New home for UK Baha’i archives?

Archives are central to the Bahá’í faith.  The original writings (tablets) and letters of The Báb , Bahá’u’lláh and Abdu’l-Bahá are of profound spiritual importance and the faith has always attached significance to its historical records.   Shoghi Effendi, its head from 1921 to 1957, noted,

‘The importance of the institution of Bahá’í Archives is not due only to the many teaching facilities it procures, but is essentially to be found in the vast amount of historical data and information it offers both to the present day administrators of the Cause, and to the Bahá’í historians of the future. The institution of Bahá’í Archives is indeed a most valuable storehouse of information regarding all aspects of the Faith, historical, administrative as well as doctrinal’
(From a letter to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, 25 September 1936)

American Bahá’ís have an impressive National Bahá’í Archives, while the Bahá’í International Archives was first of the buildings to be erected in the Arc, the Bahá’í headquarters buildings in Haifa, Israel.

The Bahá’í International Archives building

By Guillaume Paumier (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

The archives of the British Bahá’ís may have a new home shortly.  The website of the Wilmette Institute, a US Bahá’í centre, reports that the Afnan Library is due to move into a former Baptist chapel in Sandy, Bedfordshire.   

The Afnan Library was established in the will of Hasan M. Balyuzi (1908-1980), an eminent scholar and a descendant of the Báb to be a central research resource for the Bahá’í faith in Britain.  It is currently in temporary housing.  The report suggests the new Library will house 10,000 books, ‘vast quantities of manuscripts, handwritten letters, maps, documents, periodicals, and unpublished items’ and also temporarily hold the archive of the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly of the UK.

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