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Bahá’í Leader Opens Oriental Court Here

Bahaist Leader Opens Oriental Court Here
Chicago (no paper)
May 1, 1912
Chicago, IL

Persian High Priest of Universal Brotherhood Cult Greets Host of Followers.


Abdul-Bahá, “Servant of Ineffable Splendor,” Adviser to 40,000,000 Through World.

An oriental court that sways the destinies of 40,000,000 persons throughout the world has been established temporarily in Chicago.

Abdu’l-Bahá, leader of the Bahá’í movement, is the ruler. He has come to America to preach the doctrines of universal brotherhood and world-wide peace.

The aged priest, attended by a retinue of Persians and Americans, arrived in Chicago last night. He had been “lost” all day to local Bahá’ís, who were awaiting anxiously his arrival from Washington.

The Persian’s dislike for publicity led to strenuous but vain efforts on the part of his personal bodyguard to keep his arrival secret. He was bundled into a limousine the moment he arrived and was whizzed away to the Plaza Hotel.


None but Persians were permitted to enter the presence of the “Servant of the Ineffable Splendor” during his first few hours at the hotel. Later a favored few, comprising the “inner circle” of the cult, were allowed to pass through the suite and to touch his hand.

The high priest sat in a big plush chair during the brief reception. He wore a long, flowing robe, striped with red and white. His beard reached almost to his waist. A turban of the same material as the robe was wound about his head.

A half dozen Persians stood about the “throne.” A dozen or more American women from Boston, New York and Washington formed the background. Hardly a word was spoken.

After the reception the priest again went into seclusion. It was announced that he was dining. ‘Abdul-Bahá has his own native cook.

In the evening ‘Abdul-Bahá held another reception. One hundred followers flocked to his apartments, which were filled with costly flowers. The priest gave all a cordial welcome. He had changed his costume of the afternoon for one of cream color and wore a white turban.

I admire this great city from what I know of it,” said the priest through his interpreter. “It is a city beautiful in a material way. The time is coming when it will be beautiful in a spiritual way as well.”


Followers of Bahá from all parts of the world, who are in Chicago for their annual international convention, are hoping that the high priest will honor their meetings today with his presence.

We hope that he will honor us by his presence,” said Dr. Frederic N. Nutt, president of the executive board of the movement in Chicago, “but it is not for us to suggest anything to him. He does as he wills.”

The priest is expected to attend an open meeting of the cult to be held tonight in the drill hall of the Masonic Temple. Through his interpreter, who is his nephew, he may make a short speech. This morning he will receive all who care to meet him in his apartments.

Abdul-Bahá has come to Chicago principally for the purpose of consecrating the plot of ground in Wilmette where the Mashrak-el-Azkar (Dawning Point of Prayer), a house of worship, will be built this summer by local Bahá’ís. The ceremonies will be held Wednesday afternoon.


The object of the Bahá movement, according to booklets issued by the cult, is the establishment of a universal religion for “interreligious, interracial and international brotherhood and peace.”

Included in Bahá’s “court” at the Plaza are Dr. Clement Woolson and Dr. Orol L. Woolson of St. Paul, Dr. H. L. Harper and A. H. Hall of Minneapolis, Myra H. Osgood, Barbara Fitting, D. Louise Corser, Mrs. A. M. Foster and Mrs. A. E. Basley of Boston, Mrs. Ella F. Priday, Mrs. Lillian E. McClellan and Miss M. Graham of Cleveland, Mrs. C. S. Coles of Washington, Miss A. Boylan, Miss I. Holmes and Miss. C. Benigham of New York and Mr. and Mrs. I. R. Morris and Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Latimer of Chicago.