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Religion Collections in Libraries and Archives:
A Guide to Resources in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia

Table of Contents - Preface/Acknowledgements - Abbreviations
Lists of Entries: District of Columbia - Maryland - Virginia

Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Washington, D.C. Archives

Address: 5713 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20011
Telephone Number: (202) 291-5532
Fax Number: (202) 291-3849
Contact Persons: Thomas Moritz, Archivist

Access Policies

Hours of Service:
Open to the public: By appointment only
Photocopying:: Yes
Interlibrary loan: No

All research is done at the discretion of the governing body, the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Washington, D.C. Hours for research must be arranged in advance.

Reference Policy:
For telephone reference, call the Baha'i Center and leave a message with the Resident Manager for the Archivist to return the call. Reference inquiries by mail should be sent in care of the Archivist.

Borrowing Privileges:
Not a lending institution. All research work must be done on the premises.


Background Note:
Baha'is were first in the Washington D.C./Maryland area by about 1896-1897. The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Washington, D.C. was incorporated in 1933-1934.
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Description of Collections

Books and monographs:
The Archives holds an extensive collection of books and monographs dating from 1896 to the present, including a volume from the first World Congress of Religions in Chicago in 1893 (containing the first mention of the Baha'i faith in the United States); first editions of Baha'i scriptures in English; and many other works.

There is no catalog for this collection.

Periodicals and newspapers:
Nine titles dating from 1908 to the present, including The American Baha'i (1970-present), Baha'i News (1919-present), Bah ' World (1925-present), the Baha'i children's magazine Brilliant Star, the Australian Baha'i magazine Herald of the South, the Journal of Baha'i Studies, the Baha'i international magazines One Country, Star of the West (1910-1919), and World Order magazine. These contain scholarly articles and news items relating to the Baha'i faith in America and worldwide.

There is no catalog for this collection.

Archives, manuscripts, correspondence, and oral histories:
Materials dating from 1896 to the present, including copies of tablets from 'Abdu'l Baha to individual believers and fledgling institutions of the Faith; copies of letters from Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of Baha'i Faith; numerous manuscripts by individual Baha'is; extensive holdings of Baha'i pamphlet literature (1910-present); and records, membership lists, correspondence, and financial and legal documents of the Spiritual Assembly of the of Washington, D.C. There is also a group of holdings called the "Small Collections" which feature some 200 or so Baha'is who gave exemplary service (teachers, lecturers, administrators, etc.). Some lived in Washington, others traveled through the city.

There are finding aids for the collections, arranged chronologically and/or alphabetically.
The present Archivist is Miriam Wiener, (703) 683-3751. Write or telephone her in care of the Washington, D.C. Baha'i Center.
Note: Several area Baha'i communities (e.g. Greenbelt, Alexandria) maintain their own archives.

Videos and Sound Recordings:
Recordings of Baha'i talks, presentations and events, and newsreels of the United States and international Baha'i activities, dating from 1975 to the present. There is no catalog for this collection.

Paintings, photographs, slides, and prints:
Several paintings of 'Abdu'l Baha; photographs of 'Abdu'l Baha, including those taken while He visited in Washington, D.C. in 1912. These include houses where He stayed while here as well as churches, synagogues, and meeting halls where He spoke. There are hundreds of pictures of Baha'is, groups of Baha'is, Baha'i gatherings, and Baha'i meetings, etc., from 1940 to the present).

Subject Headings

'Abdu'l Baha, 1844-1921; Baha'i faith; Baha'i faith--Sacred books; Baha'is--Washington, D.C.


Preliminary Inventory of the Washington, D.C. Baha'i Archives. N.p., 1972.

To contact the institution described in this entry, please use the contact information at the top of this page.
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  September 13, 2011
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