News, Insight, and Shredded Wheat 1

“FOR THE SUMMER DAYS,” the advertisement went, “when the appetite needs to be coddled with fresh fruits that nourish and strengthen without disturbing the digestion. There is nothing so deliciously satisfying as Shredded Wheat Biscuit With Strawberries and Cream.”

The ad ran on the front inside cover of the June, 1912, issue of the American Review of Reviews, a magazine edited by Albert Shaw. Every month, for twenty-five cents, Shaw offered his readers original stories, and summarized noteworthy articles from other news sources around the world, providing an editorial perspective on each subject. In the June issue, which was about 130 pages long, one of Shaw’s “Leading Articles of the Month” was about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Many daily newspapers had covered ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s first two months in America, but the popular magazines, which had a longer editorial schedule, only began to appear in June. The American Review’s story on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá — “Will Bahaism Unite All Religious Faiths?” — appeared on the 107th page of the issue. It reported on his 1911 trip to London, and began by quoting an English magazine, the Fortnightly Review:

Surely the dawn of a new day was heralded on that Sunday evening when the Archdeacon of Westminster walked hand in hand with Abdul Baha up the nave of St. John’s Church.

What we see in a dream comes to pass in wakefulness 2

When He returned home, one of the friends questioned Him about the influence of dreams, saying that it has frequently occurred that two people from widely different places would call out to each other, recognizing each other’s voices in the state of sleep. The Master responded:

It is obvious that a very deep relationship exists between the spirit of man and the world of existence. It often happens that what we see in a dream comes to pass in wakefulness; indeed, even in wakefulness when the soul is unfettered, matters come to mind which later appear in visible form. This shows that between the reasoning power of man and that visible appearance there is a spiritual connection. Furthermore, the spirit of man has the power of discovering facts. When this power is realized, problems become easily resolved. Amusingly, while materialists are engaged in making discoveries concerning the strata of the earth, they are immersed in the very spiritual power whose potency and influence they deny. They also claim to forecast coming events.

Such discourses were frequently discussed in the Holy Presence.

New York, Philadelphia, New York 3

At 9:30 A.M., Monday, June 10, He [Abdu’l-Bahá ] addressed a group of fifty people at the home of Jesse Revell. Until His train left at 3:00 P.M. for New York, He conducted interviews at the Revells’ and at the Hotel Rittenhouse.

  1. Menon, Jonathan. “News, Insight, and Shredded Wheat.” 239 Days in America, 11 June 2012, [return]
  2. ’Abdu’l-Bahá, and Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani. Mahmúd’s Diary: The Diary of Mírzá Mahmúd-i-Zarqání Chronicling ’Abdu’l-Bahá’s Journey to America. Edited by Shirley Macias. Translated by Mohi Sobhani. Oxford: George Ronald, 1998. [return]
  3. Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 88. [return]