100th Anniversary of Religious Leader’s Visit to Nebraska

Sunday, September 23, 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of `Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas’ visit to Lincoln, Nebraska.

Portrait of `Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas (1844-1921), eldest son of Bahá'í founder Bahá'u'lláh.

Portrait of `Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas (1844-1921), eldest son of Bahá'í founder Bahá'u'lláh.

The Bahá’í Faith was founded by Bahá’u'lláh in 19th-century Persia. `Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas (1844-1921), eldest son of Bahá’í founder Bahá’u'lláh, became the sole interpreter of his father’s teaching after Bahá’u'lláh’s death. `Abdu’l-Bahá toured the United States in 1912 to promote unity and international peace. He stopped in Lincoln, Nebraska where he met with William Jennings Bryan at Fairview, Bryan’s home. Before leaving, `Abdu’l-Bahá wrote a blessing in the Fairview guest book.

`Abdu'l-Bahá's blessing written in Farsi (NSHS RG3198.AM).

`Abdu'l-Bahá's blessing written in Farsi (NSHS RG3198.AM).

The original blessing is written in Farsi (Persian) and is followed by his signature. Also on the page is a somewhat inferior translation by his interpreter, and the names and signatures of the other members of his traveling party.

Fairview guest book showing blessing by `Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas (NSHS RG3198.AM).

Fairview guest book showing blessing by `Abdu'l-Bahá Abbas (NSHS RG3198.AM).

Since its discovery, `Abdu’l-Bahá’s prayer has been translated into English by the secretariat of the International Bahá’í Faith. It reads:

“Bless this family and grant it happiness in both this world and the world to come. Confirm this distinguished person in the greatest service to the human world, which is the unity of all mankind, that he may attain to Thy good pleasure in this world and obtain a bounteous portion from the surging ocean of Divine outpourings in this luminous age.”

– `Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas

In recognition of this anniversary, the Fairview guest book will be on exhibit on the second floor of the Nebraska History Museum through the end of September, 2012. So, if you have a chance, come visit the Nebraska History Museum (15th & P St.) and check it out. For more information about `Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas’ visit to Nebraska, see these articles from the Lincoln Daily News and Lincoln Daily Star.

-Tom Mooney, Curator of Manuscripts

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One Response to 100th Anniversary of Religious Leader’s Visit to Nebraska

  1. D.A says:

    Thank you for sharing this interesting bit of Nebraska’s history; it must have been exciting to hear and talk about international peace a century ago.

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