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‘Abdu’l Bahá Riding Around Town In An Automobile

Abdu'l Baha Riding Around Town In An Automobile
The Chicago Sunday Tribune
May 12, 1912
Chicago, IL

The spectacle of the reverend, white robed and white turbaned figure of the new Persian prophet, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, riding around our teaming, modern streets in an automobile, was rather startling last week. It was as if some personality of the Old or New Testament had appeared in our midst. Much has been written about him and his mission here, so I will only call attention to the fact that many thoughtful and intelligent people have been drawn into his following.

As religions go it is a new one, though it is older than Christian Science or theosophy or the Zion movement. It comes from that part of the mysterious east whence came so many religions. There flourished the sun worshipers, the followers of Zoroaster. Thence sprang Mohammedanism. There was born Christianity, and now comes ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, not to destroy any of these old creeds, but to amplify and unite them.

The first that I ever heard of this faith was some ten or fifteen years ago when an American woman living in Paris, Mrs. Barney, and her two daughters, were described as being Bahá’ís. The name had then a bleating, sheepish sound. It strikes now a different note.

Mrs. Barney is now Mrs. Christian Hemmick, a conspicuous figure in Washington society. Of a charming, artistic, and interesting personality, she and her daughters (both of whom are now married) always sought and achieved a departure from the conventional, a quality of esthetic originality which made them notable personalities both in Paris and Washington.

Some “Early History.”

Mrs. Hemmick was a daughter of Mr. Pike of Cincinnati, the builder and owner of Pike’s Opera house there. In her earliest youth, it is said that she was engaged to Henry M. Stanley. That was when he was unknown, before his African feats had made the world ring with his name. Her father, according to the story, broke off the match and later she married the rich car manufacturer of Dayton, O., Mr. Barney.

Mrs. Potter Palmer is so enchanted with her Florida domain, which comprises some 250,000 acres (it seems like all Florida), that, instead of coming back to Chicago after Gen. Grant’s funeral, she returned direct to Sarasota, where she will remain until time comes to sail for Europe, about May 18. She is developing all the resources of the land, agricultural, horticultural, mineral, arboreal, and so forth. At present it seems like an expensive hobby, but those who look far ahead think she will get out all she puts in, and much more. She has always maintained that woman’s natural sphere is business. She has now the chance for proving it.