In the preface to this book, which was published by the Universal House of Justice in 1978, we read:
‘Abdu’l-Baha’s exposition of the Baha’i Revelation is recorded in His written works, in the many compilations of His recorded utterances, and in His correspondence. The written works such as The Secret of Divine Civilization, A Traveller’s Narrative, the Will and Testament, are available in English translations. Likewise many compilations of His recorded utterances, among which may be mentioned Some Answered Questions, Memorials of the Faithful, Paris Talks, are kept in print. Not for sixty years, however, has any large compilation, in English, of His innumerable letters been made; the three volumes of Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Baha published the United States between 1909 and 1916, although running into second editions, have long been out of print.
The present compilation attempts a much wider selection than was made for those early volumes, and its perusal will give some indication of the vast range of subjects dealt with by the Master in His correspondence. Included are a number of Tablets translated by a Committee at the World Centre using early drafts made by Shoghi Effendi during ‘Abdn’l-Baha’s lifetime, and a large number by Marzieh Gale, sent to her from the World Centre’s collection of more than 19,000 original and authenticated copies. Some famous Tablets, such as the correspondence with Auguste Forel, or the greater part of the Tablet to the Hague, have been omitted since they are available in separate publications.
The happy and blessed recipients of the vast majority of the Tablets here included were the early believers of the east and west, whether individuals, groups, organized committees or assemblies of the friends, and their value to the nascent communities of the west in those days when Baha’i literature in English was meagre in the extreme, cannot be overestimated.
It is believed that publication of these writings of the Master will serve to increase the fervour of His lovers in responding to His call and add to their perception of that wondrous harmony of the human and divine which He, the Mystery of God, so perfectly exemplified.