Marzieh Gail (1908 - 1993) was born in 1908 to the first Persian-American union in the Bahá’í community between Ali Kuli Khan and Florence Breed. She wrote to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá when a small child. His answer implored God to change one who is pleasing to God into one who is pleased with God. It was a rhyme of her name, Marzieh, with Razieh. She was the second child and oldest daughter.
Her first articles were published in Star of the West when she was a junior at Stanford University. The next year, 1929, she graduated with honors and married Howard Carpenter. Three years later, after obtaining her MA in English from UC-Berkeley, and he had obtained his MD from Stanford, they traveled through Europe teaching the Bahá’í Faith on their way to Haifa. At the Bahá’í World Center, the Guardian asked if they would go to Persia and become a bridge between the East and the West. He specifically asked if they would teach the Persian Bahá’ís about the Administrative Order. They accepted this responsibility.
In Tehran Marzieh was able to obtain a job with a newspaper, becoming the first female reporter in the country. Her husband was prevented by the authorities from obtaining a medical license for a year. Shortly after the license was granted, he contracted polio and became paralyzed from the waist down. They wanted to stay but doctors advised them to return to the U.S. for treatment. A few months after returning, he died. While in Persia Marzieh had begun to translate Bahá’í Sacred Texts. She continued to do this the rest of her life.
In 1939 she married Harold Gail. In 1954, in response to the Ten Year Crusade, they set off for Europe. First they settled in Nice, France and helped form the first Spiritual Assembly there in 1956. Next they moved to Austria where they helped form the Spiritual Assembly of Salzburg; while there Marzieh was elected to the National Spiritual Assembly, and then its Chairman. Next they lived in Arnhem, The Netherlands where they helped form that Spiritual Assembly; from there they traveled in Europe teaching the Faith as they went.
They returned to the U.S. and settled in Keene, NH after the Ten Year Crusade (1963), and helped form the Spiritual Assembly there. Now she concentrated on her writing for the rest of her life. In 1981 she and her husband relocated to San Francisco where they had met over forty years earlier. She continued to write. She died a year after him in October 1993.
- Persia and the Victorians 1951
- Six Lessons in Islam 1953
- Bahá’í Glossary 1955
- The Sheltering Branch 1959
- Avignon in Flower: 1309-1403 1966
- Life in the Renaissance 1968
- The Three Popes 1969
- Khanum, The Greatest Holy Leaf 1981
- Dawn Over Mount Hira 1976
- Other People, Other Places 1982
- Summon Up Remembrance 1987
- Arches of the Years 1991
- The Seven Valleys and Four Valleys 1945
- The Secret of Divine Civilization 1957+
- Memorials of the Faithful 1971
- Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 1976++
- My Memories of Bahá’u’lláh 1982
+ with her father
++ with a committee at the Bahá’í World Center