Green Acre

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Coordinates: 43°06′41.27″N 70°47′40.04″W / 43.1114639°N 70.7944556°W / 43.1114639; -70.7944556

Photograph of Abdul-Baha visiting Green Acre, United States, in 1912

Green Acre is one of three leading institutions owned by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States.[1] The others are Louhelen Bahá'í School and Bosch Bahá'í School. Green Acre is a conference facility in Eliot, Maine, in the United States.

In the mid 1800s the site served as a shipyard including launching the USS Nightingale in 1851.[2] However it began its association with arts and religious themes early - in 1889 singer Emma Cecilia Thursby first visited Green Acre.[3] The site had a hotel built in 1890 which later became the Sarah Farmer Inn.[4] As an institution, it was founded by Sarah Farmer in 1894.[5] That year she invited Swami Vivekananda, a prominent Hindu monk serving in Hindu and interfaith awareness efforts, who spent nearly two months there.[6][7] Well known thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and prominent Buddhist monk Anagarika Dharmapala were often made mention of at conferences in the early 1900s and it became prominent in the American encounter with eastern religion.[8] Various groups began to hold meetings of even more practical concerns.[9] The name originates in several ways - one comes from poet John Greenleaf Whittier, a personal friend of the Farmer family.[5] Farmer managed the institution from 1890 to 1916. As an institution it developed a brief set of "branch" associations including one in Washington D.C.[10] In 1906 Marsden Hartley took a job as a handyman there and through his association he secured his first exhibition[11] and early suffragette May Wright Sewall invited Julia Ward Howe, writer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, to Green Acre who was unable to attend.[12]

Sarah Farmer met with participants in the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893 and in 1894 made Green Acre a platform for the comparative study of religions.[5]

After Sarah Farmer became a Bahá'í in 1900 she focused the efforts of the institution on Bahá'í themes. In her words,

My joy in the "Persian Revelation" [the Baha'i Faith] is not that it reveals one of the streams flowing to the Great Ocean of light, life and love, but that it is the perfect mirror of that Ocean."[13]

Her choice was not without controversy among fellow workers striving for peace and interfaith cooperation.[14] Nevertheless, many Bahá'í speakers were then invited, including Mírzá Abu'l-Fadl in 1903 and `Abdu'l-Bahá in 1912 during his journeys in the West.[15]

In 1915 Urbain Ledoux was working with Bahá'ís, especially at Green Acre.[16] At the time Farmer was ill and had been involuntarily committed to an insane asylum.[17] Ledoux led the effort to free her[16] which, though it was confrontational, included the local chief of police and judge in the attempt with a court order.[18] `Abdu'l-Bahá, then head of the religion, praised his work freeing Farmer.[19]

Fadil-i-Mazindarani visited in 1920 and 1923. Among the individuals who were greatly attracted to the work of the institution was Stanwood Cobb,[20] an early education reformer. Founding members of the Bahá'í community of Canada - the Magees - were also frequent visitors.[21]

In 1913 Green Acre came into Bahá'í hands, and in 1929 it was converted into a summer school facility. After visiting the site often[22] in 1946 Louis George Gregory and his wife moved to the area and aided many events.[23]

It is now one of several permanent, year-round Bahá'í schools in the US.

Green Acre has been home to the annual Badasht Academy (named after the Conference of Badasht) since the summer of 1999. A week-long intensive study of Baha'i history, Badasht Academy is a four-year program for high school aged students, most of whom reside in the northeastern United States. In 2000 it was renovated and several buildings were added to the grounds: the Harry Randall Guest House, the Louis and Louisa Gregory Cottage, the Mildred and Rafi Mottahedeh Cottage and the Emma Rice Cottage.[24][25] In 2005 it continued to network with the area chapter of the NAACP.[26] In 2006 it handed out its "Sarah H. Farmer Peace Award" to the Oyster River High School in Durham, UK.[27] In 2010 it opened its doors for Eliot's bicentennial.[28] In 2010 it was reviewed in line with other movements of the turn of the 20th century in a documentary about peace activism related to the Treaty of Portsmouth[29] and was premiered on the campus in 2012.[30]

Among the many visitors have been Henry E. Burnham.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Baha’i Schools and Institutes". National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States. August 4, 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Eliot History Time Line". Old Berwick Historical Society. March 16, 2001. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Guide to the Emma Thursby Papers". New-York Historical Society. 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ Atkinson, Anne Gordon; W. F. Trafton Burton Jr. (1991). "Introduction to Green Acre Bahá'í School". Green Acre on the Piscataqua: A Centennial Celebration. Green Acre Bahá'i School Council. 
  5. ^ a b c "The Sarah Farmer Inn". National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States. 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ Vivekananda (1894). "Letters written between August and December 1894". Frank Parlato. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Artifacts of Dedanta History" (PDF). Sri Sarada Society Newsletter ( 5 (2): 4. Fall 1999. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  8. ^ Leigh Eric Schmidt (1 September 2012). Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality. University of California Press. pp. 200–. ISBN 978-0-520-27367-2. 
  9. ^ Electrical Engineer. Electrical Engineer. 1897. p. 513. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  10. ^ "Local Branch Formed; Green-Acre Fellowship Association Organized here". Evening star (Washington, D.C.). April 27, 1905. p. 14. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  11. ^ Peltakian, Danielle (2011). "MARSDEN HARTLEY; AMERICAN EXPRESSIONIST". Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  12. ^ Howe, Julia Ward (1906-06-29). "Letter from Julia Ward Howe to May Wright Sewall". The Indianapolis Public Library. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  13. ^ Sandra Hutchinson; Richard Hollinger (2006). "Women in the North American Baha'i Community". In Keller, Rosemary Skinner; Ruether, Rosemary Radford; Cantlon, Marie. Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America: Native American creation stories. Indiana University Press. pp. 776–786. ISBN 0-253-34687-8. 
  14. ^ Hollywood, Amy (Winter–Spring 2010). "Spiritual but Not Religious". Harvard Divinity Bulletin 38 (1–2). Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Eliot (and Green Acre)". National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States. 2011. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  16. ^ a b Daniel Leab (15 January 2014). "Ledoux, Urbain (1874-1941)". Encyclopedia of American Recessions and Depressions [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. pp. 454–457. ISBN 978-1-59884-946-2. 
  17. ^ Leigh Eric Schmidt (6 August 2012). Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality. University of California Press. pp. 210–212. ISBN 978-0-520-95411-3. 
  18. ^ "Greenacre head taken with force". Boston Post (Boston, Massachusetts). Aug 4, 1916. p. 1. Retrieved Nov 28, 2014. 
  19. ^ `Abdu'l-Bahá (Nov 23, 1918) [Dec 27, 1916]. "Tablet to Mr. Vail". Star of the West 9 (14): 155. Retrieved Nov 28, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Cobb House". DC Bahá’í Tour. 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  21. ^ Will C. Van den Hoonaard (1996). The Origins of the Bahá'í Community of Canada, 1898-1948. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-88920-272-6. Retrieved 20 September 2013. 
  22. ^ Gayle Morrison (2009). "Gregory, Louis George (1874–1951)". The Bahá'í Encyclopedia Project. National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States. 
  23. ^ "About Louis G. Gregory". Local Spiritual Assembly of Charleston, SC. 2003. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  24. ^ Pechenik, Mark (September 19, 2012). "Green Acre Baha'i School celebrates four new buildings". Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  25. ^ "New classroom building dedicated at Green Acre Baha'i School". Baha'i World News Service (Baha'i International Community). 21 September 2002. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Recent History". NAACP of the Seacoast. 2005. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  27. ^ Clow, Larry (2006). "Sarah Farmer Peace Award". The Democrat ( Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Eliot's Bicentennial Celebration Remembered". Town of Eliot, Maine. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  29. ^ Santoski, Teresa (January 12, 2012). "Amherst filmmaker explores religious principles behind Portsmouth Peace Treaty". The Telegraph Encore (Nashua, NH). Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Community Briefs; The Peace Treaty in Portsmouth" (PDF). The York Independent 12 (14): 6. July 16–20, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Personal; Henry Burham and his sister, Miss Margaret Burnham, came to Brattleboro...". Vermont Phœnix. June 3, 1898. pp. 4, 7th col, below mid. Retrieved November 1, 2013. 

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