Life of Laura Barney
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The story of a well-connected, wealthy woman from the West whose devotion to a spiritual leader from the East transformed her life into one of selfless service to humanity
The Life of Laura Barney traces the journey of Laura Barney from her pampered childhood to her life as a feminist, global-thinker and peace-builder who was twice decorated by the French Legion of Honor.
Born in Ohio, in 1879 to Alice Pike, artist and philanthropist, and Albert Clifford Barney, a wealthy industrialist, Laura lived in two different worlds: one her wealthy family, the other her spiritual family. Her privileged family mingled with the elite social and artistic circles of Washington, D.C.; New York; Bar Harbor, Maine; and later Paris. Her older sister, Natalie, became a well-known poet, writer and literary Parisian salon hostess. Laura had a very different world of her own.
Having an inquisitive mind searching for spiritual awakenings, as a young woman Laura learned about the teachings of an eastern spiritual leader and traveled to ‘Akká to meet Him, attracted to the teachings of oneness of humankind, gender equality and world peace. She put questions to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of the prophet-founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Bahá’u’lláh. The result was the publication of a unique book, Some Answered Questions, which is considered part of the sacred texts.
Her travels to Palestine, Egypt, and Iran and to Japan, Indochina and India as well as her travels across North America provided her with insights into the reality and challenges experienced by others, so very different from her own experiences. She served on different committees with the League of Nations, the United Nations and the International Council of Women for 50 years. She was a pioneer in many areas, championing the rights of women, advocating for world peace, providing tools for the education of young people, and supporting humanitarian activities around the world.
Every step Laura Barney took until the end of her long life was taken to fulfill the vision of her faith of bringing peace, human rights and progress to the world. Her legacy continues.
The book she compiled, Some Answered Questions, continues to shed light on the social and spiritual challenges that still face the world today while her life of service remains an example to all.
About the Author
Mona Khademi, an independent researcher, began her research into the life of Laura Barney in 2000, consulting previously unexplored archives that reveal fascinating details about this remarkable woman. A popular speaker about Laura Barney, she is invited to give talks at many venues. Mona Khademi is an arts management consultant based in Washington, D.C. She has a BA from Pahlavi University (today’s Shiraz University), and a MA from American University in Washington, D.C., and she has undertaken considerable work towards a PhD at Imperial College, London.
Pages: 512 plus photos
Dimensions: 254 x 156 mm
Reviews of The Life of Laura Barney by Mona Khademi
Dear Mona, I just purchased your book on Laura. What a wonderful achievement you have accomplished! Such wonderful in-depth research! Such richness! If you do nothing else in your life, this great book will stand out as your outstanding accomplishment I'm sure. As I was reading through it's early pages, I did get an answer to my question about how Laura acquired so much sophisticated knowledge of religion and theology. Your book helps to complete the picture of Laura. So many of the friends know her only as the compiler of Some Answered Questions. Thanks to you, we will get to know Laura also as the promoter of women's rights, as the promoter of peace and humanitarian causes. She was one who achieved brilliantly the Master's call to achieve distinction in both the Baha'i community and the wider community.
Jack McLean, July 26, 2022
Mona jaan, the more I continue to read your/my book, the more I appreciate the quality of your work and the new information I gain. You know that I’ve read volumes and volumes of books, but I find Laura Barney’s biography refreshing, informative and delightful.
2 nights ago, I had to try to keep my eyes, at 1:30 am, as I couldn’t put the book down. Abundant love.
Soheil Zebarjadi, July 30, 2022
"From 1904-1908 a book unique in the entire range of the Writings of the Founders of the Faith took shape. The book was ‘Some Answered Questions’. Questions came from Laura Barney and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá answered them. George Ronald’s recent publication ‘The Life of Laura Barney’ written by Mona Khademi is a wonderful book which I have just had the pleasure of reading.
I’m sure that many of us know of Laura Clifford Barney as the compiler of this book ‘Some Answered Questions’ but have little knowledge of any of her other great achievements during her long life. This amazing American lady, who adopted France as her homeland, not only was responsible for this compilation of questions and answers, but was known as a pioneer in the international women’s movement and considered among its great unsung heroines. Her activities ranged from humanitarian service with the Red Cross in World War I to ground-breaking efforts in representing the cause of women before the United Nations and other international organizations through the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. At the onset of World War II, it was said that this elite woman knew ‘how to think globally’ at a time when so much hatred and so many minds made brothers into enemies.
Hand of the Cause Ugo Giachery wrote the following tribute at her passing… “With her keen intelligence, logical mind and investigating nature, she devoted her whole life, from adolescence, to improving human relations, bringing together people of different races, classes and nations. She was a brilliant speaker and made several trips around the world lecturing on the impelling necessity of a united world. She was a true pioneer in this field of activity at a time when the world was still geographically and politically divided and quite insensible to the call of spiritual unity. Her enthusiasm for this ideal never lessened. Her services were rendered joyfully with steadfastness and perseverance. Those who had the rare privilege of knowing her over a period of many decades can testify that her undaunted zeal for the objective of the brotherhood of man remained alive and glowing to the very last day of her life on earth.”
Thelma Batchelor, June 18th 2022
‘Oh my goodness… this is a perfect book for anyone looking for a last wonderful summer read… this biography reads like an historical novel! From a childhood in the gilded age of the industrial giants and barons of America, to the refined salons and rarified cultural world of La Belle Époque in France, and travels and work in the spiritual heart of the world in the Holy Land, Laura Barney lived quite the life! Feminist. Global thinker. World traveller. Peace builder extraordinaire. Laura was refined, beautiful, rich, intelligent, serious of intent and heart, and she lived a remarkable life and left an unprecedented legacy! Not to mention that Laura was the only sister of the famous feminist and literary lioness Natalie Barney (Google her!).
Can’t. Put. Down. This. Book!!! My friend Mona Khademi wrote it after two decades of research!! Great book, Mona joon.’Ms. Khotan Harmon, August 10th 2022