The 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