Thursday, January 31, 2008

On Phoebe Hearst, Baha'i: Co-Founder of the Parent-Teacher Association

US 1463

You knew that Phoebe Hearst was a Baha'i, right? Did you also know she was a co-founder of the PTA? Note the text on the First Day Cover currently for sale on eBay. Below are some other interesting facts about Phoebe Hearst that you may not know, as excerpted from comments made to a previous Baha'i Views post regarding Phoebe Hearst. -gw

Anonymous said...
... Phoebe Hearst is one of my interests as she saved Green Acre Baha'i School, and was such an important early Baha'i. It is also now known that she asked to give Abdul Baha a large share of her huge fortune to the Baha'i funds, but he did not accept it, and only asked for her "heart" instead.

Anonymous said...
... Regarding the offer of a portion of the Hearst fortune to the Baha'i funds, this is mentioned in two different sources I cannot think of at the moment. There was one unfortunate character who claimed to be a Baha'i who asked numerous early members of the community for funds for Baha'i projects and then used them for his own lifestyle. Because of the problems created by this person, Abdul Baha told Mrs. Hearst that she would not have to deal with a situation like this again because she should decline any requests for funds since they did not come from Abdul Baha. He asked for her heart instead and told her to use these funds for charitable projects, which she did including the building of various YWCA's and the University of California (Berkeley), as well as other schools, health clinics, and institutions.

It is because of Mrs. Hearst that we have the first group of pilgrims from the West, and her generosity to various Baha'i projects really helped to ignite the early American, as well as European (London and Paris) Baha'i community growth. She was very quiet in her Faith and became rather "inactive", but was a great friend to many Baha'is till the end of her life and felt that her pilgrimage to Abdul Baha was the spiritual highlight of her life. The idea that such a wealthy woman would go to visit a prisoner in Akka back is rather extraordinary. Imagine what courage and devotion they had as they left their worlds of comfort and priviledge! Her husband, George Hearst, was a U.S. senator and passed away. I guess you can tell this is a big interest of mine, and maybe some day I will write a book on the information I have collected.


Gaijin21 said...

Good find!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am the "anon" who posted the comment you mention. I am glad you have caught the "Hearst" bug also. She was really a very interesting figure, as many of the early Baha'is were.