[Bahai World, volume 5, p. 419]
Mrs. Alice Barney, gifted poetess, painter, dramatist, musician, architect and craftswoman who passed away in Los Angeles in 1931, lived as her friends and contemporaries attest, in a world of beauty. She became interested in the Bahá’í Cause shortly after her daughter Laura (now Mme. Dreyfus-Barney of Paris) visited Haifa in 1900. The Washington home of Mr. and Mrs. Barney was open for Bahá’í meetings on many occasions.
Mrs. Barney visited Acca in the spring of 1905 with her daughter Laura, remaining there near Abdu’l-Baha a month, during which time she painted the portrait of the son of the Governor.
Mrs. Barney’s paintings are to be found in most of the important museums of the United States, the National Museum of Washington alone having as many as five of her works, while a painting which she exhibited in the Paris Salon was purchased by the French Government. She was always a generous patron of the arts and offered her encouragement especially to members of the colored race, assisting them to develop their talents with sympathetic understanding.
The well-known settlement “Neighborhood-House” was her gift to the city of
Washington, and this splendid institution interested Abdu’l-Baha very much when He visited Washington in 1912.
Mrs. Barney was particularly attracted to the Bahá’í Cause because of its broad teachings of tolerance, its humanitarianism, its love of the beautiful and fruitful action.
Elsewhere in this volume appears a remarkable portrait of Mirza Abu’I-Fadl which was made during the visit of this great teacher to Washington in 1903.
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