Nancy Campbell (1906 – 1980)

Nancy Campbell (1906 – 1980)

Nancy Campbell was born in England in 1906. As a child, she immigrated to Canada with her parents. She grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, and lived most of her life in that area. A woman of remarkably diverse talents, she was an accomplished dancer, artist, pianist and actress.Her first love, however, was dance, and she became well known and respected as a teacher of ballet. Her intellectual pursuits included study of various arts and religions. She was particularly interested in international and interracial affairs.

In 1938, while studying at the Three Arts Club in New York City, Campbell met a woman who told her about the Baha’i Faith. She was immediately interested and subsequently attended “firesides” — informal presentations of the Baha’i Faith — at the home of Saffa and Carrie Kinney, members of the New York City Baha’i community. Upon returning to Canada, she sought out Canadian Baha’is and then joined the Faith in 1941. In 1942, Campbell helped form Hamilton’s first Local Spiritual Assembly.

In 1958, she moved to Dundas, Ontario. She was a well-known figure in the artistic and intellectual life of her community, and she was active in many organizations devoted to the public good. In particular, her services to the Hamilton branch of the United Nations Association of Canada garnered wide commendation, and in 1978 she received an award for “Meritorious Service” from that association. The citation referred to the fact that “For many years, racial harmony and internationalism have been dominant characteristics in her relations with people — Miss Campbell found a deep spiritual significance for her art and world-embracing concerns over forty years ago when she discovered the Baha’i Faith.”

Over the years, Campbell became renowned as a Baha’i teacher. She talked about the Faith at public meetings, at summer schools and at numerous firesides. She visited aboriginal reserves in Canada and also shared the teachings of the Baha’i Faith in Europe.

Nancy Campbell passed away at the age of 75, on 20 January 1980.

This article is part of a series on a few historical figures in the Canadian Baha’i Community who were instrumental in the establishment and growth of the community in Canada. Over the course of this year, the Canadian Baha’i News Service will be posting one biography every month.