The Caravan of East and West was established in 1929 by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, Lewis Stuyvesant Chanler and his wife Julie.
The Caravan was a foundation that had a quarterly magazine called The Caravan in 1929. They also had a quarterly magazine called The Children’s Caravan in 1935, which ‘helps to keep children in touch with each other’. (Educational Digest). They also apparently published some other works.
Originally a part of the Bahá’í Faith, that relationship ended shortly after the New York administration was denied oversight by its founders. Sohrab refused and was ex-communicated in 1939, which then led Julie to also refuse to appear to answer questions. The foundation severed ties, but continued to do work for the Bahá’í cause, without official sanction.
“At its height, just after World War II, the Caravan had grown to a membership of almost 250,000…. and its business soon overshadowed the New History Society.”
Chapter 15 An article in the New York Times, states that in 1949 the German contingent alone had 100,000 members.
Two of the members of the Board of Directors were Syud Hossein, ambassador from India to Egypt and Minister to Trans-Jordan; and Basant Koomer a lecturer and educator.
A Foundation Fund directed by a Board of Directors with attorney Jacob Greenwald as Chairman was set up to continue the work of The Caravan, planning for the day when Sohrab and Julie were no longer around.
In 1953, the Bahá’í materials the group had collected had grown so immense that Julie hired architect, John J. McNamara to design a library within the garden space of the Caravan House. Julia Chanler stated that ….”as part of the construction [of the library] was a block of white marble that `Abdu’l-Bahá had sent to become the corner-stone of the Bahá’í Temple in Wilmette which Sohrab had come to possess.” This stone was not forwarded to the temple site. The actual cornerstone used in the Temple was procured and donated by a Chicago-area Bahá’í, Ester “Nettie” Tobin.
The group’s librarian was Vera Russell.
An ad for a special meeting of the corporation was placed in The New York Times November 21, 1958 naming Ronald K. Bayford as Executive Secretary. On October 29, 1961, an announcement of “Two horticultural lectures presented by the Caravan of East and West, an educational, nonprofit organization” appears in the New York Times. The Caravan of East and West still existed as late as 1967 when Peter Bloch was director.
Following the passion of Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, we are proud to be back with ‘The Caravan’ Magazine. It will be a quarterly magazine and can be read online through our website. You can also subscribe to our magazine simply by writing to us at email@example.com with the subject line – “Sign up for the Caravan Magazine” and all our magazines will be delivered to you right in your inbox.
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