Middle Years 1923–1937
Late Years 1937–1952
By: Violette Nakhjavani with the assistance of Bahiyyih Nakhjavani
Volume II (Middle and Late Years) covers the years 1923–1952. Beginning with the early ministry of the Guardian and the pilgrimage of May and her daughter in 1923/4, it describes Mary’s education as a young Bahá’í, her pilgrimage during her adolescence and the growth of the youth movement in Montreal, as well as the family’s services to the Bahá’í Faith in Canada and the United States during the 1920s and 30s. It then moves to Europe, where May in France and Mary in Germany contributed to the advancement of these Bahá’í communities between 1935 and 1937. But in 1937 Mary’s marriage to Shoghi Effendi changed the lives of the family for ever. As Amatu’l-Bahá RúhíyyihKhánum she would be called to extraordinary heights of service and sacrifice. The final part of the book (Late Years) gives an account of May’s heroic services before her passing in Argentina in 1940, and describes Sutherland’s remarkable architectural achievement as architect of the Shrine of the Báb during his final years in the Holy Land.
This volume, like Volume I, draws on the over 1,600 personal letters between May, Sutherland and Mary Maxwell (Amatu’l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum), together with about 1,400 letters which the three Maxwells exchanged with their relatives and some of the early Bahá’ís. It includes the last Tablet May Maxwell received from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and citations from letters and cables from Shoghi Effendi to members of the family which have never been transcribed before. It also contains extracts from Rúhíyyih Khánum’s notebooks, sketches made by her father, and articles and photographs related to the period.
One family, bonded in their love for the Bahá’í Faith and for each other, committed through decades of uninterrupted service to the promotion and establishment of that Faith worldwide. Of the mother, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wrote that ‘her company uplifts and develops the soul’. The father, a noble, cultured and saintly man, was an outstanding architect not only of the Shrine of the Báb but as a partner in the most preeminent architectural firm in Canada during the early 20th century. And the daughter grew up to play a unique role in history as the of the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith. They were the Maxwells of Montreal.
George Ronald, Oxford
444 pages plus 6 photo sections
23.4 x 15.6 cm (9.25 x 6 in)