical Society in the Native Sons Building. According to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s chronicler Mirza Mahmud, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá compared the appearance of the Word of God in each Age to the rising of the sun from a different point on the horizon each day, and also spoke of the universality of the Message of Bahá’u’lláh.

October 12, address to the Jewish congregation at the Temple Emanu-El, at the invitation of its rabbi, Martin Meyer. The full text of this remarkable address is found here. An example of the press coverage is found here, and here is an example of a press account that included the full text of His lengthy address.

October 13, address to the Reading Room for the Blind

October 16, address to the Century Club. Phoebe Hearst had been one of the first Presidents of this organization. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá dedicated his address to the subject of the equality of men and women.

Interspersed were addresses in Berkeley, Oakland, Palo Alto, Pleasanton, Los Angeles, Inglewood and Pasadena, as well as many addresses and press interviews in the California Street residence. He visited Golden Gate Park, and enjoyed the city lights while driving up Market Street and during the ferry crossing of the Bay. He called on people in their homes, including Charles Tinsley, an early African-American Bahá’í who was housebound due to an injury and unable to attend ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s addresses.

Scores of articles appeared in San Francisco’s leading newspapers, often containing summaries and sometimes the full text of His addresses. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was so pleased with His reception in San Francisco He wrote to His family in the Holy Land: “Rejoicing among friends of God in San Francisco. Truly confirmations are overwhelming and happiness complete.”