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Sources for looking up Bahá'ís

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: international, primarily North America but some internationalmap
Surnames/tags: Bahá'í_Faith Baha'i Faith, Baha'i Bahai
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The Baháʼí Faith originated 1844 in what was then the Persian Empire.[1] John Esslemont performed the first review of the worldwide progress of the Baháʼí religion in 1919. While unpublished it was identified and reviewed by recent scholars noting it was intended to be a chapter in his book Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era.[2]

There are apparently only two countries in the world where Bahá'ís do not live so far in the 21st century: North Korea and the Vatican.[3] Third-parties estimated 7.1 million Baháʼís in the world in 2000, representing 218 countries,[4] and 7.3 million in 2010.[5] They further state: "The Baha'i Faith is the only religion to have grown faster in every United Nations region over the past 100 years than the general population; Bahaʼi was thus the fastest-growing religion between 1910 and 2010, growing at least twice as fast as the population of almost every UN region."[6]

Because of persecution of Baháʼís, the ability to look up names of past individuals is limited especially in some countries and statistics are sometimes not published by Bahá'ís. Also, Bahá'í sources typically report only adults on membership counts.


A list of sources

There are some collections of periodicals, articles and even some dissertations and books available online:

  • Bahai.works collection of periodicals reporting events and activities which often will name individuals. Some volumes of The Bahá'í World include 'In Memoriam' sections for brief biographical articles.
  • Bahai-Library.com's collections includes secondary sources including some collections of newspaper articles, monographs and materials that may well mention individuals or be biographies or community histories.

Some of the material above will report individual names in some countries in the course of their reporting.

In terms of country information there are of course some articles in Wikipedia one can search for. Some individuals satisfy notability requirements. There are two such collections for individuals in Wikipedia:

There is a similar if still developing list of people who have another level of notability but still gathered from various sources:

There are a wealth of books about Bahá'ís such as provided at WorldCat but here's a list of books and articles that could help with countries: (still being developed)

America (the United States, Canada, and Mexico)

The religion began to be established in America circa 1892 with the arrival of the first Bahá'í in the country.[7] Significant progress was achieved with the first Americans joining the religion in 1894. There was a survey of religions and demographic information submitted to the office of the US Census circa 1935-1937. See Bahá'í Historical Record Survey. Followup surveys had been done and population data reviewed especially in the PhD by Arthur Hampson.[8] Some followup came when it was announced in news outlets that the religion was the largest minority religion in South Carolina.[9] Some county-by-county maps have been produced.[10]

General histories that give names

  • The Baha'i Faith in America: Volume 1, Origins, 1892–1900, by Robert Stockman, published by the Baha'i Publishing Trust of the United States, Wilmette, IL, 1985, isbn 9780877431992, oclc 311665336
  • The Baha'i Faith in America; Volume 2, Early Expansion, 1900–1912, by Robert Stockman, published by George Ronald, Wilmette, IL, May 1995, isbn 9780877432821, oclc 1024179306
  • The Dawning Place: the building of a temple, the forging of a global religious community, by Bruce W. Whitmore, published by US Baha'i Publishing Trust, 2015, isbn 9781618510839, oclc 903363399
  • The Origins of the Baháʼí Community of Canada: 1898 -1948 by Will C. Van Den Hoonaard, published by Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, 1996, isbn 9780889202726, oclc 1078370066
  • The Beginnings of the Bahá'í Faith in Latin America: Some Remembrances by Artemus Lamb, published by VanOrman Enterprises, San Salvador, 1995; original written in Spanish, English Revised and Amplified Edition November 1995 First Printing

Collections of biographies

  • Some Early Baháʼís of the West, by O. Z. Whitehead, published by George Ronald Publisher Ltd, Oaklands, Welwyn, UK, 1976, isbn 9780853980650, oclc 642068307
  • Some Baháʼís to Remember by O. Z. Whitehead, published by George Ronald Publisher Ltd, Oaklands, Welwyn, UK, 1983, isbn 9780853981480, oclc 16278580
  • Why they became Bahá'ís, ed Annamarie Honnold, published by India Bahá'í Publishing Trust, New Delhi, India, 1994, isbn 9788185091723, oclc 934750330[11]
  • Portraits of some Baháʼí Women by O. Z. Whitehead, published by George Ronald Publisher Ltd, Oaklands, Welwyn, UK, 1996, isbn 978085398403-0, oclc 34886950
  • Lights of the Spirit: Historical Portraits of Black Bahá'ís in North America, 1898-2004, eds Gwendolyn Etter-Lewis, Richard Walter Thomas, published by the US Baha'i Publishing Trust, Wilmette iL, 2006, isbn 9781931847261, oclc 1048122387
  • In Memoriam 1992-1997, ed Paul Vreeland, published by the Bahá'í World Centre, 2010, isbn 9780877433576
  • The Bright Glass of the Heart: elder voices on faith, ed Heather Cardin, published by George Ronald, Oxford, UK, 2013, isbn 9780853985709, oclc 853246173
  • The Bahá’í Faith and African American History: Creating Racial and Religious Diversity , ed Loni Bramson, published by Lexington Books, 4 December 2018, isbn 9781498570039, oclc 1098186570


There are also collections of newspaper clippings like at newspapers.com by a few users:

It is possible to search among them using google's "site" savy search of [terms] site:[url link of collection] or your favorite search engine that supports this approach. In my own case this would be of the syntax: [term] site:https://www.newspapers.com/clippings/#user=27888 in google.


A list of people who met 'Abdu'l-Bahá, head of the religion from 1892 to 1921, during his travels to Europe and America in 1910-1913 was gathered called ʻAbdu'l-Bahá in the West: a biographical guide of the people associated with his travels, by Jan T. Jasion, published by Éditions Bahá'íes France, in Paris, 2012, isbn 9782912155276, oclc 843777770.


Some materials are available on early Iran, then Persia. There are many names in period based references and transliterations published amidst histories of the religion. These histories also mention some of Turkey, Iraq, and other countries in the region including pre-Israeli Palestine.

  • God Passes By, by Shoghi Effendi, published by US Bahá'í Pub. Trust, Wilmette, IL, 1974, (originally 1944,) isbn 9780877430346, oclc 819861941

Some additional content is in:

The Bábí and Bahá'í religions 1844-1944: some contemporary western accounts, by Moojan Momen, published by George Ronald, Oxford, UK, 1981, isbn 0853981027 oclc 679298947


  1. History of the Baháʼí Faith, Wikipedia, accessed Feb 28, 2020
  2. "Esslemont's Survey of the Baha'i World 1919–1920" in Baháʼís in the West by Moojan Moomen, ed Peter Smith, of Series Studies in the Bábí and Bahá'í religions volume 14, published by Kalimat Press, Los Angeles, US, 2004, pages 63–106, isbn 9781890688110, oclc 53315284
  3. An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith, by Peter Smith, published by Cambridge University Press, 2008, pages 79, 95, isbn 978-0-521-86251-6, oclc 181072578
  4. "Global statistics for all religions: 2001 AD" in World Christian Encyclopedia, 2001, ed David A. Barrett, page 4
  5. Most Baha'i Nations 2010, by the Association of Religion Data Archives, accessed Mar 2, 2020
  6. "Global Religious Populations, 1910–2010" in The World's Religions in Figures: An Introduction to International Religious Demography, by Todd M. Johnson, Brian J. Grim, published by John Wiley & Sons, 26 March 2013, pages 59–62, doi 10.1002/9781118555767.ch1, isbn 9781118555767, oclc 871758035
  7. Baháʼí Faith in the United States Wikipedia, accessed Feb 29, 2020
  8. The growth and spread of the Baha'i Faith, PhD dissertation for the Department of Geography, University of Hawaii by Arthur Hampson, May 1980, UMI 8022655, oclc 652914306
  9. South Carolina, Religious Traditions, 2010 from "State Membership Report', by the Association of Religion Data Archives, accessed Mar 2, 2020
  10. * "The second-largest religion in each state" by Reid Wilson, The Washington Post, Washington DC, June 4, 2014
  11. Despite appearances, this is not a collection of Indian Bahá'ís, it was just published in India.

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Categories: Baha'i Faith